The Good Soldier Švejk Facts That You Probably Didn't Know | Kidadl


The Good Soldier Švejk Facts That You Probably Didn't Know

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'The Good Soldier Švejk' is a novel written by Jaroslav Hasek.

The book follows the life of Švejk, an inept soldier who always finds a way to get out of duty. The novel is full of satire and dark humor.

Jaroslav Hasek, the author of the book, was born on April 30, 1883, in Prague. He started writing 'The Good Soldier Švejk' in 1914 and finished it in 1921. The book is set during World War One and follows the misadventures of a Czech soldier, Švejk, who is trying to avoid the draft. Švejkwas based on Hasek's experience. Most of the novel is based on Hasek's own experiences in military service. He was drafted in 1915 but was discharged after six months because of his poor health. 'The Good Soldier Švejk' was first published in 1921 and was an instant success. However, Hasek never saw the book's publication; he died in 1923, at the age of 39.

Hasek wanted his work, Švejk, to be a six-volume work, but he could only finish three volumes, much to his dismay and much to the readers' dismay. While working on the fourth one, he died of heart failure on January 3, 1923. The names of three finished volumes are 'Behind The Lines,' 'The Glorious Licking,' and 'At The Front'. The unfinished volume's name is 'The Glorious Licking Continues.' Adolf Synek, the publisher, urged a journalist named Karel Vanek to finish the unfinished work of Hasek after his death in 1923. Vanek agreed and managed to complete the fourth book in 1923. He even managed to publish the fifth and sixth volumes in the same year!

The illustrations of the novel were initially drawn after the death of Hasek. Josef Lada drew them, but they were drawn again by a Czech illustrator named Petr Urban.

'The Good Soldier Švejk' has been called the 'greatest novel about World War One' and is considered a classic of Czech literature. It was written in the Czech language, and it wasn't translated from the Czech language into English until 1930. The book has been translated into over 60 languages. It's been adapted into a play, a movie, and a TV series.

Continue reading to know more about the novel 'The Good Soldier Švejk' by Jaroslav Hasek!


The characters in the story are either the punchline for Hasek's dark comedy, or they embody very broad social and racial stereotypes prevalent at the period in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. The vocabulary typically identifies people and registers they speak Czech or German. This is one of those traits that is problematic to communicate. Many German and Polish-speaking characters, for example, are depicted as speaking comedically broken or heavily accented Czech, whereas many Czechs speak broken German; slang expressions are also used liberally.

Josef Švejk was the protagonist in Jaroslav Hasek's novel 'The Good Soldier Švejk.' Švejk was a clumsy soldier who constantly found a way to avoid doing his job. Frantisek Straslipka, Hasek's youthful batman, was based partly on Oberleutnant Rudolf Lukas, Hasek's company commander in the Czech military unit. He would be found playing cards, getting drunk, and dealing with stolen dogs in his civilian life.

Palivec was the landlord of Švejk's pub on Na Bojisti Street in Prague. He used to refuse to talk about politics. Despite this, Palivec is subsequently apprehended by Bretschneider when he critiques Franz Joseph's portrait on the walls of the pub.

Bretschneider, who apprehended Palivec, was one of the covert police officers in Prague. He was always on the lookout for Švejk and those who have anti-monarchist sentiments. After purchasing a variety of animals from Švejk in an attempt to expose him and catch him committing some crime, he is finally devoured by his own dogs.

Oberleutnant Lukas has been the commanding officer of Švejk for a long time. Lukas is a Czech from South Bohemia. He is a philanderer but is presented by Hasek in a relatively favorable and sympathetic light.

Colonel Friedrich Kraus von Zillergut is an incompetent Austrian officer who enjoys delivering long-winded and dumb explanations of ordinary things and events. He was run over by a cart while trying to explain what a sidewalk is. Švejk steals Kraus' dog to give it to Lukas as a gift. This angers the colonel, and he then makes some arrangements to relocate Lukas to the front.

Sagner is a professional officer in the army and commander of Švejk's march troop. He is aspiring and driven. Since his childhood, he is shown to have become a covert Czech nationalist. His character is based on Captain Vinzenz Sagner, the commanding officer of Hasek's unit in the 91st Regiment in the author's real life.

Marek, a volunteer in the novel, is kind of based on the writer, who was also a volunteer in the 91st for a year.

Biegler is a talented subordinate officer. Despite belonging to a middle-class family, he has noble aspirations. He fulfills his military responsibilities so earnestly that he is mocked by all.


'The Good Soldier Švejk' by Jaroslav Hasek opens in Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic, with news of the tragic murder of Sarajevo. Švejk is so enthused over diligently serving the Austrian Emperor in combat that no one knows whether he is a moron or is deliberately harming the war. After uttering certain politically incorrect statements, he is caught by Bretschneider, a covert police officer, and is sent to jail. After being declared crazy, he is sent to a mental institution.

Josef Švejk pretends to have rheumatism, and he has his charwoman, a woman who used to clean up the house, wheel him to the Prague recruitment headquarters. There, his evident enthusiasm and passion generate a slight stir among the crowd. Due to his rheumatism, he is moved to another hospital facility for malingerers. He eventually joins the army as the batman for Otto Katz. Katz was able to escape being deployed to the front by landing a low-level military post in Prague. On the other hand, Katz loses Švejk at cards to Senior Lieutenant Lukas, whose batman he subsequently becomes, which finally propels him to the front.

Lukas is dispatched to Ceske Budejovice in Southern Bohemia in preparation for deployment to the front lines. Švejk takes a long walk through Southern Bohemia after he managed to miss all the trains to the location. Before he was captured as a suspected spy and renegade, he made an unsuccessful attempt to locate Budejovice. He vehemently rejects the accusation and is taken back to his unit. The battalion is shortly repositioned to Bruck a der Leitha, a town on the Austrian-Hungarian border. Švejk is apprehended once more in this town, where tensions between the two ethnic groups are tense, this time for inciting an affray involving a well-known Hungarian national and engaging in a street brawl. In addition, he gets promoted to the post of company orderly.

The regiment boards a train bound for Galicia as well as the Eastern Front. After landing at a body of water and slipping in a discarded Russian uniform, Švejk is taken captive by his own side as a suspected Russian deserter. He gets to rejoin his army after narrowly evading execution. The unfinished work ended suddenly before Švejk had an opportunity to participate in any fighting or join the trenches. Nevertheless, it appears Hasek imagined that the characters would have completed the war in a POW camp, much like he had.

The novel is set during World War One.

Inspiration And Development

The piece of literature is set in Austria-Hungary during World War One, a multi-ethnic empire with long-standing racial conflicts. The conflict claimed the lives of approximately 15 million people. Hasek took part in the fighting and wrote about it, and the story gives the readers a unique perspective and an intricate picture during the war.

At least to some extent, the events and persons were influenced by Hasek's experience in the Austro-Hungarian Army. The story also engages with broader anti-war concepts, such as primarily a series of wildly funny scenes. It tackles the utter futility and stupidity of fighting in general. Most of its characters, particularly the Czechs, are fighting in a struggle they don't comprehend on behalf of an empire they have no allegiance to.

The whole theme of the story is elaborated upon in the personality of Josef Švejk. He somehow continually manages to frustrate the military authority and exposes its foolishness and incompetence by a type of passive resistance. It can be somewhat confusing as to whether Švejk is actually incompetent and dumb, or is he merely behaving like that purposefully. He just responds to a conflict or a stressful situation in a passive manner. These strange occurrences culminate when Švejk, dressed in a Russian uniform, is erroneously captured by his own side. He was even declared an idiot by the Austrian authorities. In order to satirize the Habsburg power, Hasek constantly exposes the corruption and hypocrisy of Catholic Church priests.


How long is 'The Good Soldier Švejk'?

The piece of literature named 'The Good Soldier Švejk' by Jaroslav Hasek is very long. The novel consists of 784 pages.

What is the name for soldier adventures?

The name for soldier adventures is Osudy dobreho vojaka Švejka za svetove valky, which translates to The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk during the World War.

During which year does part one of 'The Good Soldier Švejk' take place?

The novel is set during World War One, which took place from 1914 to 1918. Part one of the book takes place in 1915. The book is set in central-eastern Europe.

Who wrote 'The Good Soldier Švejk'?

'Jaroslav Hasek wrote the Good Soldier Švejk'. However, the book is based on actual persons with whom the author interacted and from his experience in the army during World War One. He was drafted back in 1915.

When was 'The Good Soldier Švejk' published?

'The Good Soldier Švejk' was first published in 1921. However, Jaroslav Hasek died in 1923 at the age of 44, so he never saw the book's publication.

What inspired the author to write the novel?

Most of the novel is based on Hašek's own experiences in the army. He was drafted in 1915 but was discharged after six months because of his poor health.

How many copies did it sell?

'The Good Soldier Švejk' was an instant success, and it's estimated that it has sold over 10 million copies worldwide. Even though the author could not complete all six volumes of the book, he managed to publish three, which were a success worldwide.

Written By
Bhavya Gupta

<p>With a degree in Economics from Sri Venkateswara College, affiliated with the University of Delhi, Bhavya is a proficient content writer who specializes in crafting content for companies operating in the marketing, growth, online media, and non-profit organization management industries. Drawing on her expertise, Bhavya is capable of crafting content that is both informative and engaging, helping businesses to connect with their target audience and drive growth.</p>

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