Tender Barbarian, The

Pedagogic Texts

Author(s): HRABAL, Bohumil
ISBN13/Barcode: 9788086264523
A series of texts forming a "novel" that pays homage to Hrabal's escapades with graphic artist Vladimír Boudník and poet Egon Bondy in Prague's Liben district in the 1950s. Included is a selection of Boudník's own writing and artwork from his Explosionalist period.

Availability: Not Yet Published Due 2019/10/23

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The Tender Barbarian is a series of texts that on the one hand pays homage to experimental graphic artist Vladimır Boudník, who committed suicide, perhaps involuntarily, in late 1968 just a few months after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, and on the other presents a fictionalized account of their life during this period in this place – the Libeň district – with avant-garde poet Egon Bondy acting as Boudník's foil. All three had been influenced by Surrealism in the 1940s (Karel Teige had called some of Hrabal's early poetry "tender Surrealism"), but by the early 1950s they were each trying to move beyond it: Bondy and Hrabal with Total Realism and Boudník with Explosionalism, an associative method of graphically interpreting random splotches and spots. Each was governed by Lautréamont's dictum that "poetry must be made by all." The book's title reflects Boudník's character, an active spontaneity and obscenity blended with hypersensitivity and empathy, someone in a state of grace for whom a Buddha-like simplicity comes naturally. And for Bondy, who is poring over books to learn how to achieve such a state, this becomes a never-ending source of frustration and admiration, to which he reacts with streams of vulgarity. As Hrabal put it: "I saw two people with the thumbprint of God on their brows: Vladimír and Egon Bondy."

Hrabal noted that when he sat down in 1973 to write something about Boudník for an exhibition and samizdat publication to commemorate the fifth anniversary of his death, he just kept writing and writing. And the main section, "The Tender Barbarian," does read almost like an automatic text as one episode spills out of another. Whether or not the book itself should be called a novel, fiction or non-fiction, or both at once, it is a compelling testament to a period and a group of friends who lived for and in art and managed to find the marvelous even in the dungheap that was Stalinist Czechoslovakia. This edition is complemented by texts and full-color images from Boudník's Explosionalist period.

Additional Information

ISBN13/Barcode 9788086264523
ISBN10 8086264521
Author HRABAL, Bohumil
Binding Paperback
Date Published 23 Oct 2019
Frequency No
Report Date 2019/10/23
Pages 170
Publisher Twisted Spoon Press

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