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The Czech Books You Must Read: Markéta Lazarová

Radio Prague International released the third episode of the Czech Books You Must Read series where they introduce both past and contemporary jewels of Czech literature as well as map out the popularity and availability of Czech books abroad. This time, they present Vladislav Vančura’s Markéta Lazarová, an epic tale considered as a masterpiece of Czech interwar modernism and praised for its experimental use of language.

As the author’s first commercial breakthrough the book was awarded Czechoslovakia’s State Prize for Literature after its publication in 1931. The English translation was only made available to English-speaking readers in 2016.

Markéta Lazarová sets in an unspecified time in medieval Bohemia and depicts a savage feud between two briggand families. The novel celebrates courage, honour and love, which undermines social and religious conventions.

Today, the story is perhaps better known thanks to a famous film adaptation by František Vláčil from 1967.

Find more about the book and the writer in your language version:

Czech: https://www.radio.cz/cz/rubrika/kultura/marketa-lazarova-vladislava-vancury-avantgarda-a-klasika-zaroven 
English: https://www.radio.cz/en/section/books/vladislav-vancuras-marketa-lazarova-a-medieval-epic-exploring-the-possibilities-of-czech-language 
French: https://www.radio.cz/fr/rubrique/literature/vladislav-vancura-marketa-lazarova 
German:  https://www.radio.cz/de/rubrik/kultur/vladislav-vancura-marketa-lazarova 
Russian: https://www.radio.cz/ru/rubrika/bogema/vladislav-vanchura-marketa-lazarova- 
Spanish:  https://www.radio.cz/es/rubrica/cultura/marketa-lazarova-la-mas-latinoamericana-de-las-novelas-checas