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This is a book about collective guilt, individual fate, and repentance, a tale that explores how we can come to be responsible for crimes we neither directly commit nor have the power to prevent. Set in the Czechoslovakian borderland shortly after WWII amid the sometimes violent expulsion of the region’s German population, Jaroslav Durych’s poetic, deeply symbolic novel is a literary touchstone for coming to terms with the Czech Republic’s difficult and taboo past of state-sanctioned violence. A leading Catholic intellectual of the early twentieth century, Durych became a literary and political throwback to the prewar Czechoslovak Republic and faced censorship under the Stalinist regime of the 1950s. As such, he was a man not unfamiliar with the ramifications of a changing society in which the minority becomes the rule-making political authority, only to end up condemned as criminals. Though Durych finished writing God’s Rainbow in 1955, he could not have hoped to see it published in his lifetime. Released in a still-censored form in 1969, God’s Rainbow is available here in full for the first time in English.
About the Author
Jaroslav Durych (1886‒1962) was a Czech novelist, poet, playwright, and journalist. He is the author of The Descent of the Idol: A Story of the Thirty Years’ War, among other books. A retired teacher of Czech and Slovak, David Short has increasingly worked as a translator. He is the author of a popular Czech textbook, coauthor of a number of publications in the field of linguistics, and the translator of a score or so of books from Czech. Rajendra A. Chitnis is a senior lecturer in Czech, Slovak, and Russian literature at the University of Bristol, UK.