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Jaroslav Hasek

Cecil Parrott, translator, biographer and unrivalled authority on Jaroslav Hasek (1883-1923), describes him succinctly: 'Truant, rebel, vagabond, anarchist, play-actor, practical joker, bohemian (and Bohemian), alcoholic, traitor to the Czech legion, Bolshevik and bigamist.' He was also a satirical writer of genius, best known for The Good Soldier Svejk, but, as The Red Commissar (reissued in Faber Finds) reveals, dazzling in other formats as well: feuilletons, sketches, short stories and satirical cameos.