Milena Jesenská, born in Prague in 1896, is most famous as one of Franz Kafka's great loves. Although their relationship lasted only a short time, it won the attention of the literary world with the 1952 publication of Kafka's letters to Milena. Her own letters did not survive. Later biographies showed her as a fascinating personality in her own right. In the Czech Republic, she is remembered as one of the most prominent journalists of the interwar period and as a brave one: in 1939 she was arrested for her work in the resistance after the German occupation of Bohemia and Moravia, and died in Ravensbrück concentration camp in 1944. It is estimated that Jesenská wrote well over 1,000 articles but only a handful have been translated into English. In this book her own writings provide a new perspective on her personality, as well as the changes in Central Europe between the two world wars as these were perceived by a woman of letters. The articles in this volume cover a wide range of topics, including her perceptions of Kafka, her understanding of social and cultural changes during this period, the threat of Nazism, and the plight of the Jews in the 1930s.
Setting out to recover the roots of modernity in the boulevards, interiors, and arcades of the "city of light," Walter Benjamin dubbed Paris "the capital of the nineteenth century." In this eagerly anticipated sequel to his acclaimed Coasts of Bohemia: A Czech History, Derek Sayer argues that Prague could well be seen as the capital of the much darker twentieth century. Ranging across twentieth-century Prague's astonishingly vibrant and always surprising human landscape, this richly illustrated cultural history describes how the city has experienced (and suffered) more ways of being modern than perhaps any other metropolis. Located at the crossroads of struggles between democratic, communist, and fascist visions of the modern world, twentieth-century Prague witnessed revolutions and invasions, national liberation and ethnic cleansing, the Holocaust, show trials, and snuffed-out dreams of "socialism with a human face." Yet between the wars, when Prague was the capital of Europe's most easterly parliamentary democracy, it was also a hotbed of artistic and architectural modernism, and a center of surrealism second only to Paris. Focusing on these years, Sayer explores Prague's spectacular modern buildings, monuments, paintings, books, films, operas, exhibitions, and much more. A place where the utopian fantasies of the century repeatedly unraveled, Prague was tailor-made for surrealist André Breton's "black humor," and Sayer discusses the way the city produced unrivaled connoisseurs of grim comedy, from Franz Kafka and Jaroslav Hasek to Milan Kundera and Václav Havel. A masterful and unforgettable account of a city where an idling flaneur could just as easily be a secret policeman, this book vividly shows why Prague can teach us so much about the twentieth century and what made us who we are.
A masterly and moving account of the most horrific hidden atrocity of World War II: Ravensbrück, the only Nazi concentration camp built for women On a sunny morning in May 1939 a phalanx of 867 women—housewives, doctors, opera singers, politicians, prostitutes—was marched through the woods fifty miles north of Berlin, driven on past a shining lake, then herded in through giant gates. Whipping and kicking them were scores of German women guards. Their destination was Ravensbrück, a concentration camp designed specifically for women by Heinrich Himmler, prime architect of the Holocaust. By the end of the war 130,000 women from more than twenty different European countries had been imprisoned there; among the prominent names were Geneviève de Gaulle, General de Gaulle’s niece, and Gemma La Guardia Gluck, sister of the wartime mayor of New York. Only a small number of these women were Jewish; Ravensbrück was largely a place for the Nazis to eliminate other inferior beings—social outcasts, Gypsies, political enemies, foreign resisters, the sick, the disabled, and the “mad.” Over six years the prisoners endured beatings, torture, slave labor, starvation, and random execution. In the final months of the war, Ravensbrück became an extermination camp. Estimates of the final death toll by April 1945 have ranged from 30,000 to 90,000. For decades the story of Ravensbrück was hidden behind the Iron Curtain, and today it is still little known. Using testimony unearthed since the end of the Cold War and interviews with survivors who have never talked before, Sarah Helm has ventured into the heart of the camp, demonstrating for the reader in riveting detail how easily and quickly the unthinkable horror evolved. Far more than a catalog of atrocities, however, Ravensbrück is also a compelling account of what one survivor called “the heroism, superhuman tenacity, and exceptional willpower to survive.” For every prisoner whose strength failed, another found the will to resist through acts of self-sacrifice and friendship, as well as sabotage, protest, and escape. While the core of this book is told from inside the camp, the story also sheds new light on the evolution of the wider genocide, the impotence of the world to respond, and Himmler’s final attempt to seek a separate peace with the Allies using the women of Ravensbrück as a bargaining chip. Chilling, inspiring, and deeply unsettling, Ravensbrück is a groundbreaking work of historical investigation. With rare clarity, it reminds us of the capacity of humankind both for bestial cruelty and for courage against all odds. From the Hardcover edition.
Originally published in German in a different form as Briefe an Milena by S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt, in 1952. This edition is based on the enlarged and revised German edition, edited by Jeurgen Born and Michael Meuller, published by S. Fischer Verlag GmbH, Frankfurt and Main.
Widely known for her (largely epistolary) romance with Franz Kafka and as the addressee of his Letters to Milena, Milena Jesenska was a prominent journalist and translator, one of the most famous women in 1930s Prague. This intimate biography by her daughter charts her stormy and colorful life from her rebellious childhood through her literary and political activities to her concentration camp imprisonment by the Nazis. Kafka's Milena was rushed into publication in Prague in 1969, just after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia. This edition includes translations of several new letters and articles by Jesenska, including her obituary of Kafka and a wrenching letter from prison to her daughter.
These essays, containing the reflections of the most influential philosopher of the "Prague Spring," deal with the crisis of state, party, society, and the individual in Czechoslovakia existing up until December 1969. Known primarily to English-speaking audiences as the author of Dialectics of the Concrete, Kosik is recognized for his contribution to the ongoing scholarship intended to relate Marx's ideas to the contemporary world. All of the essays in this collection appeared originally in Czechoslovakia over a period from 1961 to 1969. This edition, making most of them available to English readers for the first time, includes a new preface by Kosik and reflects his own changes to the earlier versions, incorporating material which was cut out by censors at their original publication.
DIV Franz Kafka was the poet of his own disorder. Throughout his life he struggled with a pervasive sense of shame and guilt that left traces in his daily existenceâ€”in his many letters, in his extensive diaries, and especially in his fiction. This stimulating book investigates some of the sources of Kafkaâ€™s personal anguish and its complex reflections in his imaginary world. In his query, Saul FriedlÃ¤nder probes major aspects of Kafkaâ€™s life (family, Judaism, love and sex, writing, illness, and despair) that until now have been skewed by posthumous censorship. Contrary to Kafkaâ€™s dying request that all his papers be burned, Max Brod, Kafkaâ€™s closest friend and literary executor, edited and published the authorâ€™s novels and other works soon after his death in 1924. FriedlÃ¤nder shows that, when reinserted in Kafkaâ€™s letters and diaries, deleted segments lift the mask of â€œsainthoodâ€? frequently attached to the writer and thus restore previously hidden aspects of his individuality. /div
Rebel journalist. Political prisoner. Franz Kafka’s mistress. “A remarkable story of courage and survival” in Nazi Germany (Los Angeles Times Book Review). In 1919, Czech translator, the married Milena Jesenká, asked Franz Kafka for permission to translate one his stories. Thus began an increasingly heartfelt correspondence between Kafka and the beautiful and spirited young woman who, through her impassioned letters, would become his greatest love. But then Milena became the head of a politically committed newspaper targeted by Hitler, and so much of her life would change as the Nazis rose to power. Milena was arrested in 1939 and sent to the death camp at Ravensbrück. There she met Margarete Buber-Neumann, a fellow political prisoner, writer, and opponent of Nazism. Together in their remarkable struggle, they made a pact: If they survived, they would write a book together; if only one made it, she would tell the story. It would fall to Buber-Neumann to make good on the promise. From Milena’s strict childhood in Prague to her politically charged battles, trailblazing career, and unique romance with the elusive Kafka, Buber-Nuemann’s inspiring biography of this remarkable woman gives us a lesson in humanity and dignity, as well as an unforgettable homage to friendship.
A biography of the Czech journalist best known as an intimate of Kafka's also examines her association with the literary elite of Prague and Vienna and her participation in the underground resistance in Czechoslovakia during World War II
Offers a rounded contemporary appraisal of Central Europe's most distinctive Modernist.
Assesses the roots and impact of global terrorism, including the United States' ability to address the Middle East challenge and fault lines in terrorist ideology, outlining conditions for acceptance of Israel and democratization of Islamist and Arab soci
How do memories circulate transnationally and to what effect? How can we understand the enduring role of national memories and their simultaneous reconfiguration under globalization? This book charts the rich production of memory across and beyond national borders, thus giving new insight into the role of memory in the contemporary world.