The Mystifications of a Nation

The Mystifications of a Nation

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A keen observer of culture, Czech writer VladimAsr Macura (1945a€“99) devoted a lifetime to illuminating the myths that defined his nation. The Mystifications of a Nation, the first book-length translation of Macuraa€™s work in English, offers essays deftly analyzing a variety of cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, in the a€œbig banga€ 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 examplea€”once a force of civilization connecting diverse peoplesa€”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 posta€“Velvet Revolution preoccupations with the national anthem. In a€œThe Potato Bug, a€ he muses on one of the stranger moments in the Cold Wara€”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. a€œWe were its cocreators, a€ he declares, a€œand its analysis touches us as a scalpel turned on its own body.a€ Writing with erudition, irony, and wit, Macura turns the scalpel on the authoritarian state around him, demythologizing its mythology.aquot;The Potato Bugaquot; and Other Essays on Czech Culture VladimAsr Macura Hana PAschovAi, Craig Cravens ... the anonymous fund of the college of letters and science at the University of Wisconsina€“Madison and from the czech chair foundation of the University of Texas at Austin. ... No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any format or by any means, digital, anbsp;...

Title:The Mystifications of a Nation
Author:Vladimír Macura
Publisher:Univ of Wisconsin Press - 2010-11-18


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