POSLEDNI MAJ

Praha or Prague: Ceskoslovensky Spisovatel, 1961. Hardcover. The second edition of Kundera's second book, heavily revised from the original 1955 text. Michelle Woods, in Translating Milan Kundera: Topics in Translation 30 (Multilingual Matters, 2006), says that the poem "tells the story of the last hours of Julius Fucik, a communist martyr murdered by the Nazis and much valorised after the war both by the communist regime and by writers such as Kundera, who constructed a myth surrounding him. The poem makes constant reference to Fucik, following him on a mythical last walk in Prague with his Nazi jailer, and uses a succession of communist motifs. Six years later, Kundera published a second edition of The Last May (1961) in which he altered or omitted half the lines in the book, and in which he removed the majority of the more ostentatious communist motifs. Two years after this, in 1963, he published a third edition in which he removed most references to Fucik by name, referring instead to an anonymous 'prisoner'. This aesthetic cleansing of the poem is consolidated by the appending of an epigraph from Macha Maj, which refers to 'a prisoner' and which refocuses the allegiance of the poem towards the history of Czech national literature and away from the communist tradition." Woods goes on to say that "Kundera is dismissive of his poetry, but he does remind his Czech readers that it provided motivational material for his later fiction." Text in Czech. Octavo: 29 p. Original white cloth binding, with black and red titles. Minor edgewear to the dust jacket, including a short closed tear to the rear panel; otherwise very good. Very good / Very good. Item #73856

Price: $100.00

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