Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Jaroslav Hašek: 'Los destinos del buen soldado Švejk durante la guerra mundial:' Parte 2

Jaroslav Hašek, The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War / Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války / Los destinos del buen soldado Švejk durante la guerra mundial / aka The Good Soldier Švejk / (1921-1923).

Eventually, the good soldier Švejk must ride the rails toward the Galician front. At one station, a "good man" helps him out. "When he was leaving, he told Švejk in confidence: 'So, soldier boy, take it from me, I'm telling you, if you end up a prisoner of war in Russia, pass on my greetings to Zeman, the brewer in Zdolbunov. After all, you've got my name written down. Just be smart so that you will not be at the front long.'
     'Don't worry about that,' said Švejk, 'it is always interesting to see some foreign lands for free.'"

Satire from Hašek. But his flourishes are often darker and more biting. For example, later on the very same page: 

"Mostly there were soldiers from various regiments, formations, and of the most varied nationalities whom the wisdom of war had blown into the field hospitals, and who were now departing again into the field for new injuries, maiming, pain, and who were taking off to earn a simple wooden cross for above their graves on which there would still [be] years later in the sad plains of eastern Galicia in the wind and the rain a sun-bleached military cap with a rusted "Frankie" pin on it,* upon which from time to time would perch a sad raven, grown old and tired, remembering the fat-filled feast of years ago when there used to be set for him an endless table of tasty human corpses and horse carcasses, when just under such a cap that he's sitting on, there would be a bite of the most tasty morsel -- human eyes." 

~Jaroslav Hašek, The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk During the World War, Book Two. The Samizdat edition of the new English rendition, translated by Zdeněk "Zenny" Sadloň and Emmett M. Joyce, 1st Books Library, 2009, page 11.

*"Rusty imperial badge" in the Cecil Parrott translation. 
Today's Rune: Breakthrough.  Map from Rooted in Eastern Europe. Link here.

No comments: