Art, Prague Literary Tour

A Prague lover’s reading list

These are just few books that a Prague lover may want to grab before heading to Prague or after getting back from your Prague literarary tour. We will be adding books but will be happy if you let us know of any treasures that you feel other Prague lovers should know of. Thank you! 

Franz Kafka (1883 – 1924)

It is impossible to talk about 20th century literature in Prague without mentioning Franz Kafka. For those who would like to penetrate the mysterious world of this Prague born Jewish German-language writer, their reading list should include:

  • The Metamorphosis
  • The Trial
  • The Castle
  • America

 

Only a few of Kafka’s works were published during his lifetime but the publisher, Max Brod, ignored Kafka’s wish to have the manuscripts destroyed, and published most of his works.

E.E. Kisch (1885 – 1948)

Czech writer and journalist, who wrote in German. Nicknamed the “Raging Reporter from Prague”, Kisch is considered one of the founders of the Czech investigative and reportage journalism. He wrote books about his numerous trips, such as:

  • Zaren, Popen, Bolschewiken (On the Soviet Union) (1926)
  • Paradies Amerika (On the United States) (1929)
  • Secret China (1933)

Franz Werfel (1890 – 1945)

Czech-Jewish novelist and playwright born in Prague, later moved to Vienna where he met and fell in love with Alma Mahler, widow of Gustav Mahler, the former lover of the painter Oskar Kokoschka, and the wife of the architect Walter Gropius. By the end of the nineteen-twenties, Werfel had become one of the most important and established writers in German and Austrian literature. Werfel and Alma left Austria after the German occupation in 1938 and finally settled in the United States where Werfel died in 1945. Continue reading “A Prague lover’s reading list”

Discover Czech Republic, Prague Literary Tour

A Traveller’s Companion to Prague

A traveller companion

In case you plan to visit Prague, I am sure you are getting all kinds of guide books, maps and tips what to do and what to skip. I suggest you get A Traveller’s  Companion to Prague, a book written by a Prague born Jan Kaplan, a Czech filmmaker and writer living in London since 1968. You will read about the turbulent  history of the golden city in the heart of Europe from the very beginning when the Princess Libuse predicted the future of the Czech nation through the dark dates of  Nazis in Czech and Moravian Protectorate up to the date when a former dissident Vaclav Havel became the first President of Czechoslovakia (today Czech Republic).

Prague hidden gems, Prague Literary Tour

Secret second hand bookstores of Prague Part II

After you visit the Hybernska street secondhand bookstore (ANTIKVARIAT) in Prague, you may want to check another bookstore just few steps from here. When you leave the bookstore, facing the trainstation, head to the left side and turn to left on the corner. You should be at the Dlazdena street. Look for Dlazdena No. 5. There is another secondhand bookstore. A bit smaller than the first one but still quite interesting. You may find some English language books but what is really nice are the old photographs and some artwork. This store is in the same place for ages. I remember walking by as a small girl wondering why would someone buy an old book. Now I know, whether you buy or not, it is always an adventure. And usually it is a bargain.

Enjoy and check back to Prague Travel Concierge, I will add more Prague secondhand bookstores soon.

Antikvariat Dlazdena No. 5, Prague 1
Opening hours Mo – Fri 9 am to 6 pm’, Sat 9 am to 1 pm

 

 

 

Books everywhere
Prague hidden gems, Prague Literary Tour

Secret second hand book stores (ANTIKVARIAT) of Prague – (Part I)

Wherever I travel, I always look for second hand book stores. I like 1 hour instant payday loans them. Old books that can tell stories. It would not be Prague without many second hand book stores – Antikvariat – in Czech. Some of these shops look like a set for a movie or they make you feel like you are entering a completely different world.

The one, well hidden “anitkvariat”  that I really like is Podzemni antikvariat – Underground second hand bookstore in Czech. I will admit that I did not know about it but then a friend of mine told me „You have to go there, it is interesting.” It is located at Hybernská street 22, opposite the side entrance to the Masaryk railway station. The street by itself is nothing special, many cheap and unattractive stores. But look for No. 22 and enter into the building. Yes, you will see bizarre paintings on the walls and ceiling but keep going and follow the ANTIKVARIAT signs. There is a staircase leading down to the bookstore and there it is – books, boxes of books, books on the tables, books on the floor, everywhere. And old drawings, paintings, old postcards, posters, junk, just look around. No matter whether you want to buy an old Czech book (look for the locked glass cabinet in one of the rooms), enjoy the very Prague atmosphere or you will like one of the „artworks“, it is a place worth of a visit. I saw couple of English language books, too.

Podzemni antikvariat, Hybernska 22, Praha 1

 

Prague Literary Tour

In the footsteps of Bohumil Hrabal

Havel_Clinton_Hrabal1Bohumil Hrabal, author of Closely Watched  Trains, Too Loud a Solitude or I Served the King of England used to work in a recycle paper junkyard at Spálená street No. 10 in Prague.  If you want to follow the steps of Bohumil Hrabal, you may want to see this unspectacular building that will give you an idea of the grey old times prior to 1989. Another story is the Golden Tiger Pub where Hrabal used to drink beer at his favorite table and had a chat with Presidents Havel and Clinton in 1994.

 

 

 

 

 


 

By Myrabella (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Prague Literary Tour

Guide to Kafka’s Prague

Kafka statue PragueIf you are interested in a literature tour or Kafka Tour in Prague or if you are a group interested in a discussion with a professor of Czech literature in Prague, please contact us.

When in Prague you could go in search of Franz Kafka. The house where he was born into a Jewish family does not exist today. However, a house built later on the same place is just off the Old Town Square, in what is now known as Franz Kafka Square. Not far away, in Dušní street, in the Jewish quarter, you will find The City’s official monument to Kafka. The statue depicts a suited Kafka on the shoulders of a huge headless man. This work of Czech sculptor, Jaroslav Rona was inspired by Kafka’s short story Description of a Struggle.

Although Kafka lived in noisy Dlouha street, he wrote a lot of his major works in the quieter house of his sister in Golden Lane, near Prague Castle. In the Lesser Quarter, close to Charles Bridge, you will find the Kafka Museum in the Hergetova Cihelna. Split in two parts, the Existential and the Imaginary Topography, the exhibition contains many first editions, letters and diaries along with audiovisual pieces. Kafka is buried at the New Jewish Cemetery in his family plot. A plaque there commemorates Kafka’s sisters, and opposite is another in memory of his best friend Max Brod. Kafka met Brod at Charles University where he studied law. Kafka entrusted most of his works to Brod, then a writer and publisher, and it is thanks to him that those works were not burned, as specifically requested by Kafka.

It is interesting to visit Franz Kafka bookshop located at Široká Street 14, between the narrow Maiselova Street and the luxurious Pařížská Avenue, in the very centre of the historical part of the city. The bookshop is in the centre of Kafka’s living space, surrounded by houses where he lived, the libraries where he studied and cafés where he was talking to his friends.

The bookshop is open every week day from 10:00 A.M. to 5:00 P.M., weekends from 10:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M.

Check our Prague Reading List for some interesting books about Franz Kafka or featuring Prague.
You may also like: Mini guide to Kafka’s Prague on BBC or kafka’s Prague on Prague Travel Concierge Pinterest.