void
Hovudpersonen

The Good Soldier Švejk

Forfattaren Change languageChange language

People

Švejk on-line Blog Švejk Museum Literární Archiv Bibliografie Švejk Central Travel Diary Contact

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

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 fictional and real people (and animals) are mentioned; either through the narrative, Švejk's anecdotes, or indirectly through words and expressions.

This web page contains short write-ups on the people/animals that the novel refers to; from Napoléon in the introduction to Hauptmann Ságner in the last few lines of the unfinished Part Four. The list is sorted in the order of which the names first appear. The chapter headlines are from Zenny Sadlon's recent translation (1999-2008) and will in most cases differ from Cecil Parrott's version from 1973.

The quotes in Czech are copied from the on-line version of The Good Soldier Švejk: provided by Jaroslav Šerák and contain links to the relevant chapter. The toolbar has links for direct access to Wikipedia, Google maps, Google search, svejkmuseum.cz and the novel on-line.

The names are coloured according to their role in the novel, illustrated by the following examples:

  • Dr. Grünstein as a fictional character who is directly involved in the plot.
  • Fähnrich Dauerling as a fictional character who is not part of the plot.
  • Heinrich Heine as a historical person.

Note that a number of seemingly fictional characters are inspired by living persons. Examples are Oberleutnant Lukáš, Major Wenzl and many others.

Military ranks and some other titles related to Austrian officialdom are given in German, and in line with the terms used at the time (explanations in English are given in tooltips). This means that Captain Ságner is still referred to as Hauptmann although the term is now obsolete, having been replaced by Kapitän. Civilian titles denoting profession etc. are translated into English. This also goes for ranks in the nobility, at least where a direct translation exists.

People index of people, mythical figures, animals ... (587) Show all
I. In the rear
II. At the front
III. The famous thrashing
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

4. They threw Švejk out of the madhouse

Virgin Marynn flag
Wikipedia czdeennnno Search
maria.jpg

Icon of Mary in Vladimir, Russia

Virgin Mary is mentioned 33 times in The Good Soldier Švejk.

Virgin Mary was someone the inmates of the lunatic asylum could pretend to be. Otherwise she is already mentioned through the common Czech expression Ježíšmarjá. This is exclaimed by Švejk already in the first dialogue of the novel, when he hears the news about the assassination of Sarajevo and repeats itself 15 times. Her name is directly invoked several times, as both Marie and Maria.

Background

Virgin Mary was the mother of Christ and the principal saint of the Catholic Church. In the New Testament she is featured in the gospels and in the deeds of the Apostles. At the Ecumenical Council of Ephesus in 431, the Council Fathers bestowed here the title Theotokos, 'Mother of God'. The Quran portrays here as selected by God above all women in the world; she is mentioned in seven chapters in the Quran, one of them with her name as the title. She features in numerous works of art, where she is usually just called 'Madonna' - 'Our Lady'.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Člověk se tam může vydávat za pánaboha nebo za panenku Marii, nebo za papeže, nebo za anglickýho krále, nebo za císaře pána, nebo za sv. Václava, ačkoliv ten poslední byl pořád svázanej a nahej a ležel v isolaci.
[I.9] Ze všech znejmilejší svou milou já mám, nechodím tam za ní sám, chodí za ní jiných více, milenců má na tisíce, a ta moje znejmilejší je panenka Maria...
[II.4] Tak například na otázku, proč se nepřizná, odpověděl dle protokolu: "Já jsem zrovna v takový situaci, jako se voctnul jednou kvůli néjakejm obrazům Panny Marie sluha akademického malíře Panušky.

Also written:Panenka MarieHašekPanna MariaczJungfrau Mariade

The Popenn flag
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
paven.jpg

Wiener Bilder,23.8.1914

The Pope was one of the persons the inmates of blázinec could pretend to be.

Background

The Pope is bishop of Rome and head of the Roman Catholic Church, based in the Vatican. Pope from 1904 until 20 August 1914 was Pius X, who was succeeded by Benedict XV. Hence Pius still occupied the seat at the time Švejk was at blázinec (July 1914).

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Člověk se tam může vydávat za pánaboha nebo za panenku Marii, nebo za papeže, nebo za anglickýho krále, nebo za císaře pána, nebo za sv. Václava, ačkoliv ten poslední byl pořád svázanej a nahej a ležel v isolaci.
[I.8] Já jsem původně také chtěl dělat blázna, náboženského šílence, a kázat o neomylnosti papežově, ale nakonec jsem si opatřil rakovinu žaludku od jednoho holiče na Malé Straně za patnáct korun.“

Also written:PapežczDer Pabstde

Literature
King of Englandnn flag
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
george5.jpg

George V before the war

King of England was as one of the persons the patients at the lunatic asylum could pretend to be, and that without repercussions.

Background

seems to refer more to the king as a title and is not necessarily a reference to George V who was king of Great Britain, Ireland and the Commonwealth from 1910 to 1936. The title king of England hadn't formally existed since 1707, but then as now it was common to interchange the terms England, Great Britain and United Kingdom.

King George belonged to the House of Saxe-Coburg, a noble family originating from Germany. He was cousin of both Emperor Wilhelm II. and Tsar Nicholas II. He bore considerable physical resemblance to the Russian tsar. In 1917 the Royal House was renamed House of Windsor, one of several examples of politically motivated name changes during World War I.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Člověk se tam může vydávat za pánaboha nebo za panenku Marii, nebo za papeže, nebo za anglickýho krále, nebo za císaře pána, nebo za sv. Václava, ačkoliv ten poslední byl pořád svázanej a nahej a ležel v isolaci.

Also written:Anglický králczKongen av Englandnn

Literature
Saint Wenceslausnn flag
*907 Praha - †28.9.35 Stará Boleslav
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
stvaclav.jpg

Saint Wenceslaus is mentioned during Švejk's staty at Blazinec (the madhouse) when the author lists various persons or objects the inmates pretended to be.

He reappears in the anecdote about the chamberpot in Poděbrady which was claimed to be the helmet of Saint Wenceslaus.

Background

Saint Wenceslaus was prince (kníže) of Bohemia from 921 until his death. He was murdered by his brother Bohuslav, was canonised after his death and was eventually to become the Czech patron saint. Wenceslaus is still the patron saint of the Czech people and Czechia. His feast day is 28 September and is also a Czech national holiday.

Václavské náměstí is named after him and in 1912 a big equestrian statue of him was unveiled at the southern end of the street, in front of Museum. Václav is still today one of the most common Czech male names.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] A von mu ten jeho kamarád napsal takovej fejton vo takovým jednom sběrateli, jak našel v písku na břehu Labe starej nočník plechovej a myslel, že to přilbice svatýho Václava, a udělal s tím takovej rozruch, že se tam na to přijel podívat biskup Brynych z Hradce s procesím a s korouhvema.
[III.3] A von mu ten jeho kamarád napsal takovej fejton vo takovým jednom sběrateli, jak našel v písku na břehu Labe starej nočník plechovej a myslel, že to přilbice svatýho Václava, a udělal s tím takovej rozruch, že se tam na to přijel podívat biskup Brynych z Hradce s procesím a s korouhvema.

Also written:Svatý VáclavczHeiliger Wenzelde

Archbishopnn flag
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
arcibiskup.jpg

Lev Skrbenský z Hříště, Zlatá Praha, 1899

Archbishop is referred to when one of the patients at blázinec claims that he is archbishop. In [I.9] he is mentioned again because he received Feldkurat Katz and seemingly supported the latter in his attempt to join the Seminář.

Background

may arguably refer to the Roman-catholic archbishop of Prague although the text doesn't indicate any particular archbishop, and is rather used as a generic term. In [I.9] there is however no doubt that the author writes about the archbishop of Prague.

In office at the time was Lev Skrbenský z Hříště (1863-1938) who held the seat from 1899 to 1916. He was a Czech cleric and nobleman who before becoming archbishop had served for 10 years as field chaplain in k.u.k. Heer.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Byl tam taky jeden, kterej křičel, že je arcibiskupem, ale ten nic jiného nedělal, než jen žral a ještě něco dělal, s odpuštěním, víte, jak se to může rýmovat, ale tam se žádnej za to nestydí. Jeden se tam dokonce vydával za svatýho Cyrila a Metoděje, aby dostával dvě porce.
[I.9] Rozsadím vás po ajnclících, to vám udělám, lumpové. Ztrácím s vámi čas a vidím, že je to všechno dočista marné. Že kdyby zde byl sám polní maršálek nebo arcibiskup, že se nenapravíte, neobrátíte k bohu. A přece si jednou na mne vzpomenete, že jsem to s vámi myslel dobře.
[I.10.2] Já byl u arcibiskupa,“ hulákal, drže se vrat v průjezdu. „Vatikán se o mne zajímá, rozumíte?“

Also written:ArcibiskupczErzbischofdeErkebiskopennn

Literature
Saint Cyrilnn flag
*827 Thessaloniki - †869 Roma
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
kyrillos.jpg

Cyril in Olomouc

Saint Cyril was mentioned when Švejk told about his stay in blázinec. One of the inmates claimed to be Saints Cyril and Methodius in order to get two portions.

Background

Saint Cyril was a Greek missionary, later to become a saint, who together with his brother Methodius started the Christianisation of the Slavic peoples. The Cyrillic alphabet is named after him.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Jeden se tam dokonce vydával za svatýho Cyrila a Metoděje, aby dostával dvě porce.

Also written:Svatý CyrilczSankt Kyrillde

Saint Methodiusnn flag
*815 Thessaloniki - †6.4.885 Velehrad
Wikipedia czdeenno Search
methodios.jpg

Methodius in Olomouc

Saint Methodius was mentioned when Švejk told about his stay at blázinec. One of the inmates claimed to be Saints Cyril and Methodius in order to get two portions.

Background

Saint Methodius was a Greek missionary, later to become a saint, who together with his younger brother Cyril started the Christianisation of the Slavic peoples. During his lifetime he was known as Michael. The two brothers are often referred to as the "Apostles to the Slavs". They translated the Bible to what is now called Old Church Slavonic.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Jeden se tam dokonce vydával za svatýho Cyrila a Metoděje, aby dostával dvě porce.

Also written:Svatý MetodějczSankt Methodde

Publisher Otto, Jannn flag
*8.11.1841 Přibyslav - †29.5.1916 Praha
Wikipedia czdeen Search Švejkův slovník
otto.jpg

Otto was indirectly mentioned in connection with the mental patient who claimed to be the 16th part of Otto's Encyclopaedia.

Background

Otto was a Czech publisher best known for publishing Ottův slovník naučný. He also published literature, text books and magazines. Amongst the latter were Zlatá Praha and Světozor which Jaroslav Hašek contributed to. The head office of the publishing house J. Otto was located at Karlovo náměstí No. 34 and they also had a branch office in Vienna.

Otto's son studied at Obchodní akademie at the same time as Jaroslav Hašek (1899-1902). Otto also ran a foundation to support poor students at the academy.

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] Nejzuřivější byl jeden pán, kerej se vydával za 16. díl Ottova slovníku naučného a každého prosil, aby ho otevřel a našel heslo ,Kartonážní šička’, jinak že je ztracenej.

Sources: Radko Pytlík, Marek Šimoňák

Literature
General Windischgrätznn flag
Wikipedia czdeensv Search Švejkův slovník
windischgraetz.jpg

Alfred Fürst zu Windisch-Graetz

wind_hula.png

Břetislav Hůla, 1951

© LA-PNP

wind_dead.png

Oberst Fürst Windischgrätz, commander of IR. 35 reported dead, 24 June 1859

Oesterreichischer Soldatenfreund,2.7.1859

Windischgrätz is first only referred to as a song which Švejk mentions when one of the court doctors asks him which songs he knows.

In [I.7] he sings parts of the song in bed, stricken by rheumatism and fortified by patriotic fervour, just before he is carted off to war in a wheelchair by Mrs. Müllerová.

Background

Windischgrätz may refer general Alfred I. Fürst zu Windisch-Graetz (ref. Břetislav Hůla, 1951). He was a famous Austrian commander who brutally suppressed the revolutions of 1848, both in Prague and Vienna.

The song in question however refers to events during the Second Italian War of Independence in 1859, and on this occasion the old field marshal was not involved. On the other hand, his nephew and son-in-law was on duty: Karl Vinzenz (1821-1859), colonel and commander of Infanterieregiment Nr. 35. He was killed during the battle by Solferino on 25 June 1859. On 18 July his body was brought back to Prague, and the event received extensive press coverage.

Conflicting notes

The latest German translation of The Good Soldier Švejk (Antonín Brousek, Reclam Verlag, 2014) provides extensive Anmerkungen (annotations). Both persons are mentioned, but at the first occurrence of the name it claims that Alfred I. is the person in question. On the next mention it is Karl Vinzenz, despite the indisputable fact that Švejk refers to the same song on both occasions. Only a thorough investigation of the etymology behind the song may shed proper light on these contradictions.

The good soldier Švejk in captivity

The song in question is also partly quoted in Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetí and in a context that is very similar.[1]

"Bylá bitvá bylá, tám u Solferiná, teklo tam krvé moc, krvé pod koléna a na fůry mása, vždyť se tam sekála osmnáctá chása, hop, hop, hop. Osmnáctá cháso, neboj ty se nouze, vždyť za tébou vézou peníze na voze. Peníze na voze a mináž v kočáře …"

Quote(s) from the novel
[I.4] A také to dál neumím,“ vzdychl Švejk. „Znám ještě první sloku z ,Kde domov můj’ a potom ,Jenerál Windischgrätz a vojenští páni od východu slunce vojnu započali’ a ještě pár takových národních písniček jako ,Zachovej nám, Hospodine’ a ,Když jsme táhli k Jaroměři’ a ,Tisíckrát pozdravujeme Tebe’...“
[I.7] Jenerál Windischgrätz a vojenští páni od východu slunce vojnu započali, hop, hop, hop!

Vojnu započali, takto jsou zvolali: „Pomoz nám Kristus pán s panenkou Marií, hop, hop, hop!“

Sources: Antonín Brousek, Břetislav Hůla

Literature
References
1Dobrý voják Švejk v zajetíJaroslav Hašek1917
Index Back Forward I. In the rear Hovudpersonen

4. They threw Švejk out of the madhouse

© 2008 - 2024 Jomar Hønsi Last updated: 10.6.2024