Thomas, Alfred. “The Bohemian Body: Gender and Sexuality in Modern Czech Culture”, University of Wisconsin Press, 2007.
Czech Literature and Film
If you have followed my reviews you know that I usually dabble in lighter literature but every once in a while a scholarly book comes along that I feel deserves to be mentioned. Such is the case with Alfred Thomas’s “The Bohemian Body”. The Czech Republic has always been a land of intrigue as well as a place that we do not know much about. Alfred Thomas changes that. He looks at the gamut of the nation and writes about it with beauty. The Czech Republic is a small country that more than once has been on the verge of disappearing altogether culturally while still holding on to cosmopolitanism. Thomas looks at the culture of the country in ways that will undoubtedly bring about discussion.
Looking at modern Czech literature and film through a variety of lenses can only bring about greater understanding. Looking at the texts ad films from the point of view of gender analysis reveals a relationship between the personal and the political and also joins local and European identities. Thomas looks at the forces of modernism that helped to shape Czech nationalism and the interaction between the arts and between ethnic and social groups. He examines the contributions of all—gays and straights, men and women and Czechs and Germans.
Taking the period form the National Revival and going to the Velvet Revolution. We notice an attempt to be more personal and to separate from the political. Here is where the true culture of the country lies. The modern Czech identity has been brought about by those delving in the arts and culture and identity are very closely related and intertwined. Czech culture is filled with nuance and paradox and up until quite recently has been overlooked by the rest of the world. With this book, we get a clear look at the culture and the people.