Ideological Orientation and Political Views and Standpoints of Representatives of Czech Underground Culture, 1969-1989 (Underground and Dissent – Allies or Enemies?)

Open to the Public
Nador u. 11
Toth Gyorgy Istvan Room
Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 5:30pm
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Thursday, February 4, 2010 - 5:30pm to 7:15pm

The lecture deals with a variety of political ideas that existed in Czech underground community, as well as with the relation of the community to the movement of Charter 77. First, the sources of ideological inspiration for I. M. Jirous's “underground manifesto” Report on the Third Czech Musical Revival (1975) are discussed (J. Nuttal, R. M. Rygulla, M. Duchamp, the whole of “alternative culture” of the West on the 1960s).

The principal importance of Jirous's “manifesto” is then compared with the extreme leftist views of the best known Czech underground poet, philosopher and essayist Egon Bondy as they found its counterweight in Christianity that was surprisingly influential in Czech underground. Jiří Němec's essay New Chances for Freedom (1979) is quoted, and the outstanding position of Czech underground community within Charter 77 is discussed. Finally the influence of the two initiatives of Czech underground - The Letter of Forty Charter 77 Signatories to Charter Spokesmen (1987) and Petr Placáks Manifesto of Bohemian Children (1988) upon Charter 77 is dealt about.

Martin Machovec is a well-known literary critic, translator, editor and expert on the Czech underground scene.


  • Sabrina Petra Ramet, “Rock Music in Czechoslovakia,” in: Rocking the State: Rock Music and Politics in Eastern Europe and Russia ed. by Sabrina P. Ramet, Boulder-San Francisco-Oxford, Westview Press, 1994, 55-72.
  • Views from the Inside. Czech Underground Literature and Culture (1948-1989), Praha: Filozofická fakulta Univerzity Karlovy, 2006: 7-33.

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