Château Cramirat Collection

With the world getting crazier by the day, we’re reminded of this 1920s dark satire and one of the world’s first anti-war novels. It comically captures the futility of armed conflict and the folly of military discipline, while also poking fun at the establishment and ridiculing religion through the book’s hero, Josef Švejk, an endearing simpleton who gets entangled in absurd (mis)adventures.
From our Château Cramirat collection, we are excited to share three different editions of the timeless classic, The Good Soldier Švejk and His Fortunes in the World War, by Jaroslav Hašek, illustrated by Josef Lada.
Hašek’s unfinished, multivolume satirical novel was published posthumously, in 1923, and has since inspired seminal antiwar works such as All Quite on the Western Front, Catch-22, and M*A*S*H. Švejk is also the subject of numerous plays, musicals, films, and even an opera.
Lada created the book’s cartoony illustrations in 1924, accentuating the narrative’s subversive theme. He later changed how Švejk was drawn, forming the book’s famous visual shorthand that underpins its massive acceptance in popular culture.
The story is set in WWI, but it must have hit a deep nerve since its message continues to resonate a century later. It even entered the English language with the term Schweik, meaning a feebleminded yet resourceful fool who sufferers nonsensically at the hands of the authorities.
While the book’s absurdity is hilariously funny, it carries a profoundly grave message that threads a thin line between appearance and reality.
The Château Cramirat Collection, by philosopher Anna Ravitzki and designer Dan Alexander, is a treasure trove of art and design housed in a 12th-century Templar landmark in the Valley of Mankind, Périgord, France.

Hašek, Jaroslav. Lada, Josef (illustrations). New York: Penguin Classics, 2000.

Hašek, Jaroslav. Lada, Josef (illustrations). The Good Soldier Švejk. New York: Harper Collins, 2018.


Hašek, Jaroslav. Lada, Josef (illustrations). Osudy dobrého vojáka Švejka za světové války. Prague: Československý spisovatel, 1971.