From Why I Write?, a collection of prose published this month by Karolinum Press. Hrabal (1914–1997) was a Czech writer known for his novels Closely Watched Trains and I Served the King of England. Translated from the Czech by David Short.
If one of Christ’s pals had been Rímský, the celebrated baker Rímský, who kicked a whore’s false leg an’ snapped it in two an’ gave some cops such a thrashing that they needed medical attention, then things would be better. Long before Christ, the same idea was shared by the European Renaissance, Sophocles, Themistocles, Socrates, Mozart, and Goethe, the quest for a refinement of emotion and libertinism.