Mystifications of a Nation "The Potato Bug" and Other Essays on Czech Culture
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Description: A keen observer of culture, Czech writer Vladimiacute;r Macura (194599) devoted a lifetime to illuminating the myths that defined his nation.The Mystifications of a Nation, the first book-length translation of Macurars"s work in English, offers essays deftly analyzing a variety of cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, in the "big bang" of the nineteenth-century Czech National Revival, with its celebration of a uniquely Czech identity. In reflections on two centuries of Czech history, he ponders the symbolism in daily life. Bridges, for example-once a force of civilization connecting diverse peoples-became a sign of destruction in World War I. Turning to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, Macura probes a range of richly symbolic practices, from the naming of the Prague metro system, to the mass gymnastic displays of the Communist period, to postVelvet Revolution preoccupations with the national anthem. In "The Potato Bug," he muses on one of the stranger moments in the Cold War-the claim that the United States was deliberately dropping insects from airplanes to wreak havoc on the crops of Czechoslovakia. While attending to the distinctively Czech elements of such phenomena, Macura reveals the larger patterns of Soviet-brand socialism. "We were its cocreators," he declares, "and its analysis touches us as a scalpel turned on its own body." Writing with erudition, irony, and wit, Macura turns the scalpel on the authoritarian state around him, demythologizing its mythology.
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List price: $26.95
Copyright year: 2010
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication date: 11/18/2010
Size: 6.00" wide x 9.00" long x 0.25" tall
CRAIG CRAVENS is a Fellow of Czech Studies at the University of Texas, Austin.
|List of Illustrations|
|Semio-Feuilletons on the End of Empires: The Cult of the Center and the Comedy of the Bridge|
|Introduction: The Czech World of Vladimï¿½r Macura|
|The Nineteenth Century: Genesis of a Nation|
|Where Is My Home?|
|Mystification and the Nation|
|Dream of Europe|
|The Joyous Age: Reflections on Czechoslovak Communism|
|The Potato Bug|
|Death of the Leader|
|Symbol with a Human Face|
|The Celts within Us|