Utopia and Dystopia in Czech Literature and Culture: From Symbolism to Socialist Realism



An Open UvA-Course with a strong transdisciplinary component: you will analyse the dialectics of utopian belief and dystopian scepticism (or desillusion) in Czech literature in its connections with visual arts.

This course deals with Central-European literary, visual, and political culture. It explores developments in Czech literature and culture of the first half of the twentieth century, a period that was characterised by major political events in the Czech lands: World War I, the emergence of the Czechoslovak Republic, the German occupation and the Communist takeover of 1948. The profoundly ideological and political dimension of literature and other arts in those years will be scrutinised, along a multitude of mainly Modernist currents, such as (literary) Symbolism, Vitalism, Proletarian Poetry, Poetism, Surrealism and Socialist Realism. 

All main literary genres will be dealt with: prose (Čapek, Majerová), as well as poetry (Neumann, Wolker) and drama (Josef and Karel Čapek).

Date, time, location and price

  • Date: 30 October - 14 December 2017
  • Time: Mondays, 13:00 - 15:00 and Thursdays, 15:00 - 17:00
  • Number of courses: 14
  • Location: P.C. Hoofthuis 3.01 (Mondays) and 5.08 (Thursdays)
  • Price: 180 / 162 (discount price for AUV-members)

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Important information

Course type Open UvA-Course
Education Seminars
Semester/block Semester 1, block 2
Language English
Study material Primary, secundary literature, as well as PowerPoint presentations and other material are available on Blackboard. Students without sufficient language knowledge are offered translations.
Other You may only attend the seminars. It is not possible to partake in exams or obtain credits.
Deadline registration 23 October 2017 (subject to availability)


To register for this course you need to create an Illustere School account. If you already have an account, please use your existing account to register for the course. For both options, click the button below.

After registration

Directly after signing up for a course you receive confirmation of your registration by e-mail. 


The tuition fee will be automatically deducted from your bank account. Registration for an Open UvA-Course for UvA employees is free. 


Blackboard is the digital learning environment of the University of Amsterdam and is used by all teachers and (regular) students of the UvA. Illustere School students may also use Blackboard. Your personal codes will be send to you by email.  


Published by  Illustere School