Time, Identity and Being

The World of Václav Havel
  • Peter Majer
Part of the Insights book series (ISI)


In his first speech to the Federal Assembly in Prague (25 January 1990), playwright Václav Havel, in his new role as President of the Republic of Czechoslovakia, focused on the phenomenon of time:

In my offices in the Prague Castle, I did not find one single clock. To me, that has a symbolic meaning: for long years, there was no reason to look at clocks, because time had stood still. History had come to a halt, not only in the Prague Castle but in the whole country. So much faster does it roll forward now that we have at long last freed ourselves from the paralysing strait-jacket of the totalitarian system. Time has speeded up.1


English Edition Repetitive Thinking Police Interrogation Socratean Dialogue Single Clock 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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  1. 1.
    Václav Havel, Projevy (Prague: Vyšehrad, 1990) p. 24.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    For an informative selection of his writing, see Jan Patočka Philosophy and Selected Writings, ed. Erazim Kohák (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1989).Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Václav Havel, Horský hotel, in Hry 1970–76 (Toronto: Sixty-eight Publishers, 1977).Google Scholar
  4. 5.
    Milan Uhde, Nâvštevy a navštiveni V. Havla, in O divadle (Prague: Lidové noviny, 1990) p. 231.Google Scholar
  5. 6.
    Václav Havel, Dopisy Ohe (Brno: Atlantis, 1990) pp. 38–9, own translationGoogle Scholar
  6. English edition: Václav Havel, Letters to Olga (London: Faber and Faber, 1988)Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Václav Havel, Zahradní slavnost, in Protokoly (Prague: Mladá fronta, 1966) pp. 15–65.Google Scholar
  8. English edition: The Garden Party, translated and adapted by V. Blackwell (London: Cape, 1969).Google Scholar
  9. For a detailed discussion of this play, see E. Paul Trensky, The Garden Party Revisited, in Czech Literature since 1956: A Symposium (New York: Bohemica, 1980) p. 103.Google Scholar
  10. 8.
    English edition: The Memorandum, trans, by V. Blackwell (New York: Grove Press, 1980).Google Scholar
  11. 10.
    Václav Havel, Ztižená možnost soustředení (Prague: Orbis, 1969).Google Scholar
  12. English edition: The Increased Difficulty of Concentration, trans, by V. Blackwell (London: Cape, 1972).Google Scholar
  13. 11.
    Václav Havel, Temptation (London: Faber and Faber, 1988), trans. G. Theiner.Google Scholar
  14. For an interesting discussion of this work see Goetz-Stankiewitz, Variations of Temptations — V. Havel’s Politics of Language, London: Modern Drama, vol. XXXIII, no. 1 (March 1990) pp. 93–105.Google Scholar
  15. 18.
    Václav Havel, Three Vaněk Plays — Audience, Protest, Unveiling, trans. by Jan Novak and Věra Blackwell (London: Faber and Faber, 1990).Google Scholar
  16. 20.
    Václav Havel, Largo Desolato, trans. Tom Stoppard (London: Faber and Faber, 1987).Google Scholar
  17. 23.
    For a short bio-bibliography of V. Havel, see Václav Havel, Living in Truth, ed. J. Vladislav (London: Faber and Faber, 1989) p. 95.Google Scholar
  18. See also M. Goetz-Stankiewitz, The Silenced Theatre (Toronto: University of Toronto Press, 1979)Google Scholar
  19. E. Paul Trensky, Czech Drama since World War II (New York: M. E. Sharpe, 1978)Google Scholar

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© The Editorial Board, Lumière Cooperative Press Ltd 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter Majer

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