The Bad Bohemian

Cecil Parrott
Date Published
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Jaroslav Hašek was the author of The Good Soldier Švejk, a twentieth-century masterpiece, and one of the funniest novels ever written. He was also, to quote Sir Cecil Parrott, a ‘truant, rebel, vagabond, anarchist, play-actor, practical joker, bohemian (and Bohemian), alcoholic, traitor to the Czech legion, Bolshevik and bigamist.’: in short a Bad Bohemian.

Hašek’s bottle-strewn life, as Sir Cecil makes clear, was the raw material of his fiction; this remarkable biography, the only one in the English language, makes for riotous reading.

Sir Cecil Parrott as well as being the British Ambassador to Czechoslovakia in the 1960s was also the translator of The Good Soldier Švejk (his translation is definitive) and leading authority on Jaroslav Hašek.

‘Sir Cecil coolly untangles Hašek from the coils of rumour, and manages, while performing this delicate scholarly operation, to transmit the raucous glitter of the beer-gardens and night-dives and cafés-chantants which were Hasek’s element. The result is a triumph, and – like all first-rate scholarship – enormously enjoyable.’ Sunday Times


Sir Cecil Parrott (1909-1984), diplomat, translator, writer and scholar, is best known for his definitive translation of Jaroslav Hašek’s The Good Soldier Švejk. He also wrote two autobiographical volumes, The Tightrope and The Serpent and the Nightingale as well as his biography of Jaroslav Hašek, The Bad Bohemian (reissued in Faber Finds as is his translation of some of Hašek’s…

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