The good soldier Švejk and U Kalicha

“Meet me 6 o’clock after the war”Svejk3

This famous quote is from maybe the most legendary Czech novel, “The good soldier Švejk” by Jaroslav Hašek.

Švejk is supposedly an imbecile but is still enlisted to the Austrian army during the first world war. He’s described as an undisciplined liar, a boozer and a dimwit; (in civilian life he’s a dealer in stolen dogs), but he still outsmarts his superiors all the time. Is he genuinely stupid or is he schrewd, acting deliberately with dumb insolence? The reader can’t tell. He messes up orders by following them literally, and he causes one tangle after another for people surrounding him.

The writer died before finishing his work. It was published after his death in 1923. The Czech painter, Josef Lada made the orginal illustrations.

Where was this meeting going to take place?
Of course at U Kalicha (The goblet), a pub visited by Jaroslav Hašek and also by the good soldier Švejk! In those days it was a completely ordinary, uninteresting, smoky and rather dirty bar-restaurant in Prague. Unfortunately no photo documentation remains. The restaurant has survived through the centuries, and time has stopped at six o’clock.


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