Hovudpersonen

The Good Soldier Švejk

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Franz Ferdinand and Sophie leave the Sarajevo Town Hall, five minutes before the assassination, 28 June 1914.

The Fateful Adventures of the Good Soldier Švejk is a novel with an unusually rich array of characters. In addition to the many who directly form part of the plot, a large number of fictive and real people (and animals) are mentioned; either through Švejk's anecdotes, the narrative or indirectly through words and expressions.

This web page contains short write-ups on the persons the novel refers to; from Napoléon in the introduction to captain Ságner in the last few lines of the unfinished Book Four. The list is sorted in to the order of which the names first appear. The chapter headlines are from Zenny K. Sadlon's recent translation and will in most cases differ from Cecil Parrott's version from 1973. In January 2014 there were still around twenty entries to be added.

  • The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of the novel provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter
  • The tool-bar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google search and Švejk on-line

The names are colored according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples: Doctor Grünstein who is directly involved in the plot, Heinrich Heine as a historical person, and Ferdinand Kokoška as an invented person. Note that a number of seemingly fictive characters are modelled after very real living persons. See for instance Lukáš and Wenzl.

>> The Good Soldier Švejk index of people mentioned in the novel (585) Show all
>> I. In the rear
>> II. At the front
>> III. The famous thrashing
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

11. Švejk rides with the field chaplain to serve a field mass

Adalbert of Praguenn flag
*956 Libice nad Cidlinou - †23.4.997 Truso
Wikipedia czdeensv Google search
adalbert.jpg

Saint Adalbert in Prague, Václavské náměstí.

Adalbert of Prague is by the author mentioned as a crook who used the cross in one hand and the sword in the other to murder and exterminate the Baltic Slavs. The theme in this context is the institution of Field Mass.

Background

Adalbert of Prague was Czech marthyr and saint who spread christianity in Hungary, Poland and Prussia. He suffered death as a marthyr in his attempt to converts the Balts and later became a patron saint of Bohemia, Poland, Hungary and Prussia.

Quote from the novel
[1.11.1] Nic se nezměnilo od té doby, kdy loupežník Vojtěch, kterému přezděli „svatý“, účinkoval s mečem v jedné a křížem v druhé ruce při vraždění a vyhubení pobaltických Slovanů.

Also written:Svatý Vojtěch cz Adalbert von Prag de

Guillotin, Joseph-Ignacenn flag
*1770 Paris - †1823 Paris
Wikipedia czdeenfrno Google search
guillotin.jpg

Exécution de Marie Antoinette le 16 octobre 1793

Guillotin (or rather the execution apparatus that carry his name) is mentioned by the author in connection with his description of execution- and field mass rituals.

Background

Guillotin was a French doctor and politician who on 10 October 1789 in the National Assembly proposed a reform of capital punishment; applying the same method regardless of class, that the purpose was to end life quickly rather than torture etc. The result of the proposal was that development of a falling axe apparatus was started. From 1792 is was in regular use and led to a much quicker and less painful execution process, a great progress from the previously barbarous methods.

The guillotine is best known from the French Revolution where many prominent heads rolled. The apparatus was also used in Switzerland, and notoriously in Nazi Germany and occupied territories. In Austria-Hungary the official method of execution was hanging in Würgegalgen.

Quote from the novel
[1.11.1] V Prusku vodil pastor ubožáka pod sekyru, v Rakousku katolický kněz k šibenici, ve Francii pod gilotinu, v Americe kněz na elektrickou stolici, ve Španělsku na židli, kde byl důmyslným způsobem uškrcen, a v Rusku bradatý pop revolucionáře atd.
Kolaříknn flag
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kolarik.jpg

Kolařík - Katz - Švejk

Kolařík was a pious retired teacher from Vršovice who had bought a couch from Katz and had given away the field altar that was hidden inside. He had believed that the altar was a divine gift which obliged him to donate it to the local parish. Katz and Švejk pointed out that the alter was military property and that handling it in such a dubious manner could have grave consequences. See Vršovice kostel.

Quote from the novel
[1.11.2] Ve Vršovicích v bytě pana učitele, starého nábožného pána, čekalo je nemilé překvapení. Naleznuv polní oltář v pohovce, starý pán domníval se, že je to nějaké řízení boží a daroval jej místnímu vršovickému kostelu do sakristie, vyhradiv si na druhé straně skládacího oltáře nápis: „Darováno ku cti a chvále boží p. Kolaříkem, učitelem v. v. Léta Páně 1914.“ Zastižen jsa ve spodním prádle, jevil velké rozpaky.
Pivoňkann flag
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Pivoňka was a man from Chotěboř who had got his hands on state property and subsequently suffered a grim fate. Švejk found it appropriate to relate this fact to the pious teacher Kolařík who had donated the field altar to the local parish. The fear-stricken old man finally grasped the gravity of the situation.

Background

Pivoňka is a name that appears in at least one of the short stories of Jaroslav Hašek. One of them was a Salvation Army captain who visited Pardubice, mentioned in Zápas s Armádou spásy (Kopřivy, 26 January 1921). Inspiration may also stem from the author's visit to Chotěboř in 1912, the outcome of which was the story Zrádce národa v Chotěboři.

Links

Quote from the novel
[1.11.2] „Na útraty vojenského eráru, to se rozumí,“ řekl tvrdě a drsně Švejk, „zaplaťpánbůh za takový boží řízení. Nějakej Pivoňka z Chotěboře považoval jednou také za boží řízení, když se mu do rukou připletla ohlávka s cizí krávou.“
Oberleutnant Witingernn flag
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Witinger was a senior lieutenant from the 75thh regiment who had won the trophy that Katz borrowed for use as a chalice when giving field mass. The trophy was won by the officer years ago when he ran for Sport-Favorit. He was a good runner and boasted that he had run the 40 kilometre Vienna - Mödling stretch in 1 hour 48 minutes.

Background

Witinger is said to have belonged to Infanterieregiment Nr. 75, a unit that was located in Salzburg and Jindřichův Hradec in 1914. It would therefore have been rare to encounter officers from this regiment in Prague at the time. See also Just. The facts given in the novel with regards to distance and duration of his running are also way off. If Witinger was correct his time would be much better than the current Marathon world record. See Mödling. Witinger was not a common name in Prague at the time of our soldier, but the almost identical Wittinger was. Any inspiration for the name is therefore likely to be found amongst these.

Quote from the novel
[1.11.2] Tak dostaneme sportovní pohár od nadporučíka Witingra od 75. pluku. On kdysi před lety běhal o závod a vyhrál jej za ,Sport-Favorit’. Byl to dobrý běžec. Dělal čtyřicet kilometrů Vídeň-Mödling za 1 hodinu 48 minut, jak se nám vždycky chlubí. Jsem hovado, že všechno odkládám na poslední chvíli. Proč jsem se, trouba, nepodíval do té pohovky.“
Dalton, Johnnn flag
*6.9.1766 Eaglesfield - †27.7.1844 Manchester
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Dalton is mentioned indirectly through the term daltonist (a person who suffers from colour blindness) when Katz's gory field altar is vividly described by the author.

Background

Dalton was a distinguished British scientist in physics and chemistry, also known for his research into colour blindness, which he suffered from. Daltonism has even become a byword for it in some languages, notably French and Spanish. It has become a synonym in many more, amongst them Czech and English. Dalton spent almost his entire life in Manchester.

Links

Source: Wikipedia (en)

Quote from the novel
[1.11.2] Oltář skládal se ze tří dílů, opatřených hodně falešným pozlátkem, jako celá sláva církve svaté. Nebylo také možno zjistit bez fantasie, co vlastně představují obrazy namalované na těch třech dílech. Jisto je, že to byl oltář, kterého by mohli stejně používat nějací pohani na Zambezi či šamáni Burjatů i Mongolů. Opatřen řvavými barvami, vypadal zdáli jako barevné tabule určené pro zkoumání daltonistů na železné dráze.
Moritz Mahlernn flag
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Moritz Mahler is indirectly mentioned through the Jewish firm of the same name in Vienna who manufactured religious artefacts, in this case the field altar of Katz.

Background

The firm can not be found in the address book of Vienna, 1915. Suppliers of religious artefacts existed of course but in this case the name appears to be invented. The company Moritz Löwenstein in [III.2] seems to be a variation of the same theme.

Quote from the novel
[1.11.2] Slavný polní oltář byl od jedné židovské firmy, Moritz Mahler ve Vídni, která vyráběla všemožné mešní potřeby a předměty náboženské, jako růžence a obrázky svatých.
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

11. Švejk rides with the field chaplain to serve a field mass


© 2009 - 2018 Jomar Hønsi Last updated: 14/11-2018