Czech Republic

1913. The Year Before the Storm

©‎ Park Konykiado
Jiří Peňás
Letní nebe před sto lety. (The Summer Sky 100 Years Ago)
In: Lidové noviny on 8 June 2013.


©‎ Park KonykiadoFlorian Illies’ historical panorama of 1913 is made up of more than 500 comments and short stories. These not only deal with the historical events, but with the events and the state of the 'participants’ during that year – particularly personalities from the art world. Illies’ technique of using cuts, contrasts and paradoxes creates a varied and impressive mosaic, or rather fabric, which reads like a good, gripping novel, partly on account of the ubiquitous irony. (…)

The book features Franz Kafka, Sigmund Freud, Heinrich and Thomas Mann and also Oskar Kokoschka, who passionately fell for Alma Mahler that year. She initially gave herself to him, but soon made a fool of him, inspiring him to create masterpieces in a quite ruthless manner. (…)

There is also a section about Stalin, who was in Vienna and met Trotzky at the beginning of the year. (...) On a walk through Schönbrunn Park, he might have met a gaunt man eleven years his junior who lived from selling his watercolours and was already weary of Vienna. (…)

The author makes only marginal mention of the political events (...): The ongoing Balkan wars, which ultimately and unexpectedly spread to the whole of Europe, are only touched upon from a distance and are contrasted with the civilised and peaceable order of the interrelated European monarchies.

Florian Illies
1913 : léto jednoho století.
Original title.: 1913. Der Sommer des Jahrhunderts.
Brno : Host, 2013.
Transl..: Tomáš Dimter
ISBN 978-80-7294-870-3