The Good Soldier Švejk Represents the Czech Republic in this Map of World Literature

via Backforward24 / Imgur
via Backforward24 / Imgur

Reddit user Backforward24 has recently created a great map of the world that highlights literature from around the globe by using a novel to represent each country, trying to select the most popular novels from each nation.

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In his map, for example, the United States becomes To Kill a Mockingbird, Canada is Anne of Green Gables, and Russia is War and Peace.

In Europe, the UK is Dickens’ Great Expectations, Ireland is Joyce’s Ulysses, Spain is represented by Don Quixote of La Mancha, Italy becomes The Divine Comedy, and France is The Count of Monte Cristo.

And in the Czech Republic, the book of choice is none other than Jaroslav Hašek’s beloved The Good Soldier Švejk, which is the country’s most-translated novel, having been reprinted in more than 50 languages.

Švejk is a satire set during WWI that reflects some of Hašek’s experiences while fighting with the Austro-Hungarian Army.

It’s absurdist tone in the face of wartime horrors has been often been cited as a quintessential element of the Czech character. The lead character, Josef Švejk, is often able to get himself out of military duties by feigning ignorance.

Check out the full-size version of Backforward24’s great map at this link.

Here’s a complete list of the books by country via Reddit:

  • Afghanistan – Kite Runner
  • Albania – The General of the Dead Army
  • Algeria – The Stranger
  • Angola – A Gloriosa Familia
  • Argentina – Ficciones
  • Armenia – The Fool
  • Australia – Cloudstreet
  • Austria – The Man Without Qualities
  • Azerbaijan – Blue Angels
  • Bahamas – The Measure of a Man
  • Bangladesh – A Golden Age
  • Belarus – Voices from Chernobyl
  • Belgium – The Sorrow of Belgium
  • Belize – Beka Lamb
  • Bhutan – the Circle of Karma
  • Bolivia – Bronze Race
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina – Zlata’s diary
  • Botswana – The No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency
  • Brazil – Dom Casmurro
  • Brunei – Some Girls
  • Bulgaria – Under the Yoke
  • Cambodia – First they Killed my Family
  • Cameroon – The Old Man and the Medal
  • Canada – Anne of Green Gables
  • Central African Republic – Batouala
  • Chad – The Roots of Heaven
  • Chile – The House of the Spirits
  • China – The Dream of the Red Chamber
  • Colombia – 100 Years of Solitude
  • Costa Rica – La Isla de los hombres solos
  • Croatia – Cafe Europa
  • Cuba – Havana Bay
  • Czech Republic – The Good Soldier
  • Democratic Republic of the Congo – The Antipeople
  • Denmark – Feeling for Snow
  • Dominican Republic – Wonderful Life of Oscar Wao
  • East Timor – The Redundancy of Courage
  • Ecuador – The Villager
  • Egypt – Palace Walk
  • El Salvador – Bitter Grounds
  • Estonia – Truth and Justice
  • Ethiopia – Beneath the Lion’s Gaze
  • Fiji – Tales of the Tikongs
  • Finland – The Unknown Soldier
  • France – The Count of Monte Cristo
  • French Guiana – Papillon
  • Georgia – Knight in the Panther’s Skin
  • Germany – Buddenbrooks
  • Greece – The Iliad
  • Greenland – Islands, the Universe, Home
  • Guatemala – Men of Maize
  • Guyana – Palace of the Peacock
  • Haiti – Breath, Eyes, Memory
  • Honduras – Cipotes
  • Hungary – Eclipse of the Crescent Moon
  • Iceland – Jar City
  • India – The God of Small Things
  • Indonesia – This Earth of Mankind
  • Iran – Shahnameh
  • Iraq – The Corpses Exhibition and Other Stories
  • Ireland – Ulysses
  • Israel – Mornings in Jenin
  • Italy – The Divine Comedy
  • Jamaica – A brief history of Seven Killings
  • Japan – Kokoro
  • Kazakhstan – The Book of Words
  • Kenya – Petals of Blood
  • Kuwait – A Map of Home
  • Kyrgyzstan – Jamilia
  • Laos – In the Other Side of the Eye
  • Latvia – Nāvas Ena
  • Lebanon – The Hakawati
  • Lesser Antilles – Wide Sargasso Sea
  • Libya – In the Country of Men
  • Lithuania – Black Sheep
  • Luxembourg – In Reality: Selected Poems
  • Macedonia – Freud’s Sister
  • Malaysia – The Garden of Evening Mists
  • Mali – Sundiata: An Epic of Old Mali
  • Mauritania – Silent Terror: A Journey into Contemporary African Slavery
  • Mexico – Pedro Paramo
  • Moldova – A Siberian Education
  • Mongolia – The Blue Sky
  • Montenegro – Montenegro: A Novel
  • Morocco – The Sand Child
  • Mozambique – Sleepwalking Land
  • Myanmar – Smile as they Bow
  • Namibia – Born of the Sun
  • Nepal – The Palpasa Cafe
  • Netherlands – Max Havelaar
  • New Zealand – The bone People
  • Nicaragua – The Country Under my Skin
  • Niger – Sarraounia
  • Nigeria – Things Fall Apart
  • North Korea – The Aquariums of Pyongyang
  • Norway – Hunger
  • Oman – The Turtle of Oman
  • Pakistan – The Reluctant Fundamentalist
  • Panama – Plenilunio
  • Papua New Guinea – Death of a Muruk
  • Paraguay – I the Supreme
  • Peru – Death in the Andes
  • Philippines – Noli Me Tangere
  • Poland – Pan Tadeusz
  • Portugal – Baltasar and Blimunda
  • Puerto Rico – When I was Puerto Rican
  • Qatar – The Emergence of Qatar
  • Romania – Forest of the Hanged
  • Russia – War and Peace
  • Saudi Arabia – Cities of Salt
  • Serbia – Dictionary of the Khazars
  • Slovakia – Rivers of Babylon
  • Slovenia – Alamut
  • Solomon Islands – Suremada
  • Somalia – The Orchard of Lost Souls
  • South Africa – Disgrace
  • South Korea – The Vegetarian
  • South Sudan – They Poured Fire on Us from the Sky
  • Spain – Don Quixote
  • Sri Lanka – Anil’s Ghost
  • Sudan – Lyrics Alley
  • Suriname – The Price of Sugar
  • Sweden – Gosta Berling’s Saga
  • Switzerland – Heidi
  • Syria – The Dark Side of Love
  • Taiwan – Green Island
  • Tajikistan – Hurramabad
  • Tanzania – Desertion
  • Thailand – The Four Reigns
  • Tunisia – The Pillar of Salt
  • Turkey – My Name is Red
  • Turkmenistan – The Tale of Aypi
  • U.S.A – To Kill a MockingBird
  • UAE – The Sand Fish
  • Uganda – Abyssinian Chronicles
  • Ukraine – Death and the Penguin
  • United Kingdom – Great Expectations
  • Uruguay – Soccer in the Sun and Shadow
  • Uzbekistan – Chasing the Sea
  • Vanuatu – Black Stone
  • Venezuela – Dona Barbara
  • Vietnam – The Sorrows of War
  • Yemen – The Hostage
  • Zambia – Scribbling the Cat: Travels with an African Soldier
  • Zimbabwe – The House of Hunger
Daniel Lee

Daniel Lee

The versatile Danny Lee has been living in Prague and writing about the Czech capital for the past 15 years. You've probably read his work in the past without even knowing it.
Daniel Lee

2 Comments

  1. So Scotland is represented by Charles Dickens’s “Great Expectations”, is it? Not by any of the novels of Ian Banks, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, A.J. Cronin, Lewis Classic Gibbon, Alasdair Gray, James Kelman, A.L. Kennedy, Val McDermid, Ian Rankin, Sir Walter Scott, Muriel Spark, Robert Louis Stevenson, Irvine Welsh? Aye, right…

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