Search | Directories | Reference Tools
UW Home > Discover UW > Student Guide > Course Catalog 

Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Jose Alaniz
CZECH 420
Seattle Campus

Modern Czech Literature in English

Representative works of Czech literature from the 1920s to the present in the context of earlier Czech and general European literary trends. Emphasis on prose and drama of major writers, including Hasek, Capek, Vancura, Skvorecky, Kundera, Vaculik, and Havel.

Class description

Caught between East and West, modernity and tradition, Slav and “European? identity, the region today known as Central Europe has produced some of the most vital, moving and irreverent literature in the world. This course will serve as a general introduction to modern Czech literature and film, focusing mostly on post-1918 works, with a comparative foray into former Yugoslav literature. We will pay special attention to the role 20th-century history and national tragedy have played in Czech culture, as well as how authors deploy humor and sex as a strategy of resistance, survival and celebration. In addition to reading novels and shorter pieces by Karel Čapek, Bohumil Hrabal, Milan Kundera, Ivan Klíma and others, we will also watch films by Jiří Menzel, Věra Chytilová and Jan Svěrák. The course concludes with a discussion of the current, post-socialist state of Czech literature, film and popular culture.

Student learning goals

Have a basic familiarity with Central European, especially Czech, literary history, trends, works and authors.

Gain understanding of Central European, especially Czech, history and political culture in the modern era (1918 - present).

Practice analysis and critical discussion of literature (and to a lesser extent, film).

General method of instruction

Lecture and discussion

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading

Grades assigned through two formal written projects, class participation and engagement with course content as expressed in the above and in weekly short reading responses.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Jose Alaniz
Date: 11/18/2013