Doctor Cz. was convinced yesterday that my presentation on Kundera's Life is Elsewhere should go into my dissertation. I then pointed out that the novel, while interesting, has nothing to do with Macha or the 1930s. We negotiated.
- It should be a chapter.
- No.
- Part of a chapter.
- No. How about two lines in my conclusion?
- Okay.

Academia? Middle management? Diplomatic service? The possibilities are endless...

Lately, in an attempt to keep up with the post-1930s literary world, I've been reading this blog because the blogger is brief and is interested in other national literatures beside Czech and Russian. Today, she linked to an article about a document explaining how Winston Churchill won the Nobel Prize in Literature. It seems that the Academy didn't like the other possibilities: Robert Frost, Walter de la Mare, and Halldor Laxness and was afraid the awarding the prize to Churchill would seem like a political statement, but really wanted to give the award to someone. The irony of this whole situation is that the quality of the oeuvre and the desire to appear apolitical went out the door when awarding a later Nobel for literature to Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, who is, in my opinion, a hack with a single better-than-average novel in his catalogue. Frankly, I think that the Academy should establish an award for writers who have done amazing aliterary things (Solzhenitsyn's moral integrity is an impressive thing), although I don't know what you'd call it. How about, the Nobel Prize for Second-Rate Writers Who Are Extraordinary Human Beings?

Continuing the Central European sum up, here's some statuary from Vienna. -Zh.