Joseph Skvorecky

Biografie şi Bibliografie

Josef Škvorecký (born September 27, 1924 in Náchod, Czechoslovakia, now Czech Republic) is a leading contemporary Czech writer and publisher who has spent much of his life in Canada. He and his wife were long-time supporters of Czech dissident writers before the fall of communism in that country. By turns humorous, wise, eloquent and humanistic, Škvorecký's fiction deals with several themes: the horrors of totalitarianism and repression, the expatriate experience, the miracle of jazz.


Škvorecký graduated in 1943 from the Reálné gymnasium in his native Náchod. During the Second World War he spent two years as a slave labourer in a German aircraft factory.

After the war, he started studying at the Faculty of Medicine of Charles University in Prague. After his first term he moved to the Faculty of Arts, where he studied English and Philosophy, receiving his Ph.D. in Philosophy in 1951.

Between 1952 and 1954, he performed his military service in the Czechoslovak army.

He worked briefly as a teacher, editor and translator during the 1950s. During this time he finished several novels including The End of the Nylon Age and The Cowards. When they were published in 1956-58, they were immediately condemned and banned by the Communist party. His prose style, open-ended and improvisational, was an innovation, but this and his democratic ideals were a challenge to the prevailing socialist regime. Škvorecký kept writing, and helped nurture the democratic movement that culminated in the Prague Spring in 1968.

After the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia that year, Škvorecký and his wife, writer and actress Zdena Salivarová, fled to Canada.

In 1971, he and his wife founded 68 Publishers which, over the next twenty years, published banned Czech and Slovak books. The imprint became an important mouthpiece for dissident writers, such as Václav Havel, Milan Kundera, and Ludvík Vaculík, among many others. For providing this critical literary outlet, the president of post-Communist Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel, later awarded the couple the Order of the White Lion in 1990.

He taught at the Department of English at the University of Toronto where he was eventually appointed Professor Emeritus of English and Film. He retired in 1990. (In Canada, he is considered to be a Canadian author despite the fact that he is still mostly publishing in Czech.)

Literary works

Most of Škvorecký’s novels are available in English: the novels The Cowards, Miss Silver's Past, The Republic of Whores, The Miracle Game, The Swell Season, The Engineer of Human Souls which won the Canadian Governor General's Award, The Bride of Texas, Dvorak in Love, The Tenor Saxophonist's Story, Two Murders in My Double Life, An Inexplicable Story or The Narrative of Questus Firmus Siculus, his selected short stories When Eve Was Naked and the two short novels The Bass Saxophone and Emöke. A recurring character in several of his novels is Danny Smiricky, who is a partial self-portrait of the author.

He wrote four detective novels featuring Lieutenant Boruvka of the Prague Homicide Bureau: The Mournful Demeanor of Lieutenant Boruvka, Sins for Father Knox, The End of Lieutenant Boruvka and The Return of Lieutenant Boruvka.

His poetry was published as a collection in 1999 as ...there's no remedy for this pain ( tuhle bolest nejsou prášky).

His non-fiction works include Talkin' Moscow Blues, a book of essays on jazz, literature and politics, an autobiography Headed for the Blues, and two books on the Czech cinema including All the Bright Young Men and Women.

Škvorecký wrote for films and television. The feature film The Tank Battalion was adapted from his novel The Republic of Whores. Other features, written for Prague TV, include Eine kleine Jazzmusik, adapted from his story of the same name, The Emöke Legend from a novella of the same name, and a two-hour TV drama Poe and the Murder of a Beautiful Girl, based on Edgar Allan Poe's story The Mystery of Marie Roget. Three very successful TV serials were made from his stories: Sins for Father Knox, The Swell Season and Murders for Luck. In the shadow of the above mentioned lies forgotten but unique and brilliant movie "Pastor´s End" based on the novel of the same name. Based on true story, the movie produced in 1968 never saw the day light and went straight into locked communist archives due to the fact that his author "illegally" fled the country.

Prominent in his writing for radio was a long-running monthly series on literature for Voice of America. From 1973-1990 he wrote over 200 of these shows covering notable literary works and discussing literary themes.


Among his numerous literary awards are the Neustadt International Prize for Literature (1980), the Canadian Governor General's Award for English Language Fiction (1984), the Czech Republic State Prize for Literature (1999) and the Prize of the Comenius Pangea Foundation “For Improvement of Human Affairs” (2001) which he received with the Polish film director Andrzej Wajda.

Nominated for the Nobel Prize in 1982.

Awarded the Order of the White Lion by the President of Czechoslovakia, Václav Havel, 1990.

In 1992 he was made a Member of the Order of Canada.

Škvorecký is a Guggenheim Fellow as well as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.

Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, République Française, 1996.


    * The Cowards, 1958
    * The Bass Saxophone, 1967
    * Miss Silver's Past, 1969
    * The Miracle Game, 1972
    * The Swell Season, 1975
    * The Engineer of Human Souls, 1977
    * Dvořák in Love (Scherzo capriccioso), 1984
    * The Bride of Texas, 1992
    * Headed for the Blues / a memoir with ten stories, 1997, ISBN 0-571-19290-4
    * When Eve Was Naked, 2002
    * Ordinary Lives, 2004, translated 2008, ISBN 978-0-88619-443-7

Cărti de Joseph Skvorecky

Cum Cumpăr Cum plătesc Livrare
0 cărţi in coş
Total : 0 RON