Vítězslav Nezval: Valérie a týden divů (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders)

The latest addition to my website is Vítězslav Nezval‘s Valérie a týden divů (Valerie and Her Week of Wonders) . Nezval was a committed surrealist, friends with André Breton and other surrealists when he wrote this book in 1932 (thirteen years before it was finally published in Czech). It is a spoof Gothic novel with a host of surrealist touches and follows Valerie in her first week of menstruation, when various characters try to corrupt her sexually and otherwise. In particular there is the polecat, a 104 year old devil/vampire/former lover of her grandmother (Valerie’s parents, a bishop and a nun, are dead) who has a host of wicked plans. Fortunately, Orlik, possibly the son or nephew of the polecat and maybe but maybe not Valerie’s (half-)brother helps her, as she helps him. From fowl pest to witch-burning, from secret vaults and premature burials, from magic potions to defiled virgins, Nezval throws it all in for a wonderful Gothic spoof.

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