In Praise of Václav Havel

Issue Date July 2010
Volume 21
Issue 3
Page Numbers 135-142
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Václav Havel’s career and oeuvre can be divided into three periods: the playwright of the 1960s, influenced by the absurdist theater of Beckett and Ionesco; the dissident of the 1970s and 1980s; and then the president (1989–2003). The Velvet Revolution itself is his best play, a theatrical revolution in which the people were invited to play the roles themselves. Milan Kundera wrote at the time: “The way in which he led the struggle was fascinating not just from a political point of view, but from an aesthetic one as well. It was the last prestissimo movement of a sonata written by a very great master.”