is the year of Jan Weiss’s double anniversary. One hundred and
twenty years since his birth (May 5, 1892) and forty years since his
death (March 7, 1972) we again commemorate his work. By rights?
Does it still have anything to say to readers nowadays? I would
like to pause on this question now.
question has two dimensions.
we can understand it in this way: Does Weiss still have anything
to say to us nowadays when we can speak freely, since some of his
discourses originated in non-freedom and are therefore likely to
be ideologically twisted? This question relates mainly to the part
of his work created after 1948, but if we are strict and merciless,
we can also apply it to the works produced in the mood that the
Stalinist regime spread around itself – that is before that year.
we can read the question as follows: Does this work still have
anything to say to the present readers, so many years since not
only the birth but also the death of its author? What is more, in
a situation when the gates to the West have been opened and we
have found ourselves in a direct confrontation with the culture
that used to be forbidden to us? How will Weiss’s work hold out
in this comparison, confrontation and fight for its place in the
will attempt to answer these questions at least partially and by
implication when outlining Weiss’s work1).
This outline is designed to make it evident what has survived
after my judgment2).
After all, the final verdict is left upon the readers themselves.
first work was published in 1924 and was characteristically named
(A Dream). The title symbolically adumbrates the whole work
like a g clef, as Dream
became the basis for the various worlds built by Weiss with its
help. The dream, a deformed reflection of reality, stems from the
reality and mirrors it in a specific way, expressing its essence.
The arch of Weiss’s published works was completed by the first
publication of short stories Hadání o budoucím (Guessing about the Future) in 1963, in general
denoted as “science fiction”, but being rather an expression
of Weiss’s ideal dream about the relationships among people,
which he attained as a “Master of old age”.
us concentrate on the events between these two milestones. It is
possible to find out that Weiss is an author dependant on
experience, on external impulses he sensitively reacts to. My
division of the outline of Weiss’s work derives from this fact.
Apart from the published works, I will, where it proves useful,
also briefly point out the works that remained only in manuscript.
First World War
the primary impulse documented by Weiss was the madness of the
First World War, especially the war machinery, which fuelled its
fire. The way of thinking that made the machinery work logically
led Weiss to the concept that even lunatics will be drafted, and
in that moment he could already plastically see the battle
formation consisting of them, their trainers, as well as the both
grotesque and tragic consequence and result of the meeting of
lunatics on both sides of the conflict, calling it
regiment (A Crazy Regiment) (Bláznivý
regiment (A Crazy Regiment), 1930), subsequently three versions of this story,
varying in length, were created)3).
Unfortunately, this reflection of the war fury and the appeal to
reason still remains valid. In 1984, Dětské studio
Divadla na provázku (Child Studio of The Theater on the String) in Brno
na bláznivý regiment (Play on the Crazy Regiment), based on
from the unique reflection of war, mentioned above, the
reflections of experiences from the prisoner-of-war camp Tockoje,
a sort of czar concentration camp (if we know about the gulags, we
should know about these as well) where Weiss found himself after
being captured at the Russian front, are much more frequent. They
influenced Weiss’s growth as an author, interfering with
practically his whole life, as well as constantly pushing into his
work and forming it.
camp life was realistically represented in three prose pieces from
the collection Barák smrti
(The Hut of Death) (1927). The title of the story
(Hunger) signifies the constant guide of the POWs, one of whom
yields to hunger unmanageably, in a way similar to Hašek’s
character of Baloun. He is cruelly punished by others and, dying,
has to observe their gluttonous orgies. The short story
(Hands) elaborates on the theme of hands frozen in a laager,
which is, probably additionally, developed into a story – a
contemplation about the good and evil, as if anticipating the
novel Škola zločinu (The
Crime School). Zpověd
člověka (A Confession of a Man) (later shortened under the
title of Jednoročák (A One-Year-Old))
shows the deceptiveness of class hatred. Only too late does the
tormentor realize that his co-prisoner from a higher caste is,
above all, his co-sufferer. The call for humanity resounding here
still remains valid.
next three stories in The
Hut of Death arise from Weiss’s laager experience with
typhoid. The prose Horečka (Fever) (a new title for Sen (A Dream), originally printed in a magazine, discussed above) is based
on a simple plotline (which is identical with the real plot of the
novel Dům o 1000 patrech (The
House of 1000 Floors) – we see a hero infected by typhoid,
who falls into delirium and finally is at the infirmary saved for
future life. The rather extensive Barák smrti
of Death) has more characters – the inhabitants of the
typhoid hut. Their story culminates in their meeting the general,
presented as the culprit of all horrors the POWs experience. This
man will appear as the main character in the short story Generál (The General), which probably originated as an extension of
the POWs’ fantasies, attempting to explain the cause of the camp
evil by the possible vision of its originator. Weiss combined the
themes of both stories into a dramatic shape, whose fraction was
published in press (Volhy
pohádka (The Volga Fairy Tale), Lumír, 1932, 1933) but,
unfortunately, otherwise it remained in manuscript (Usnul
komediant… (A Comedian Fell Asleep…)) although it does
deserve more attention. Nevertheless, for staging it today,
necessary current connections may be missing. But still – who
the short stories mentioned above, the dream confronts the reality
and we observe its overgrowth into fantastic visions. The short
story Poselství z hvězd (A Message from the Stars) (In:
Hut of Death, 1927, later called
(The Apostle)) follows this path further. Its hero doubts
already all reality and
claims that the only thing that really exists is the images from
typhoid dreams. In this way, a man escapes from the world
impossible to live in into the world of feverish hallucinations as
his only hope4).
Their fantastic world practically becomes independent in the novel
Dům o 1000 patrech (The House of 1000 Floors) (1929, also known as Dům o tisíci patrech (The House of One Thousand Floors)).
novel confirms Weiss’s realization of how great a gift the
typhoid dreams were to him and, furthermore, that he managed to
fully use it. Thanks to this inspiration, he was able to build up
a whole fantastic world and to lead his readers throughout this
place from one surprise to another. This fact fits together with
the final discovery that offers a certain rational explanation of
all the events in the story (a composition we know from the genre
of “romaneto”) – that this fantastic world, pretending to be
so real, is in fact a mad dream of a captive suffering from
typhoid, hallucinating on a plank-bed in the laager hut. In this
manner, two realities are placed side by side, the dream and the
real one, in a significant confrontation. By its strange optics,
the dream focalizes significant aspects of the reality, being at
the same time its metaphor and allegory, and it does not matter if
it concerns capitalism or totalitarian regime with its omnipotent
police, it is the world we live in, developed into absurdity in
its alternatives (which, often advised like this, have been
actually accomplished, such as the Nazi gas chambers or
contemporary sexual hedonism). Only this crazy world could have
given birth to such an appalling reality as the reality of the
typhoid hut with hallucinating captives. The other way round, this
reality gave birth to the whole hallucinatory Mullerton, the house
of one thousand floors, where the hallucinating person wanders as
an invisible detective, trying to find the originator of all evil
and to eliminate him.
the core of the novel is formed by the depiction of a typhoid
dream, which Weiss convincingly and perfectly managed. He
complicated his task by making the dream first perceived by the
reader as a fantastic world, utopia. To make the dream more
realistic, he uses all possible devices of the realistic method,
including the typographic layout designed to enliven it, such as
charts. If we take our speculation further, we realize that at the
same time the novel represents a deep psychoanalysis of a
consciousness struck by war.
is how Weiss introduces the reality, the social reality
surrounding a soldier during World War I, in its essential
monstrosity. In his eyes, it declines to become a burdensome
nightmare where he rambles, searching for the culprit and for
awakening. The old world warps under the romantic rebellion and
the hero, when confronting the evil, is left no other option than
help this uprising. With this message he wakes up to face the
lot could still be said – about the fairy-tale motive of battle
between the good and evil, about Weiss’s play with images and
words and so on. However, it is enough to state that Weiss created
here a complex, deep and, at the same time, readable novel, which
still has something to say in our time – and not only to sci-fi
and fantasy literature readers.
thanks to being so topical, a film adaptation of The
House of 1000 Floors for the American public was considered
some time ago, and it seems that now it actually will take place.
Jan Kolář dramatized the novel for the Czech radio broadcasting
and the work was recorded as Sen
o tisíci patrech (The Dream of One Thousand Floors) in 1986.
As far as scenic dramatization is concerned, Stanislav Nemrava was
inspired by the novel and his Dům o tisíci patrech (The House of One Thousand Floors) opened on
March 13, 2000, at the Theater Spring in Třešť.
milestone on Weiss’s path was the formation of the Czechoslovak
legions. In his collection The
Hut of Death Weiss devoted two prose pieces to this topic.
(Austriak) realistically depicts the idea struggle of the hero,
developing from his cowardly and selfish attitude to determined
Czechoslovak patriotism, which leads him to joining the
Czechoslovak army. Another “campaign piece” is the prose
pes a šampion světa (The Miraculous Dog and the World Champion),
which in its anecdote style illustrates the reputation of
Czechoslovaks in Russia as wonderful warriors. The world-view
struggle and the development of a legionary expanded into a
dramatic shape in Penza (In:
Legionářské besedy, 1926). This story does not deal so much
with the choice between safety and anti-Austro-Hungarian
resistance, but rather with the legions’ meeting revolution in
Penza and their search for a relevant attitude towards it. The
play dramatizes ideological conflicts, the characters are
portrayed above all as bearers of ideas, as types of thought. In
the end, Weiss agrees with the legionaries’ defending themselves
against the “Red” ones. This drama is for us mainly a document,
showing people’s state of mind in a certain time and situation.
More generally, we can understand it also as the evidence of how
difficult and painful it is for a man to get oriented in
tumultuous times. Those boys were alive like us, they felt,
suffered, floundered in doubts, had to make choices, decisions,
and they did so. They chose their fates, they fought and died.
interest in dreams led Weiss to recording dreams, from which he
gradually worked up to building a dramatic line, a story.
Dreams) (In: Zrcadlo, které
se opožďuje, 1927
that Falls Behind, 1927)) gets the closest to the surrealistic
method. Further dreams appeared in book-form in the collection
nábytku (The Furniture Carrier) (1941) (elsewhere they often
have different names). Tajemství
bílého zámku (The Secret of the White Chateau) by gradual
narrating of a dream in sequels reaches a certain point.
bez tváře (A Man without a Face) actually develops a story,
whose sense becomes clear after the incorporation of the dream
into the novel Mlčeti zlato
(To Be Silent is Gold). Sen
o kormodorovi (A Dream about a Kormodor) suggests Weiss’s
aiming at the creation of a peculiar fantastic world, as well as
Sen o červeném skřítkovi (A Dream about a Red Goblin) does. The
complement of this line in Weiss’s work is Tři
sny Kristiny Bojarové (Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová)
(1931). Dream images constitute the content of this work, while
the form used to convey the content is that of a screenplay.
Although the function of this form was purely literary – it
enabled a certain way of perceiving images – there were attempts
at staging this piece. In 1976, the student theater Pirám from
the University Club of SSM (The Fellowship of Socialist Youth) in
Brno performed Sny Kristiny
Bojarové (Kristina Bojarová’s Dreams), composed from the
second and the ending of the third dreams by Margita Havlíčková.
can consider the motto: “A feverish woman, that’s a
crematorium with mirrored halls …” as the key to understanding
the meaning of the dreams. The theme is a woman, a woman seen by
the feverish eyes of the dream. A woman in her birth, in the
depths of her snake talents, in the depths of bipolarity,
contradictions, amphibiousness of womanhood – a devil and an
angel, cruelty as well as martyrdom (a paraphrase of K. Sezima’s
words)5). If we turn the aspect of our exposition, we can
claim that the dream images take hold of the subconscious
perceptions and states of a little girl in her puberty (again
We can assume that Three
Dreams of Kristina Bojarova are not only the womanhood
observed through a dream but are also at the same time, thanks to
the constant presence of the main character that experiences all
the episodes, the depiction of the world as it can be seen by the
imagination of a adolescent girl’s turbulent, oversensitive
consciousness. At this point, Three
Dreams of Kristina Bojarová very closely meet the book Valérie
a týden divů (Valérie
and the Week of Miracles) by Vítězslav Nezval. Woman’s
psychology is here brilliantly dealt with by a method crystallized
on dreamy inspiration.
Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová
did not escape the attention of filmmakers. In 1984 it inspired a
half-hour movie Momentální
indispozice Kristiny Bojarové při nedělním obědě v kruhu
rodiny (A Momentary Indisposition of Kristina Bojarová in her
family circle at lunch on Sunday).
find an independent fantastic world, inspired by the idea of a
puppet theater, already in the short story Král
Zimoslav a moucha (In: Nosič
nábytku, 1941) (King
Zimoslav and a Fly, In: The
Furniture Carrier, 1941).
In a crystal clear shape, this method appears already in the first
of the three prose pieces that in this way track human passions,
in the short story Zrcadlo,
které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind) (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls
Although it is the most simple in plot and the shortest in length
of these stories, it is by far not the tamest by its topic, but
still chaste and urging chastity. The story shows that what can
happen in darkness as the demonstration of our deepest essence (in
the concrete, coitus) cannot bear light and strangers’ eyes.
Weiss realizes how the mood of our time makes us more susceptible
to the crowd thinking and that it is necessary to fight for the
intimacy of sexuality. At present, its defense is required, and
Weiss, sensitive to every vibration of the time that forebodes
what is coming, foresightedly captured this fact.
Odvážný zbabělec (In:
1930) (A Courageous Coward,
In: A Crazy Regiment,
1930) does not go so deep. It studies the processes through
which the distorted hierarchy of values – the hypocritical and
calculated accumulation of property – and the curtailment of a
man by an illness – tuberculosis – creates the paths where
passion can be twisted into awful shapes.
peak of this line is the short story Radio
– růže – ruka (In: Zrcadlo,
které se opožďuje, 1927) (Radio
– roses – hands, In: A
Mirror that Falls Behind, 1927), more complex in its
composition: Weiss builds two different fantastic worlds there,
confronting them. This is possible thanks to the description of
“reality”, in which film shooting takes place and where the
plot of the film is retold. The heroine serves to illustrate in
two dimensions (reality and film) the development of womanhood
from the primary clear knowledge through the girly pride to the
final self-understanding of a woman’s real value. However, the
complicated composition does not observe only the mystery of
womanhood. At the points of intersection between reality and film,
a warning like a flash will erupt in front of the reader’s face:
the modern civilization, with its consumer audiences and inanimate
longing for sensations leads the man to monstrosity, which needs
to be forestalled. To make the shooting of a film possible, first
a healthy human hand must be crushed. At first, this is taken as a
matter of course, but only when the heroine realizes the humanity
of the man she chose for this role (as she falls in love with him),
she enters the shooting and interferes as her human sensitivity
leads her in this clash with the non-human commando of
civilization. What a current message! And how suggestively
expressed! This foreseeing appeal against the audience consumerism,
capable of requiring for its satisfaction any perversity, is
indeed very up-to-date.
The Weiss Reality
forms a transition between the fantastic worlds and reality is the
reality made special by a certain feature. Weiss achieves the
expression of reality through dreams, as a rather extensive
strýce Žulijána (1947) (In: Bláznivý
regiment, 1930) (Uncle
Žuliján’s Meteor, 1947,
In: A Crazy Regiment,
1930) confirms. The
external form of The House
of 1000 Floors prevails here too (chapter synopses) but what
was left from the two parallel realities is only the dream,
transformed into a distinctive reality, where the hero undergoes
strange troubles with his uncle (a giant egg fell down from the
sky and who drinks its juice will diminish). In Weiss’s
imagination, this idea was abundantly developed and resulted in a
demanding is in particular Poslední
noc vraha Hamáčka (In: Narodní osvobození, 1924) (The
Last Night of Murderer Hamáček) and two rather short prose
pieces from The Mirror that
Falls Behind (1927) – Dobrodružství
(An Adventure), anticipating the hero who speaks in the novel Mlčeti zlato (To Be Silent is Gold), and Pan Kvasnička a jeho sen (Mr. Kvasnička and his Dream). The latter
is close to Uncle Žuliján’s
Meteor by its examination of the small town inhabitants’
meeting something unreal. The short story
zelené trávy (In: Bláznivý
regiment, 1930) (The
Green Grass, In: A Crazy
Regiment, 1930) was written about a requested topic, a
fact discernible from the story. What should be mentioned, however,
is that the story employs the prose writing approach used by Weiss
later on – the secret rationally explained at the end. Quite
undemanding is also a much later trifle
a Surgery) (In: Bianka
Braselli, dáma se dvěma hlavami, 1961 (Bianka
Braselli, a Two-Headed Lady, 1961)).
the contrary, what deserves more attention is the quite extensive Fantom smíchu (The Phantom of Laughter) (1927) – Weiss’s debut.
Its basic theme is that the protagonist becomes aware of his
surname because it causes him trouble when wooring a woman;
therefore he strives to achieve a new one.
plot scheme enables Weiss to “string” a number of ideas on it,
which he probably could not manage until then. Still, in Weiss’s
treatment two aspects of the topic are treated more deeply. On one
hand, as much as he can, Weiss uses this topic to satisfy his
psychological interest, his work becoming a comprehensive study,
covering many aspects and viewpoints of the genesis of a last name.
On the other, his psychological interest concentrates on the
depiction of details and character of small-town inhabitants and
figures, on capturing the small-town life in general. This aspect
of the topic – that is an inspiring experience and practically
realistic method – tie The
Phantom of Laughter with the regional novel Přišel z hor (He Came from the Mountains). Here, Weiss returns
home, to the Jilemnice of his childhood, to a benevolent world of
smiles and ease, where it is possible to successfully strive for a
remedy to small problems and where big problems do not exist.
hero of the short story Bianka Braselli, dáma se dvěma
hlavami (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje, 1927) (Bianka
Braselli, the Two-Headed Lady (In: The
Mirror that Falls Behind, 1927)), Počuchov, an
inhabitant of an idyllic Russian small town, is said to have
voluntarily chosen to spend three days among the captives in a hut
of a typhoid laager. This fact leads us to the assumption that
Weiss made up everything else to explain this act of the strange,
“perverse” man. This short story is, first of all, a
psychological study of a man fallen for his interest in everything
unusual, specifically then to his desire for a two-headed woman.
Another psychological exploration is devoted to an interesting
problem of Bianka Braselli, the lady with two heads. It seems then,
that her character operates also as a certain symbol of the
disunity of hero’s soul. The third subject of psychological
examination here is the origin of dreams from artificial impulses.
The dramatic composition enables building up a prose text with a
secret. It was probably the bizarre and the unusual in Weiss’s
idea that led filmmakers to this text, transforming it into a
television film Bianka
Braselli in 1987.
after exhausting the source of typhoid dreams in The
House of 1000 Floors, looks for a new inspiration and finds it
around himself. He intends to write a novel with a strange hero
and finds out later on that his overloaded topic fell apart into
two parts, two heroes emerging – Josef Severin for Škola
zločinu (The Crime School) and Václav Rebenda for Spáč
ve zvěrokruhu (The Sleeper in the Zodiac).
Škola zločinu (The Crime School) (1931)
concerned a problem that was to a certain extent abstract, it was
dealt with in relation to a single – but of course special human
fate. Thanks to being unusually skillful, the hero is placed in a
position of ethical search. He gradually comes to realize that he
cannot do everything that he is capable of doing, that bad acts
are really bad. At the same time, Weiss observes here how human
consciousness looks for the justification of moral standards when
they are shaken. During the World War II occupation, this story of
a man brought up to perpetrate evil becomes impressively topical
thanks to the situation in the society (for its 1943 publication
the novel was adapted – in particular the redundant motives were
omitted – and renamed Zázračné
ruce (Miraculous Hands)). Its two parts, these are the two
stages of Severin’s development. In the first part, the hero
plays with the evil, does not find in himself arguments strong
enough against it, and goes as far as murder. When he learns about
the evil in himself in this way, he starts to fight it consciously,
finally disclosing its sources in the reality around himself.
this novel, Weiss does not examine the environment that forms the
hero, which is in fact only a model, whose purpose is to make
possible the dissection of the actual fact of moral decline and
search. That is the function of the whole detective-story motive
and individual characters. And two fathers in the background, a
good and bad one, each in their own way regulating Severin’s
quest, no matter how much they are part of the rational
explanation of mysteries, they are at the same time the
embodiments of the Good and Evil, which we all meet in our lives.
Klíma was so inspired by this novel that he wrote a screenplay
based on it. As a result, in 1986 a television production
zla (A Touch of Evil) was made.
spite of his creative intentions, Weiss’s work was spontaneously
crashed by the time of its origin. The bickering of political
parties during the First Republic (1918–1938) disturbed Weiss so
much that he felt compelled, here and now, to speak. Thus, under
the pressure of “social commission”, the novel Mlčeti
zlato (To Be Silent is Gold) (1933) originated. Its timing made it
perceived as a contribution to the discussion, it was both
attacked and then again on the contrary appreciated (Jirásek’s
award of the capital of Prague). How come it made such a deep
impression? Weiss dared to criticize the general practice of the
political parties of the time, he attacked in particular
demagogical oratory, which served aims completely different from
those declared in a big-mouth way. What became a satirically
sharpened picture of these practices was the life pilgrimage of a
camp speaker František Fabián, who used his ability to speak
convincingly in his service to one of the parties. The hero
himself, undergoing this experience, will eventually become sick
of oratory so much that he cannot see any other solution than to
become as silent as loud he was when he started to speak at the
very beginning, allured by a garrulous pub society. Weiss
intensifies this message by a dream line, parallel to the plot,
where he uses the text of Muž
bez tváře (A Man without a Face) to make it clear that the
person changing his faces does not have a face. There evidently
exist similarities between the reality that inspired Weiss and the
current situation; thanks to this the novel is still topical today.
from the political events, Weiss was during the First Republic
disturbed by the socio-cultural ones. He was worried by the
success of pulp fiction among the youth as well as by the fact
that this fiction was produced by real artists, capable of writing
real literature, simply for business. He did not like the poets
entering with their simple rhymes the service of advertising, he
was startled that any football player earned by his football boots
much more than anybody by honest work. He made an attempt to
express this disenchantment in a dramatic form, named
a boxer (A Poet and a Boxer). Unfortunately, the whole, except
for an excerpt Básník na
holičkách (In: Lumír, 1935, 1936) (A
Poet in Trouble), remained in manuscript, neither was it
staged. The ironic drama mirrors its time – but the situation
then resembles nowadays so much that it is almost unbelievable.
for a Way out
food for thought for Weiss was the economic situation of the First
Republic, especially the time of the depression, the contemplation
leading him to a critical assessment of the society that views
everything in terms of money. Briefly, these are the impulses that
gave birth to the novel Spáč ve zvěrokruhu (1937) (A
Sleeper in the Zodiac (1937)), where we meet a special
hero too. The protagonist Václav Rebenda succumbs to the rhythm
of Nature so much that he falls into winter sleep every year and
wakes up in spring, returning to his childhood. As such, he is
unacceptable for the society, which in its reactions to him
discloses its real essence. The unnatural character of the society
presents itself in contrast with the unique natural character of
the hero. The strange character traits of the hero are those
destroyed by the society. The society, the civilization, denies
the natural, denies everything unique, childhood, purity and
openness in emotional relationships. The hero is considered to be
an idiot because he cannot count and, together with his little
friend, also handicapped, he defends these values and practically
all the human values destroyed by the society, the calculating and
comes with his childhood and his naturalism, allowing people to
look into this mirror, leading them thus to those values that are
reality portrayed here is not placed independently of the
particular, historical reality. It is specifically placed in time
(economic depression) and space (Czechoslovakia). It is thus this
society that is being demonstrated, in this society Rebenda looks
for his place in vain. Rebenda’s search eventually changes into
searching for a different society, a society that would allow him
to be natural, himself, his own person.
like Weiss, finds hope for himself in the East (how could he,
despite all doubts, admit that this hope is false!). It is the
Soviet Union. It is placed opposite the greatest hatred of this
world, proclaimed and lived by Oždiján. Oždiján is betrayed by
the reality, while Rebenda’s childhood and his naturalism reach
new reverberation in the new world. The new world is a world where
there is a place even for, and specifically for a strange, natural
man, pure like a child.
disagreement about Russia and the expression of hope in the new
world form the deepest thematic layout of this work. The vision of
the new society is romantic but it is not the purpose of the novel
to depict hope but to lead us to it. This thematic layout
simultaneously captures the ideal atmosphere of the time, its
opinions and searches.
novel inspired at some point the director Leopold Lahola to make
the film Sladký čas
Kalimagdory (The Sweet Time of Kalimagdora). However, after
seeing it, Jan Weiss remarked that it is nice but it is not the Sleeper.
the collection Nosič nábytku
(The Furniture Carrier) (1941), we can find several more prose
pieces of varying provenances. Two short stories are
characteristic with their deep humanism and austere realistic
depiction. Psí povídka (The
Dog Short Story) portrays a man angry at an angrily barking
dog and their confrontation. When the raging beast is “tamed”,
the hero begins to understand that his “rival” suffered in the
same way as he himself did. The story of Nosič nábytku (Furniture
Carrier) then becomes a spontaneous celebratory hymn on the
everyday hard work of a completely unknown person – a certain
furniture carrier Šebestián Strach.
interest marked two other prose pieces. The first of them, Z deníku nervosního (From the Diary of a Nervous One), written in
the style of Edgar Allan Poe, observes step by step an aberrant
consciousness, which eventually comes to a murder. The second, Tma (Darkness), shows in a mystery, which is explained at the end of
the story, how different the world becomes for us at night, and a
little is enough to make us lose our way around it.
První láska (First love)
puts into words Weiss’s memory from childhood, which allows him
to examine the way in which a child’s psyche perceives the real
world, how it deforms and colors it, through what loopholes is its
world penetrated by the mysterious, the fantastic and the
fabulousness, its inherent parts. This story traces an intimate
drama in a child’s soul, portrayed through a child’s
Rudá rukavička (A Red Glove)
derives from a bizarre meeting of a writer of novels in sequels
with his readers. In Povídky
o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred) (1944),
there is another prose piece of a similar type – Obrázek
(A Picture). It observes how its characters are suggestively
pushed towards a devious explanation of the reality.
a significant event as the division of the former Czechoslovak
Republic and the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by Germans
could not have left Weiss calm. Even in the constrained conditions
he reacts to it by miscellaneous literary activities.
The Childhood Landscape
most artistically significant act was the publication of novel Přišel z hor (He Came from the Mountains) (1941). In this book,
Weiss brings the readers of the Protectorate time to the Jilemnice
of his own childhood, that is to the time when the Krkonoše
mountains were still Czech, reminding the readers by allegorical
remarks that the “good ghosts appear always when it is most
needed”. That was the main significance of the whole work.
creating this picture of a small town at the foot of the Krkonoše
mountains, Weiss touched the very bottom of his inspiration and
realized what formed the picture – the happy dawn of life in
Jilemnice. Javorek, as Weiss recalled Jilemnice in his novel,
remains on the scene all the time, all the events grow out of it
and return back to it to represent its face, surroundings,
inhabitants, a specific historical moment of its existence,
together with its ideological and mythological atmosphere.
number of more and less prominent characters allows Weiss to
capture all the levels of the small town: its social status and
social life, customs, opinions, traditions. All of them are seen
with the benevolent insight that we already know from The
Phantom of Laughter. A socially critical thorn appears only is
subtle suggestions so that it does not disturb the optimistic tone
of a small-town idyll in 1905. Only in the background do we feel
the distant Asian war danger, which Weiss, who experienced the
First World War and now finds himself in the middle of World War
II, cannot leave without – although only muffled – echo.
Pošepný comes among these people and we observe how they react
to his arrival. However, Mr. Pošepný, returning to the region of
his childhood, finds it different. People do not believe in fairy
tales here any longer; they became, thanks to the new times,
selfish and calculating. Therefore, he decides to play the role of
is the ground that makes it possible for Weiss to capture in a
versatile way the likeness of the Krkonoše myths and the novel He Came from the Mountains became (while its reader does not mind
this at all) a readable collection of evidence, proving the
anthropological peculiarity of the area of Podkrkonoší.8) To achieve this, Weiss once again builds a
prose work with a secret explained at the end. Simultaneously, is
able to stylize his text so that apart from a rational explanation
there is possible another – a fairy-tale one. At the same time,
he weaves the three main plot lines in such a manner that the
result is the ethical assessment of the behavior of all character:
like in a fairy tale, the bad ones are punished and the good ones
rewarded. On the contrary, by the punishment and reward, the good
and evil ones are discriminated. And Mr. Pošepný? The ideal hero,
a representative of childhood, fairy tale and goodness, leaves. He
leaves, so that he can stay. He acted as Krakonoš and thus he
also was Krakonoš. The myth of Krakonoš is again installed. We can
consider the novel He Came
from the Mountains as the depiction of Krakonoš’s new
stunts, as a fairy tale about Krakonoš, which brought into the
dark times the message that the good will eventually win.
the journey into the childhood, a reference to the former freedom,
the prose texts evoking the symbols our national pride has always
been set upon (especially the capital of Czechoslovak republic)
were significant. That is why Weiss chose as the setting of his
two prose pieces published during the occupation (among others in
those collections that supported the national idea) specifically
Prague. Both stories Setkání
pod Vyšehradem (In: Praha
očima básníků a umělců, 1940) (A
Meeting under Vyšehrad, In: Prague
through the Eyes of Poets and Artists, 1940), elsewhere as
zvonky (Purple Bells) and Modré
zvonky (Blue Bells), and Uschlá
ruka (In: Kamenný
orchestr, 1944) (Dried
Hand, In: Stone Orchestra, 1944), elsewhere as Milý František (Dear František), are characterized by the
coloring of Prague nooks. Both pieces are identical also in their
exploitation of the literary form “romaneto”, typical of the
Czech writer Jakub Arbes, who Weiss paid a tribute to in this way.
Good and Evil
attempt at invigorating the nation found its expression also when
forming its ethical consciousness. The main point was to
demonstrate that every rule of evil is only short-time, its reign
can be only temporary and whoever succumbs to it will come to a
bad end. The only things that make sense are goodness and love for
people. This task was undergone mostly by Povídky o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred) (1944).
The sources of good powers that are born in a man to overcome the
evil powers are found by the hero of the short story
s těmi copánky (The Girl with
those Braids)(In: Dvanáct
poutí světem, 1941 (Twelve
Journeys around the World, 1941) as
Incarnate Sin), who at first obstinately punishes his step-child
for the adultery of his own wife. The environment of circus in
this story is an allusion to the work of Eduard Bass. The heroine
of the prose piece Milovati
budeš… (You will Love…) (later on as Tetička
(Auntie)) raises from the bottom of poverty to overcome her
fate with her love – a poor beggar became in the eyes of a
little girl her loving auntie and her love finally managed to
bridge the gap between the girl and her step-mother. On the
contrary, Černá povídka
(The Black Short Story)
shows how evil – selfishness, cruelty and hatred – can
impenetrably, hopelessly surround its bearer as well as those
dependent on him. The piece Miluj
svého bližního… (Love your Neighbor…), like the short
story You will Love…,
finds sources of humanity where we would never look for them –
in poor and miserable people, who are specifically because of
their poverty capable of perceiving its value. The benevolent
point of view of this story resembles the figures from the
“pocket stories” of Karel Čapek.
stories discussed above relate to Sedmý
příběh (In: Milostný
kruh, 1946) (The Seventh
Story, In: Love Circle,
1946), a realistic psychological study of a woman
calculatingly selling her womanhood. This time, astonished Weiss
only states certain evil powers in a human (woman) and finds out
that against such evil we are practically helpless.
reality of the occupation was so oppressive that it made its way
to Weiss’s writing; this text naturally could not have been
published during the occupation and was published only after the
war, named Volání o pomoc
(A Call for Help)
(1946). Weiss moved here from the contemplations of the good and
evil to the realistic depiction of a typical, historically
specific bad man who was able to spread in the Czech environment
during the occupation. Thus, the character of editor Chrtek became
the crucial theme of the first of an intended couple of novels.
Together with him, we meet other Protectorate types, likely to be
found one next to another on the narrow scene of a house in Prague.
On the other hand, the second central character, Zdeněk Klár,
suffering from a strange disease (fear of people), undergoes here
a development – thanks to being closed in an isolated tiny part
of the world where did not even the occupation penetrate – from
“clean consciousness”, through the opportunity to be (particularly
for this consciousness) manipulated by the Nazi ideology, to final
complete openness to the world and to understanding the real state
of things, leading him to a decisive and sensible act. He leaves
the country to join resistance abroad. Zdeněk’s development is
made possible by other characters, at first Chrtek, then Božka
and the Man (Muž), or Little Man (Mužík), who Weiss lets to go
with Zdeněk, in compliance with his world view, to the Soviet
Union. His experiences there were supposed to form the plotline of
the planned novel twin, which, however – probably thanks to
Weiss’s insufficient “Soviet” experience – was not written.
this last novel, Weiss came the closest to realism so far, but he
did not manage to give up some of his typical displays, fantastic
motives, which are somewhat redundant there and tend to simplify
the burden of the reality of occupation, as if this reality itself
was not burdensome enough.
relief similar to that of the realistic portrayal was brought by
satiric texts. Two of them were published in the collection
Braselli, A Two-Headed Lady (1961). Among the studies of an
interesting socially-psychological feature, “occupation folklore”,
that is a rumor about Pérák (Spring Man), is Pérový
muž (Spring Man) – everything is possible in a crazy world
and when the human imagination starts to work… The author then
meets the Spring Man in an insane asylum. Where did the
inspiration for stories about Pérák come from? In Hitler’s
propaganda. Ústa za mřížemi
(A Mouth behind the Bars) establishes an original fantastic
world, which develops the opportunities of the real world, the
world of forced silence during the occupation, to the absurd,
bringing the hope that this world contains the germs of something
that will destroy it.
on, the prose piece Slavný
pes (In: Příběhy staré
i nové, 1954) (A Famous
Dog, In: Old and New Stories, 1954) originated, turning against the
militarist-fascist twisting of values. The overgrowth of the
absurd and the awful of the fascist despotism in the whirl of
painfully malicious ideas results in a disgraceful death of a man
who devoted his whole soul to these distorted values. Filmmakers
became interested in this story and Tibor Vichta created the
screenplay based on it for the Czechoslovak Television in
Bratislava in 1970. The black and white film was broadcast by the
Czech Television as Slavný
pes (A Famous Dog) in 1990, by the Slovak TV as
pes (A Famous Dog) in 1992.
treated the topic of the occupation in a dramatic form as well.
Unfortunately, his play Purpurové
schodiště (A Purple
Staircase) remained only in manuscript. It was going to be
staged by a theater in Prague but, thanks to non-transparent
intrigues backstage, the staging was not accomplished.
first thing we realize in this drama are the hallucinatory visions
of its heroine, recalling Three
Dreams of Kristina Bojarová, feeling thus that in this way
Weiss “anchored them in reality” (in the same way, the dream A
Man without a Face was eventually explained in the text of the
novel To Be Silent is Gold).
Míla Morháčová yields to hallucinations too, having gone mad
after the investigation during which the Gestapo searched for her
husband. In reality, she is surrounded by two brothers, Viktor,
collaborating with the fascist regime, and Jindřich, who did not
betray his country. The cuts into reality describe the thick
atmosphere of the Protectorate, the worries, fears as well as
hopes. Míla’s visions complete the atmosphere from the other
side with the frights that are only guessed at. I think it is a
pity that this play remained hidden to the public since it brings
an impressive testimony about the time that gave birth to it.
the February of 1948, we suddenly found ourselves somewhere else.
So did Jan Weiss. If you carefully read A
Sleeper in the Zodiac and A
Call for Help, it will not surprise you that Jan Weiss
welcomed this change – for him it was apparently a dream come
true. For some of us, a problem arose from the fact that something
should be said – it does not oppress the person that wants to
say it. In my opinion, Weiss never pretended anything, although he
was a conformist. The ideology was nice, attractive, what it said
was Weiss’s childhood dream and that was why he managed to
identify with it (perhaps with his eyes closed). Obviously, he did
not need much to believe because he wanted to believe. When in the
collection Příběhy staré i nové (Old and New
Stories), 1954, in the short story
Milostpaní (Madam) it is enough for
the heroine to change her attitude towards the “bright future”
from negative to supportive when she simply experiences the May
Day parade, what then was enough for Weiss to believe? In the
short story Opustíš-li mne
(If You Leave Me), according to the title, the hero in his
ideological fumbling, brought about by his character instability,
reaches the “black” alternative of his choice, and thus his
undoing. Among the “socialist-realist” short stories, the
least far-fetched is Lojzka
(Lojzka) (1956) (In: Příběhy staré i nové (Old
and New Stories), 1954, as O
Fidelity)), marked by humanism and realism in its study of the
main character. What comes to the center of Weiss’s attention is
the analysis of the development of the consciousness of a common,
everyday character (a village servant) in completely common,
everyday surroundings (a village at the time of land expropriation).
Simultaneously, Weiss realizes that even the people that were
theoretically considered supportive of the development after
February 1948 find their trust in the new regime only with
difficulties. Nevertheless, Lojzka is led to “overcome the
barrier of old thinking” by both positive and negative
characters around her.
looked in his nature for a way of expression more acceptable than
realism, perhaps also because he realized that the actual reality
cannot enter the literary work of the time. Be it as it may,
gradually three books of short stories were born, which the
critics denote as “science fiction”. They were, however, far
from what that term meant at the time of their origin: although at
least the choice of their vocabulary referred to science, the
nature of the worlds created in them had nothing in common with
science. On the contrary, the fiction or imagination was bound by
ideology. Therefore, it is not clear whether anybody nowadays will
still read these works by Weiss. The prose works were likely to be
attacked already at that time even theoretically, but the only
person who had enough courage to do so was the enfant terrible
among Czech critics, Oleg Sus. None the less, his appearance had
for the aging Weiss a personally sad result: he stopped writing.
was the weak point of these texts by Weiss? Perhaps the
fundamental change of his creative method: the way of composing Země
vnuků (The Country of Grandsons) makes it evident that at
first Weiss always had plot outlines of the stories, which he
filled in with specifying details later on. The “live tissue”
was not brought by spontaneous imagination but it was to be
supplied by invented motives, which was apparently the pitfall
that made these stories unconvincing.
is there contribution? Most probably their themes. Weiss looks for
options of expressing through the style of science fiction new
realities, which the man will possibly encounter in the future (but,
naturally, in a future seen through the intentions of a ruling
ideology). However, it is not futurology. Weiss looked for a way
of expressing hope and belief in rather what is here than what is
coming, discovering the form of “prose about future”.
collections (together with unpublished prose piece Dvě města (Two Towns)), the result of Weiss’s honest attempt to
find, differ from each other by coloring the short story worlds.
While the collection The
Country of Grandsons tries to be realistically serious, the
collection Družice a hvězdoplavci (Satellites and Star-Sailors) develops the
realistic descriptive style towards ironic or satiric hyperbole,
but the collection Hádání
o budoucím (Guessing about the Future) fully uses the options
of being poetic, only suggested in The
Country of Grandsons.
short stories in Země vnuků (The Country
of Grandsons) (1957) are compositionally unified by author’s
stylized diary the stories’ topics derive from. At the same time,
the diary “explains” what in fact they are about. Four of them
are rather extensive. Kapka jedu (A Drop of Poison) tries to solve the racial problem by
harmonizing relationships among people. Hvězda
a žena (A Star and a Woman) leads its hero to a discovery
that the social purpose has a priority over the individual one. Prasklá váza (A Cracked Vase) is interesting in its image of the
hero being secretly led by an employer of the “Character Cure
Institute” to understand that it is necessary to work. The short
story Od kolébky k symfonii (From the Cradle to the Symphony) tries to
invent a harmonic solution to the problem of integrating
handicapped people in the society. The basis of these works is an
ideal experience, an image that does not take into account any
disturbing features, a poetic and poeticizing vision of the
reality. The introductory Mistr
vysokého věku (The Master of Old Age) then poetically
harmonizes the problem of old age, while the concluding
o vzducholodi (A Dream about an Airship) expresses the
conviction that the present is the hope for the future.
short stories of the collection
Družice a hvězdoplavci (Satellites
and Star-Sailors) (1960) are unified only by the satiric-ironic
mood. The only exception is Já,
Lajka II (I, Lajka II), poeticizing the fact of a first animal
in space. Hvězda na africkém nebi (A Star in African Sky) is poetic-satiric,
Bílé myšky (Little White
Mice) is an acute satire. Královna
vesmíru (The Space Queen) refers to the recordings of dreams,
while the radio play Poselství
z hvězd (A Message from the Stars) captures human character
types by confronting the down-to-earth terrestrials with unearthly
worlds. We can find here three rather extensive epic short stories,
following the line begun in The
Country of Grandsons. On the background of the future of
rocket flights, Taťana do
družice (Taťana into the Satelite) ironically deals with the
problem of emancipation. The short story Ten,
který…(He, Who…) (originally called Raketa
sebevrahů (The Rocket of Suicides)) tracks the process
through which selfishness (in contrast with social interest)
enslaves thought and logic to substantiate itself. Muž z Marsu (A Man from Mars) finds himself between two women and
solves the collision (which is common nowadays) by escaping.
collection Hádání o budoucím
(Guessing about the Future) (1963) follows some of the
practices tried out in the previous collection – the whole book
is based on making the topic poetic. The theme of the future falls
here in a series of “poetic ideas”, expressed through a
corresponding short form of stories, denoted as “prose poems”.
What ideas do they contain? The short story Ať
z vás nezůstane ani vzpomínka (Let There be No Memory Left of
You) ruthlessly destroys the remnants of the old world. In the
same way, religion will disappear as an anachronism, as the short
story Za účelem inspirace
(With the View of Inspiration), originally called
(An Interview), claims. According to the story
tedy – sklenku vína! (Well, then – a Glass of Wine!), the
old relationships among people can be only pretended. The new life
will blow away also a lover of the old lifestyle Kamarýt from the
sketch Možno říci, že se
přímo dřel (It is Possible to Say that He Practically Slaved).
However, the old child Marcelán in the short story Snad nám ho bylo trochu líto (Maybe We Were a Little Sorry for Him)
is pardoned although he clings to things – in this way he brings
some poetry and imagination into the rationally stern civilization.
A thief can be socialized by having him secretly give out presents
instead of stealing – at least this is the conclusion of a
couple of short stories Komplikace života – ale zkus to! (The Complications of Life – But
Try It!) and Škoda
tajemství (What a Pity of Every Secret!). Even a natural
man, in a prose piece with ironical insight Nikdo
vás nezval…(Nobody Invited You…), can create
irreplaceable social values. The only place found by the society
for a fanatic speaker from the story Starci neumírají včas (The Old Men Do Not Die in Time) is in a
mental hospital, although otherwise a variety of kinds of job
opportunities are available (see Kabinet
zvláštní práce (The Cabinet of Special Work). Even the
hero of the short story Samorůže
(A Self-Rose), seething with and wasting his surplus energies,
in the end aims his effort at socially acceptable activities. And
who does not want to work, eventually loses his personal story
like Leoš in the extensive Ptačí
sen (A Bird Dream). Among the stories of this type is also the
prose text O bílém koni (About
the White Horse), published elsewhere (O bílém koni (About
the White Horse), 1959). The future civilization is by the
poetic picture of a white horse confronted with a suppressed
reality of nature. The short story Tisíce
lidí čeká (Thousands of People are Waiting) touches another
civilization problem – the passivity of consumer culture. New
relationships among people are demonstrated by the poetical (lyrical)
picture of the small prose pieces Bystré
oko (A Bright Eye), Bratře (Brother!) and Už jste si vybral (You Have Already Chosen). The prose piece
a natěrač (Zuzanka and the Painter) claims that there will
be a time when people will have to pay for the opportunity to work.
Short stories Zvědavost,
když už je pozdě (Curiosity when it is Already Too Late) and
Byl to spací autobus (It was a Sleeping Bus) invent new occupations:
an entertainer of waiting people and a sandman, respectively.
Františka from the story To
není chlouba, to je dar… (It is not a Pride, it is a Gift…)
chose a strange job as well. The short story Tak
šťasten (So Happy), where a woman of an impotent man is
inseminated by “black seeds” deals with the problem of racism.
the end of the collection, Weiss placed the short story Neboť mne vedou jejich ruce… (For I am Led by their Hands…). I
think that if nothing from the prose works mentioned above did not
interest you (don’t forget: even this is Weiss, you feel him
everywhere), this story deserves attention. What forms its core is
a logical or psychological trifle: those who can see, trying to be
considerate to a blind man, pretend that they cannot see either
and he, after gradually discovering the mysterious world of those
capable of seeing, learning about it and understanding it, tries
to be sensitive to them. He, therefore, on the other hand,
pretends that he does not know about his blindness. In fact, it is
a metaphor, expressing the trust of people in other people’s
help, the belief that where you cannot see and could be hurt, you
will be led by their hands… It is not without a reason that this
story is at the end of both Guessing
about the Future, prose pieces from the future, and of
Weiss’s whole work. At the same time, it is the last stage of
Weiss’s personal experience, the peak of Weiss’s ideological
and life search, search for values and certainties in the social
situation he lived in.
us then part with his work like this, so that we can still return
to it many times.
this place, I think it is apt to mention those who have reminded
us of Weiss, who accompanied him on his creative path or at least
observed his creative effort from distance and thought about it.
First, we should not forget Karel Sezima, a literary critic, then
the praiseworthy work of Weiss’s biographer, Jaromir Horacek jr.,
and the literary theoretician, Karel Bogar.
The works consulted here are my unpublished final dissertation Hledání Jana Weisse (Looking for Jan Weiss), UJEP Brno, 1972, as
well as my work Jan Weiss a
Jilemnice (Jan Weiss and Jilemnice), Krkonoše – Podkrkonoší,
vol. 8, 1989, p. 223–240, and my archive. I also used Jan
Weiss. Osobnost a dílo (Jan Weiss. Personality and Work) by
Jaromír Horáček jr., finished in 1948 but, unfortunately,
Unfortunately, in this brief report it is not possible to cover in
detail the multiple layers and the internal connections of
Weiss’s work. I will, however, make an attempt to do this in the
When quoting a work, I always cite the place and year of the first
book publication; only if it did not happen, I do the same with a
magazine title; the year of the independent book publication is
placed right after the book title, any diversions from this scheme
are explained in the text. The version of the title is always
cited as it appears in the given edition, its possible variations
are mentioned further.
Years later, a similar state of consciousness was described by
Ladislav Fuks in his prose work Pan
Theodor Mundstock (Mr. Theodor Munstock), which captures the
situation when the Nazi extermination machinery made a real life
of Prague Jews impossible, pushing them to escape in their dream
See Sezima, Karel. Jan Weiss.
ve zvěrokruhu. Praha, 1937, p.
TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Podkrkonoší is the area at the footsteps of
the Krkonoše mountains.
of Books published by Jan Weiss
smíchu (The Phantom of Laughter).
Praha, Pokrok, 1927.
které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind).
Praha, Fr. Svoboda and R. Solar, 1927.
smrti (The Hut of Death). Praha, Vyšehrad
– Volná myšlenka, 1927.
o 1000 patrech (The House of 1000 Floors).
edition. Praha, Melantrich, 1929.
edit. Družstvo Dílo, 1948.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1958.
edit. (probably 4th) Praha, Naše vojsko, Mladá
fronta, Smena, 1964.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1972.
edit. Praha, Vyšehrad, 1975.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1990
edit. (in one volume with the collection The
Mirror that Falls Behind) Chomutov, MILENIUM PUBLISHING s. r.
edit. Praha, Euromedia Group and Knižní klub, 2000.
regiment (A Crazy Regiment). Praha,
Vladimír Orel, 1930.
zločinu (The Crime School) (in
other editions called Zázračné
ruce (Miraculous Hands)). Praha, Vydavatelstvo Družstevní práce,
sny Kristiny Bojarové (Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová).
edit. Praha, Jež, 1931.
edit. Hradec Králové, Kruh, 1971.
zlato (To Be Silent is Gold). Praha,
Sfinx Bohumil Janda, 1933.
ve zvěrokruhu (A Sleeper in the Zodiac).
edit. Praha, Evropský literární klub, 1937.
edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1958.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1962.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1971.
nábytku (A Furniture Carrier).
Brno, Průboj, Karel Smolka, 1941.
z hor (He Came from the Mountains).
edit. Praha, L. Mazáč, 1941.
edit. Praha, Nová osvěta, 1947.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1957.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1963.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1982.
ruce (Miraculous Hands) (a reworking
of The Crime School).
edit. (2nd edit. of The Crime School) Praha, Alois Hynek, 1943.
edit. (3rd edit. of The Crime School) Praha, Mladá fronta, 1967.
o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred).
Mladá Boleslav, Hejda a Zbroj, 1944.
o pomoc (Call for Help).
edit. Brno, 1946.
edit. (marked as the 1st edit.) Praha, 1947.
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1959.
strýce Žulijána (Uncle Žuliján’s Meteor).
1st independent edit. (marked as 2nd edit.)
Praha, Jaroslav Koliandr, 1947.
staré i nové (Old and New Stories).
Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1954.
(Lojzka). 1st independent
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1956.
vnuků (The Country of Grandsons).
edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1957.
edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1960.
bílém koni (About a White Horse). Praha, Lidová demokracie, 1959.
a hvězdoplavci (Satellites and Star-Sailors). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1960.
Braselli, dáma se dvěma hlavami (Bianka Braselli, A Two-Headed
Lady). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1961.
o budoucím (Guessing about the Future).
Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1963.
které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind).
edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1964.
edit. (in one volume with the novel The
House of 1000 Floors) Chomutov, MILENIUM PUBLISHING s. r. o.,
regiment (A Crazy Regiment). Praha,
Československý spisovatel, 1979.
ve zvěrokruhu (People in the Zodiac).
Praha, Melantrich, 1980.
smíchu a jiné grotesky (The Phantom of Laughter and other
Grotesques). Praha, Československý
The text placed here originated by adapting the
text “Jan Weiss dnes” (“Jan Weiss Nowadays”), written by
Vilém Kmuníček to commemorate an earlier anniversary of Jan
Weiss, for the memorial volume Z Českého ráje a Podkrkonoší,
published there in vol. 10, 1997, p. 109–128.