Skip to main content

Distributed for Karolinum Press, Charles University

Behind the Lines

Bugulma and Other Stories

Translated by Mark Corner

Jaroslav Hašek is a Czech writer most famous for his wickedly funny, widely read, yet incomplete novel The Good Soldier Schweik, a series of absurdist vignettes about a recalcitrant WWI soldier. Hašek—in spite of a life of buffoonery and debauchery—was remarkably prolific. He wrote hundreds of short stories that all display both his extraordinary gift for satire and his profound distrust of authority. Behind the Lines presents a series of nine short stories first published in the Prague Tribune and considered to be some of Hašek’s best. Based on his experiences as a Red Commissar in the Russian Civil War and his return to Czechoslovakia, Behind the Lines focuses on the Russian town of Bugulma, taking aim, with mordant wit, at the absurdities of a revolution.

Providing important background and insight into The Good Soldier Schweik, this collection by a writer some call the Bolshevik Mark Twain is nevertheless much more than a tool for understanding his better-known novel; it is a significant work in its own right. A hidden gem remarkable for its modern, ribald sense of humor, Behind the Lines is an enjoyable, fast-paced anthology of great literary and historical value.


224 pages | 38 halftones | 5 x 7 | © 2012

Modern Czech Classics



"Prague‘s ribald raconteur of tavern tales, Hašek, the author not just of Svejk but of the equally pugnacious Behind the Lines."

James Hopkin | Times Literary Supplement

Behind the Lines is a special book. . . .  Hašek tackles the absurdity of the Soviet approach to Marxism, making fun of how quickly the Bolshevik revolution was corrupted by ignorant men thirsty for power and willing to commit unnecessary violence. . . . In Behind the Lines, it’s all a fraud, lies and betrayal, with war presented as a charade in which soldiers act out their role merely because they have no other way of earning a living, while civilian lives and precious resources are wasted like water. Although he was writing about an absurd, militarized society in the early twentieth century, Hašek pretty much nails contemporary society right on the head.”

Randy Rosenthal | Coffin Factory

Table of Contents

Commanding Officer, Town of Bugulma
Second-in-Command to the Commanding Officer, Town of Bugulma
The Via Dolorosa
A Strategic Hitch
Bugulma’s Glory Days
New Dangers
Potemkin’s Villages
There is Hitch with the Prisoners
Before the Revolutionary Tribunal of the Eastern Front
The Supreme Truth which is Chên-shih
Cross Purposes
Shake the Dust from your Shoes
How I Came to Meet the Author of my Obituary

Translator’s Note and Acknowledgement
Editor’s Note

Be the first to know

Get the latest updates on new releases, special offers, and media highlights when you subscribe to our email lists!

Sign up here for updates about the Press