Václav Havel and Slavic Languages & Literatures


By rcgrubb
Dec 22, 2011

Ladislav Matejka and Václav Havel, Ann Arbor, September 2000

Ladislav Matejka and Václav Havel, Ann Arbor, September 2000

Ladislav Matejka and Václav Havel, Ann Arbor, September 2000

 

Václav Havel came to Ann Arbor in September 2000 to accept an honorary doctorate from the University of Michigan.  This was an occasion to welcome not only a playwright and a politician, but a friend whom we knew very well from his writings. While Havel was imprisoned in the early 1980s, Professor Ladislav Matejka obtained his "The Power of the Powerless" from Havel’s Canadian friend and translator, Paul Wilson. He subsequently printed Havel’s writings in Cross Currents, a "thick journal" focusing on Central Europe.  Alongside other East European dissidents, Havel figured prominently in Cross Currents throughout the years. Matejka and Havel met for the first time on the occasion of Havel’s honorary doctorate. This was a warm encounter between an author and his American promoter, albeit in a situation completely different from the 1980s. We keep Václav Havel, our friend and author, firmly in our memory.


Link to Cross Currents: A Yearbook of Central European Culture volume No. 3 (1984), volume No. 5 (1986) (out of print), volume No. 6.

For more on Václav Havel at Michigan, click here.