Selected essays
Vaclav Havel
Before 1989
1989 - 2003
After 2003
Plays, books
Contact, links

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1989 A Word About Words
In 1989, Havel was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Booksellers Association. It was presented to him, in absentia, at the Frankfurt Book Fair on October 15, 1989. This is his acceptance speech, which was read in Havel's absence by Maximilian Schell. It was translated by A. G. Brain and reprinted in full in The New York Reviem of Books, January 18, 1990.
1987 Stories and Totalitarianism
"Stories and Totalitarianism" (April 1987) was written for the underground cultural journal Jednou nohu (Revolver Review), and dedicated to Ladislav Hejdánek on his seventieth birthday. In English, it appeared in Index on Censorship, no. 3 (March 1988) and, in a slightly different version, in The Idler, Toronto, no. 18 (July-August 1988). Translation by Paul Wilson.
1986 The Erasmus Prize
1986 On the Meaning of Charter 77
1985 Anatomy of a Reticence
"Anatomy of a Reticence" (April 1985) was written, according to a note by the author, "to be delivered at a peace conference in Amsterdam, in my absence; and for an international collection of essays on European identity being prepared by the Suhrkamp publishing house." It first appeared in Czech in Obsah, a samizdat publication, in April 1985. Its first publication in English was as a Charter 77 Foundation pamphlet (Voices from Czechoslovakia, i), Stockholm, 1985. Subsequently it was published in Václav Havel or Living in Truth, edited by Jan Vladislav. The translation is by Erazim Kohák.
1984 Politics and Conscience
In an author's note, Havel writes, "This speech was written for the University of Toulouse, where I would have delivered it on receiving an honorary doctorate, had I attended...:' Havel, of course, had no passport and could not travel abroad. At the ceremony at the University of Toulouse-Le Mirail on May 14, 1984, he was represented by the English playwright Tom Stoppard.

The essay first appeared in Prague in a saynizdat collection called The Natural World as Politicol Problem: Essays on Modern Man (Prague: Edice Expedice, Vol. 188, 1984). The first English translation, by Erazim Kohák and Roger Scruton, appeared in the Salisbury Review, no. 2 (January 1985). This is the translation used here.