Jaroslav Hašek is known by readers around the world as the author of The Good Soldier Švejk, one of the greatest comic novels of all time. Not all of his fans are aware of his six year anabasis in Russia, however, which began with his capture on the front lines of Galicia during World War I. The Secret History of my Sojourn in Russia, translated by Charles S. Kraszewski, brings that fascinating period in Hašek’s life to the attention of the English reader. Comprised of fifty-two short stories and other writings from Hašek’s stay in Sovietising Russia, The Secret History collects the Bugulma stories, in which Hašek trains his satirical eye on the infant communist utopia, as well as non-fiction works by Hašek, who played a not insignificant role in the progress of the Soviet Revolution in Siberia, before his return to his native Czechoslovakia in the early 1920s. These include propagandistic pamphlets and newspaper articles, letters, and official scripts dating from his agitation as a communist operative among Austro-Hungarian citizens stranded in the Soviet Union, all of which provide a fascinating context for his good-humoured fiction, which rivals his great novel in rollicking fun.
The Secret History of my Sojourn in Russia presents the reader with fifty-two of the most entertaining, and chilling, examples of his Russian period, containing both humorous fiction and deadly serious propaganda.
Translation of this book was supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic.