Apocryphal Tales: With a Selection of Fables and Would-be Tales

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Catbird Press, 1997 - Fiction - 188 pages
4 Reviews
Translated from the Czech by Norma Comrada A grand collection of tales and fables from one of Czechoslovakia's most respected writers that approach great events and figures of history, myth and literature in startling ways. Jesus's loves and fishes miracle is described from the viewpoint of a baker. Townspeople argue about who's to blame for the approaching hordes of Attila the Hun. Humorous, thought-provoking, and sometimes frightening, they show Capek at his very best.
 

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Review: Apocryphal Tales

User Review  - Henry Martin - Goodreads

This was a reread for me. While this is not my favorite work of his, Capek is still amazing. Read full review

Review: Apocryphal Tales

User Review  - Caroline - Goodreads

Small sketches based on famous people or fictional characters, retold. I liked the Greek stuff; I loved the Shakespeare; I was completely confused by the Bible material (no frame of reference). The author clearly has a great mind, but the pieces are limited vignettes. I want to try a novel next. Read full review

Contents

Introduction
7
Apocryphal Tales
15
Just Like Old Times
26
Agathon or Concerning Wisdom
35
The Death of Archimedes
44
The Ten Righteous
52
Holy Night
62
Lazarus
71
The Emperor Diocletian
93
Iconoclasm
104
Brother Francis
112
Ophir
116
Don Juans Confession
135
Master Hynek Rab of Kufstejn
148
The Lawsuit
162
The Anonymous Letter
179

Benchanan
79
Pilates Evening
86

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About the author (1997)

Karel Capek is best known abroad for his plays, but at home he is also revered as an accomplished novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and writer of political articles. His bitingly satirical novel The War with the Newts (1936) reveals his understanding of the possible consequences of scientific advance. The novel Krakatit (1924), about an explosive that could destroy the world, foreshadows the feared potential of a nuclear disaster. In his numerous short stories he depicts the problems of modern life and common people in a humorous and whimsically philosophical fashion. The plays of Karel Capek presage the Theater of the Absurd. R.U.R. (Rossum's Universal Robots) (1921) was a satire on the machine age. He created the word robot from the Czech noun robota, meaning "work" for the human-made automatons who in that play took over the world, leaving only one human being alive. The Insect Comedy (1921), whose characters are insects, is an ironic fantasy on human weakness. The Makropoulos Secret (1923), later used as the basis for Leos Janacek's opera, was an experimental piece that questioned whether immortality is really desirable. All the plays have been produced successfully in New York. Most deal satirically with the modern machine age or with war. Underlying all his work, though, is a faith in humanity, truth, justice, and democracy, which has made him one of the most beloved of all Czech writers.

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