Pavel Švanda

Pavel Švanda

Prose writer, poet, essayist, journalist. Winner of the City of Brno Prize. He was born in Znojmo on 6 June 1936.


Title Publisher Year Selected published translations Awards
Intellectuals Who Do Not Feel Well (O intelektuálovi, který se necítí dobře) Atlantis 2012
Memory of the Essayist (Paměť esejisty) Atlantis 2006
Journey from Cain’s Funeral (Cestou z Kainova pohřbu) Atlantis 2004
The Monster and Other Domestic Animals (Monstrum a jiná domácí zvířata) Atlantis 2002
Landscape With Eyesore (Krajina s trnem v oku) Atlantis 2002
Unrest in the Czech Republic (Neklid v Česku) CDK 2001
Noah’s Diary (Noemův deník) Atlantis 2000
An Eternal Lack of Eternity (Věčný nedostatek věčnosti) Atlantis 1999
Profesor Bojer’s Lesson (Hodinka profesora Bojera) Atlantis 1998
Libertas and Other Dreams (Libertas a jiné sny) Atlantis 1997
On Both Banks (Na obou březích) Atlantis 1996
Experiences (Zkušenosti) Atlantis 1995
Portraits (Portréty) Atlantis 1994
Miracles in a Small Paradise (Zázraky v malém ráji) Rozrazil 1991
Anonymous Short Stories (Anonymní povídky) Blok 1967
Intellectuals Who Do Not Feel Well
O intelektuálovi, který se necítí dobře
Paměť esejisty
Memory of the Essayist
Paměť esejisty
Cestou z Kainova pohřbu
Journey from Cain’s Funeral
Cestou z Kainova pohřbu
Monstrum a jiná domácí zvířata
The Monster and Other Domestic Animals
Monstrum a jiná domácí zvířata
Krajina s trnem v oku
Landscape With Eyesore
Krajina s trnem v oku
Neklid v Česku
Unrest in the Czech Republic
Neklid v Česku
Noemův deník
Noah’s Diary
Noemův deník
Věčný nedostatek věčnosti
An Eternal Lack of Eternity
Věčný nedostatek věčnosti
Hodinka profesora Bojera
Profesor Bojer’s Lesson
Hodinka profesora Bojera
Libertas a jiné sny
Libertas and Other Dreams
Libertas a jiné sny
Na obou březích
On Both Banks
Na obou březích
Zkušenosti
Experiences
Zkušenosti
Portréty
Portraits
Portréty
Zázraky v malém ráji
Miracles in a Small Paradise
Zázraky v malém ráji
Anonymní povídky
Pavel Švanda
Anonymous Short Stories
Anonymní povídky

He studied art history at the Arts Faculty; in 1958 his dissertation was not accepted, so he finished his studies without a degree. He was part of the generation of the Thirty-Sixers along with the likes of Jiří Kuběna and Václav Havel. He went through a number of manual occupations, and after the Velvet Revolution he worked as a journalist and a lecturer at the Janáček Academy of Music and Performing Arts.

His debut work was the book Anonymní povídky (Anonymous Short Stories, Blok, 1967); it took three years before Ludvík Kundera succeeding in getting it published. The book was not acceptable to critics at the time and so Švanda’s next work, Zázraky v malém ráji (Miracles in a Small Paradise, Rozrazil, 1991), was not published until after the revolution. This was followed by Portréty (Portraits, Atlantis, 1994), the aesthetic collection Zkušenosti (Experiences, Atlantis, 1995) and the poetry collection Na obou březích (On Both Banks, Atlantis, 1996). The short stories Libertas a jiné sny (Libertas and Other Dreams, Atlantis, 1997) with the subtitle Snové příběhy i filosoficky laděné grotesky (Dreamlike Stories and Philosophical Farces) deals with the relationship between freedom and surrender.

A romantic novel with a detective-style plot, Hodinka profesora Bojera (Professor Bojer’s Lesson, Atlantis, 1998) depicts a student’s relationship with a mature woman.

This was followed by the feuilletons and essays Věčný nedostatek věčnosti (An Eternal Lack of Eternity, Atlantis, 1999) and the next poetry collection Noemův deník (Noah’s Diary, Atlantis, 2000), in which the author observes the situation of contemporary man and compares him to Noah and the Flood. The novel Krajina s trnem v oku (Landscape with Eyesore, Atlantis, 2002) reflects the feelings of children and adolescents of the wartime generation; the two heroes spend time in endless battles without knowing why. The inner theme of the book is guilt surrounding the death of a friend, the backdrop is Brno at that time, and the atmosphere is laden with the oppressive circumstances and acute fear of the fifties.

The eleven essays Monstrum a jiná domácí zvířata (The Monster and Other Domestic Animals, Atlantis, 2002) deal with Czech-German relations, the constraints of Normalization and the world of that time as a breeding ground for collective psychological experience. This was followed by the collection of poems Cestou z Kainova pohřbu (Journey from Cain’s Funeral, Atlantis, 2004) and another set of essay-memoirs, Paměť esejisty (Memory of the Essayist, Atlantis, 2006). The collection O intelektuálovi, který se necítí dobře (The Intellectual Who Does Not Feel Well, Atlantis, 2012) is described by the author thus: “The essay as a genre can best be perceived in the rhythm of free inhalations and exhalations, not as a breathless accumulation of evidence for the prosecution.” This is a collection of reflections on current topics as well as ones of permanent interest to Švanda.

Pavel Švanda’s latest book is entitled Kulturní i nekulturní záznamy, střepiny, pomluvy (Highbrow and Lowbrow Notes, Fragments and Gossip, JAMU, 2014).