SEOUL – juvenile Czech classics translated into Korean
15.11.2012 / 05:48
Another - a bit surprising - Czech title published in Korean is a juvenile novel Poplach v Kovářské uličce (Mayhem in Kovářská street). It was written by Václav Řezáč (1901-1956), who is author of critically acclaimed 1930s left leaning children´s books and should be better forgotten for his 1950s ultra left communist novels which supported a rise of communism and forcible nationalization of property at countryside during the onset of a Stalinist regime in Czechoslovakia in the 1940s.
Řezáč´s Poplach v Kovářské uličce used to be one of the most read children´s books in former Czechoslovakia for at least three generations of children during the whole communist rule, as Řezáč was understood as one of the leading writers whose literally skills were used as a efficient propaganda tool. Not surprisingly his books saw many translations, and Poplach v Kovářské uličce was published in at least dozen translations, mainly in former friendly communist countries such as Soviet Union and Easter Germany, but also saw the edition in Albanian, Danish and Italian.
It is an interesting, though very much outdated, insight into Czech literature how it was, but does not look today any longer. Since not a single book by Václav Řezáč was reprinted even in his native Czech since the fall of communism, and the last translation into Russian was published in 1988 (according to the Czech National Library catalogue), the Korean edition is the first Řezáč´s book to saw the new edition in 23 years.
Published by Hankyoreh as 대장간 골목and translated from Czech by .Kim Kyung-ok it unfortunately lacks its best part – original illustrations by leading Czech artist of the 1920s/1930s Josef Čapek, elder brother of famous writer Karel Čapek.
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