On This Modern Highway, Lost in the Jungle

On This Modern Highway, Lost in the Jungle

By Jan Mrázek



Postcolonial reflections on Indonesia's influence upon the avant-garde poetry of a non-colonial European. In 1926, the Communist avant-garde poet Konstantin Biebl (1898-1951) traveled from Czechoslovakia to the Dutch East Indies. In the writings from his journal-texts simultaneously poetic and comic-both landlocked Bohemia and the colonized tropical islands are seen in disorienting new perspectives, like "mirrors looking at themselves in each other." ? Jan Mrázek's On This Modern Highway, Lost in the Jungle  takes us on a journey of our own, crisscrossing Biebl's life and work-with particular attention to his travel writing-as they mirror Mrázek's own experiences as a multinational academic: a Prague conservatory graduate, educated at Michigan and Cornell, and now a scholar of Indonesia living in Singapore. Biebl's writings are also the book's point of departure for a broader exploration of the intersections of travel and poetry, issues of colonial and social injustice, and the representation of otherness in the Czech literary and visual imagination. In its attention to how poetic travel reflects the Czech historical experience in the shadow of imperial nations, Mrázek's book elevates scholarly reflection on literary travel, modernity, and colonialism to a new level.

ISBN: 9788024651125


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