Ludvík Vaculík

Ludvík Vaculík

Ludvík Vaculík (July 23, 1926–June 6, 2015) was a writer and journalist born in Brumov near Valašské Klobouky. He attended a two-year shoe-making vocational school (1941–1943) as well as a foreign trade college (1944–1946); between 1946–1950 he studied at the Faculty of Political Science and Journalism at the University of Political Science and Social Affairs in Prague. During the 1950s, he was employed as a pedagogue and later as a staff member of the publishing house Rudé právo and the weekly magazine Beseda venkovské rodiny. In 1958, he moved to Czechoslovak Radio where he primarily focused on reporting; between 1965–1969, he worked in the weekly Literární noviny (subsequently renamed Literární listy and Listy). Following the ban of this magazine, he continued working as a freelancer. During the 1970s and 80s, Vaculík actively participated at the inception and development of samizdat – as an author, editor and publisher (Petlice editions, Obsah magazine). He re-entered official public life and literature after 1989.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
The Correspondence of Janouch / Vaculík (Korespondence Janouch / Vaculík) Mladá fronta 2012
Říp Did Not Blow Up. Last Words 2008–2012 (Říp nevybuchl. Poslední slova 2008–2012) Dokořán, Jaroslava Jiskrová - Máj 2012
Goat on the Line (Koza na trati) Pavel Ševčík - Veduta 2011
A Thousand Words (Tisíce slov) Atlantis 2009
Petr Has Got a Bear or Something Like That (Petr má medvěda nebo co) Meander 2008
Wooden Mind (Dřevěná mysl) Dokořán 2008
Piano Lessons (Hodiny klavíru) Atlantis 2007  2008 State Award for Literature
Improved Folk Songs (Polepšené pěsničky) Máj a Dokořán 2006
Dear Mr Mikule (Vážený pane Mikule) Olomouc 2003
The Last Word (Poslední slovo) Paseka 2002
Farewell to a Virgin (Loučení k panně) Atlantis 2002
The Journey to Praděd (Cesta na Praděd) Atlantis 2001
Immemoirs (Nepaměti) Mladá fronta 1998
Playing Horribly Above the Lake (Nad jezerem škaredě hrát) Ivo Železný 1996
My Dear Classmates! (Milí spolužáci!) Mladá fronta 1995
Poco rubato (Poco rubato) Fragment 1994
How to Make a Boy (Jak se dělá chlapec) Atlantis 1993
The Old Lady is Amused (Stará dáma se baví) Lidové noviny 1991
The Guinea Pigs (Morčata) Československý spisovatel 1991 NL | DE | EN | PL
The August Year (Srpnový rok) Mladá fronta 1990
Spring is Here (Jaro je tady) Mladá fronta 1990
Karel Havlíček Borovský’s New Patriotic Songs (Nové vlastenecké písně Karla Havlíčka Borovského) Scéna 1990
The Czech Dreambook (Český snář) Atlantis 1990
The Axe (Sekyra) Československý spisovatel 1966 PL
To See the World Through New Eyes (Vidět svět novýma očima) Studijní oddělení Československého rozhlasu 1965
The Busy House (Rušný dům) Československý spisovatel 1963
On the Youth Farm (Na farmě mládeže) Knihovnička stranického pracovníka 1958
The Correspondence of Janouch / Vaculík
Korespondence Janouch / Vaculík
Říp nevybuchl. Poslední slova 2008–2012
Říp Did Not Blow Up. Last Words 2008–2012
Říp nevybuchl. Poslední slova 2008–2012
Koza na trati
Goat on the Line
Koza na trati
Tisíce slov
A Thousand Words
Tisíce slov
Petr má medvěda nebo co
Petr Has Got a Bear or Something Like That
Petr má medvěda nebo co
Dřevěná mysl
Wooden Mind
Dřevěná mysl
Hodiny klavíru
Piano Lessons
Hodiny klavíru
Polepšené pěsničky
Improved Folk Songs
Polepšené pěsničky
Vážený pane Mikule
Dear Mr Mikule
Vážený pane Mikule
Poslední slovo
The Last Word
Poslední slovo
Loučení k panně
Farewell to a Virgin
Loučení k panně
Cesta na Praděd
The Journey to Praděd
Cesta na Praděd
Nepaměti
Immemoirs
Nepaměti
Nad jezerem škaredě hrát
Playing Horribly Above the Lake
Nad jezerem škaredě hrát
Milí spolužáci!
My Dear Classmates!
Milí spolužáci!
Poco rubato
Poco rubato
Poco rubato
Jak se dělá chlapec
How to Make a Boy
Jak se dělá chlapec
Stará dáma se baví
The Old Lady is Amused
Stará dáma se baví
Morčata
The Guinea Pigs
Morčata
Srpnový rok
The August Year
Srpnový rok
Jaro je tady
Spring is Here
Jaro je tady
Nové vlastenecké písně Karla Havlíčka Borovského
Karel Havlíček Borovský’s New Patriotic Songs
Nové vlastenecké písně Karla Havlíčka Borovského
Český snář
The Czech Dreambook
Český snář
Sekyra
The Axe
Sekyra
Vidět svět novýma očima
To See the World Through New Eyes
Vidět svět novýma očima
Rušný dům
The Busy House
Rušný dům
Na farmě mládeže
On the Youth Farm
Na farmě mládeže
Award Year Country
State Award for Literature 2008 Česká republika
Praise
Vaculík maintains tension and acuity in style and to an extent also in judgement. His short, dynamically constructed, almost abbreviated and yet colourful sentences still come across as modern and contemporary, even though the author’s word order contains archaic elements. Certainly, this is the old, familiar "Vaculíkian language"; we only point out that it continues to be valid and to function aesthetically.
—Josef Chuchma
MF DNES

Vaculík’s oeuvre is centered around politically engaged journalism with a predominance of the feuilleton genre, as well as prose that combines personal experiences with fiction. His first books (Na farmě mládeže, Rušný dům, Sekyra – On the Youth Farm, The Busy House, The Axe) published between 1958–1966 depict the author’s increasing disenchantment with the communist ideology that he had supported since the mid 1940s. His fiction is endowed with elements of journalism and belles-lettres. After his experimental novel Morčata (The Guinea Pigs) (1973 in samizdat, official publication in 1991), a metaphor of aggressive and impersonal power, the autobiography Český snář – Czech Dreambook – (1981, 1990), an extensive opus portraying the milieu of Czech dissidence, and an account of the inception and disintegration of a relationship entitled Jak se dělá chlapec – How to Make a Boy (1993) followed. After the fall of communism, Vaculík published various collections from his correspondence (with Ivan Kadlečík: Poco rubato, 1994; with Jan Šimsa: Vážený pane Mikule, Dear Mr. Mikule, 2003), diary notes (Milí spolužáci!, Dear Classmates, 1995; Nepaměti, Immemoirs, 1998) and feuilleton collections (Jaro je tady, Spring Has Arrived, 1990, Srpnový rok, The August Year, 1990, Stará dáma se baví, The Old Lady is Amused, 1991; Nad jezerem škaředě hrát, Playing Horribly Above the Lake, 1996, Poslední slovo, The Last Word, 2002). He also completed two new – or more precisely once and future novels: Cesta na Praděd (The Journey to Praděd) the majority of which was originally written at the end of 1960s, as well as Loučení k panně (Farewell to the Virgin). While the former title is a multifarious travelogue portraying the Czech villages through which the author passes in a horse-drawn carriage, the latter follows up on the topic of his fiction Jak se dělá chlapec (How to Make a Boy) – letting the reader enter the intimate space between his young lover and himself. Ludvík Vaculík was awarded the Jaroslav Seifert Prize (1987), Karel Čapek Prize (2002), State Prize for Literature (2008) and Ferdinand Peroutka Prize (2010).

Notable awards
 2008 State Award for Literature