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Milada Blekastad – Letters in a Time of Repression

  • Where: Václav Havel Library, Ostrovní 13, Prague 110 00
  • When: January 17, 2018, 19:00 – 21:00

The correspondence of Milada Blekastad (nee Topičová) with Jan Patočka, Ludvík Vaculík and Julie Nováková.

Milada Blekastad left behind thousands of pages of correspondence with close friends and eminent names in Czech and Norwegian science and culture. Her letters and responses are a record not only of professional and personal relations but also of the age in which they were written.

The Václav Havel Library is holding this debate on the significance of correspondence in the period of Communist dictatorship in cooperation with the Institute of Philosophy at the Czech Academy of Sciences and the Elg association. Speakers: Věra Schifferová (Czech Academy of Sciences), Vladimír Urbánek (Czech Academy of Sciences) and Jan and Ondřej Vaculík.

The evening will also see the launch of the travelling exhibition Invisible Bridge: Milada Blekastad 1917–2003.


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Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter

„I am a child of the age of conceptual, rather than mystical, thought and therefore my god as well – if I am compelled to speak of him (which I do very unwillingly) – must appear as something terribly abstract, vague and unattractive. But it appears so only to someone I try to tell about him – the experience itself is quite vivid, intimate and particular, perhaps (…) more lively than for someone whose “normal” God is provided with all the appropriate attributes (which oddly enough can alienate more often than drawing one closer). And something else that is typical of my god: he is a master of waiting, and in doing so he frequently unnerves me. It is as though he set up various possibilities around me and then waited silently to see what I would do. (…) His Last Judgment is taking place now, continuously, always – and yet it is always the last: nothing that has happened can ever un-happen, everything remains in the “memory of Being” – and I too remain there – condemned to be with myself till the end of time – just as I am and just as I make myself.“

Václav Havel:
Letters to Olga – essays written in prison, letter, August 7, 1980

Daniel Cohn-Bendit à Bibliothèque Vaclav HavelThe Faces of Resistance