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By Vladimír Macura

A prepared observer of tradition, Czech author Vladimír Macura (1945–99) dedicated an entire life to illuminating the myths that outlined his kingdom. The Mystifications of a Nation, the 1st book-length translation of Macura’s paintings in English, bargains essays deftly reading numerous cultural phenomena that originate, Macura argues, within the “big bang” of the nineteenth-century Czech nationwide Revival, with its get together of a uniquely Czech identity.
    In reflections on centuries of Czech historical past, he ponders the symbolism in way of life. Bridges, for example—once a strength of civilization connecting diversified peoples—became an indication of destruction in international conflict I. Turning to the Soviet and post-Soviet eras, Macura probes a variety of richly symbolic practices, from the naming of the Prague metro method, to the mass gymnastic screens of the Communist interval, to post–Velvet Revolution preoccupations with the nationwide anthem. In “The Potato Bug,” he muses on one of many stranger moments within the chilly War—the declare that the U.S. was once intentionally losing bugs from airplanes to wreak havoc at the vegetation of Czechoslovakia.
    whereas getting to the distinctively Czech components of such phenomena, Macura finds the bigger styles of Soviet-brand socialism. “We have been its cocreators,” he proclaims, “and its research touches us as a scalpel grew to become by itself body.” Writing with erudition, irony, and wit, Macura turns the scalpel at the authoritarian country round him, demythologizing its mythology.


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