Vaclav Havel (October 05, 1936 - December 18, 2011)
Born: 5th October, 1936
Died: 18th December, 2011
Nationality: Czechoslovakian
Profession/Occupation: Leader
Region: Prague, Czech Republic
Notable works: president, Czech Republic, Czechoslovakia

Vaclav Havel Facts

Biography

Vaclav Havel, (born October 5, 1936, Prague, Czechoslovakia [now in Czech Republic]--died December 18, 2011, Hradecek, Czech Republic), Czech playwright, poet, and political dissident, who, after the fall of communism, was president of Czechoslovakia (1989-92) and of the Czech Republic (1993-2003).

Havel was the son of a wealthy restaurateur whose property was confiscated by the communist government of Czechoslovakia in 1948. As the son of bourgeois parents, Havel was denied easy access to education but managed to finish high school and study on the university level. He found work as a stagehand in a Prague theatrical company in 1959 and soon began writing plays with Ivan Vyskocil. By 1968 Havel had progressed to the position of resident playwright of the Theatre of the Balustrade company. He was a prominent participant in the liberal reforms of 1968 (known as the Prague Spring), and, after the Soviet clampdown on Czechoslovakia that year, his plays were banned and his passport was confiscated. During the 1970s and '80s he was repeatedly arrested and served four years in prison (1979-83) for his activities on behalf of human rights in Czechoslovakia. After his release from prison Havel remained in his homeland.

Havel's first solo play, Zahradni slavnost (1963; The Garden Party), typified his work in its absurdist, satirical examination of bureaucratic routines and their dehumanizing effects. In his best-known play, Vyrozumeni (1965; The Memorandum), an incomprehensible artificial language is imposed on a large bureaucratic enterprise, causing the breakdown of human relationships and their replacement by unscrupulous struggles for power. In these and subsequent works Havel explored the self-deluding rationalizations and moral compromises that characterize life under a totalitarian political system. Havel continued to write plays steadily until the late 1980s; these works include Ztizena moznost soustredeni (1968; The Increased Difficulty of Concentration); Spiklenci (1971; The Conspirators); the three one-act plays Audience (1975), Vernisaz (1975; Private View), and Protest (1978); Largo Desolato (1985); and Zitra to Spustime (1988; Tomorrow).

When massive antigovernment demonstrations erupted in Prague in November 1989, Havel became the leading figure in the Civic Forum, a new coalition of noncommunist opposition groups pressing for democratic reforms. In early December the Communist Party capitulated and formed a coalition government with the Civic Forum. As a result of an agreement between the partners in this bloodless "Velvet Revolution," Havel was elected to the post of interim president of Czechoslovakia on December 29, 1989, and he was reelected to the presidency in July 1990, becoming the country's first noncommunist leader since 1948. As the Czechoslovak union faced dissolution in 1992, Havel, who opposed the division, resigned from office. The following year he was elected president of the new Czech Republic. His political role, however, was limited, as Prime Minister Vaclav Klaus (1993-97) commanded much of the power. In 1998 Havel was reelected by a narrow margin, and, under his presidency, the Czech Republic joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in 1999. Barred constitutionally from seeking a third term, he stepped down as president in 2003.

Havel's first new play in more than 20 years--Odchazeni (Leaving), a tragicomedy that draws on his experiences as president and presents a chancellor leaving his post while grappling with a political enemy--premiered in 2008. Havel subsequently directed its film adaptation (2011).

Top 33 Vaclav Havel quotes

Hope is not the conviction that something will turn out well but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Certainty
Conviction
Hope
How
Makes
Out
Regardless
Sense
Something
Turn
Turns
Well
Will
Isn't it the moment of most profound doubt that gives birth to new certainties? Perhaps hopelessness is the very soil that nourishes human hope; perhaps one could never find sense in life without first experiencing its absurdity.
Absurdity
Birth
Certainties
Could
Doubt
Experiencing
Find
First
Gives
Hope
Hopelessness
Human
Life
Moment
Work for something because it is good, not just because it stands a chance to succeed.
Because
Chance
Good
Just
Just because
Something
Stands
Succeed
Work
Hope is a state of mind, not of the world. Hope, in this deep and powerful sense, is not the same as joy that things are going well, or willingness to invest in enterprises that are obviously heading for success, but rather an ability to work for something because it is good.
Ability
Because
Deep
Enterprises
Going
Good
Heading
Hope
Invest
Joy
Mind
Obviously
Powerful
Rather
If we are to change our world view, images have to change. The artist now has a very important job to do. He's not a little peripheral figure entertaining rich people, he's really needed.
Artist
Change
Entertaining
Figure
He
Images
Important
Important job
Job
Little
Needed
Now
Our
Our world
Anyone who takes himself too seriously always runs the risk of looking ridiculous; anyone who can consistently laugh at himself does not.
Always
Anyone
Consistently
Does
Himself
Laugh
Looking
Ridiculous
Risk
Runs
Seriously
Takes
Too
Who
The tragedy of modern man is not that he knows less and less about the meaning of his own life, but that it bothers him less and less.
About
Bothers
He
Him
His
Knows
Less
Life
Man
Meaning
Meaning of
Modern
Modern man
Own
Lying can never save us from another lie.
Another
Lie
Lying
Never
Save
Us
Drama assumes an order. If only so that it might have - by disrupting that order - a way of surprising.
Assumes
Drama
Might
Only
Order
Surprising
Way
Modern man must descend the spiral of his own absurdity to the lowest point; only then can he look beyond it. It is obviously impossible to get around it, jump over it, or simply avoid it.
Absurdity
Around
Avoid
Beyond
Descend
Get
He
His
Impossible
Jump
Look
Lowest
Man
Modern
Without free, self-respecting, and autonomous citizens there can be no free and independent nations. Without internal peace, that is, peace among citizens and between the citizens and the state, there can be no guarantee of external peace.
Among
Autonomous
Between
Citizens
External
Free
Guarantee
Independent
Internal
Nations
No guarantee
Peace
State
Without
Just as the constant increase of entropy is the basic law of the universe, so it is the basic law of life to be ever more highly structured and to struggle against entropy.
Against
Basic
Constant
Entropy
Ever
Highly
Increase
Just
Law
Life
More
Structured
Struggle
Universe
Hope is definitely not the same thing as optimism. It is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense, regardless of how it turns out.
Certainty
Conviction
Definitely
Hope
How
Makes
Optimism
Out
Regardless
Same
Same thing
Sense
Something
Thing
None of us know all the potentialities that slumber in the spirit of the population, or all the ways in which that population can surprise us when there is the right interplay of events.
Events
Know
None
Population
Right
Slumber
Spirit
Surprise
Us
Ways
Which
There's always something suspect about an intellectual on the winning side.
About
Always
Intellectual
Side
Something
Suspect
Winning
I really do inhabit a system in which words are capable of shaking the entire structure of government, where words can prove mightier than ten military divisions.
Capable
Divisions
Entire
Government
Inhabit
Mightier
Military
Prove
Really
Shaking
Structure
System
Ten
Than
The attempt to devote oneself to literature alone is a most deceptive thing, and often, paradoxically, it is literature that suffers for it.
Alone
Attempt
Deceptive
Devote
Literature
Most
Often
Oneself
Suffers
Thing
As soon as man began considering himself the source of the highest meaning in the world and the measure of everything, the world began to lose its human dimension, and man began to lose control of it.
Began
Considering
Control
Dimension
Everything
Highest
Himself
Human
Lose
Man
Meaning
Measure
Soon
Source
The salvation of this human world lies nowhere else than in the human heart, in the human power to reflect, in human meekness and human responsibility.
Else
Heart
Human
Human heart
Human power
Lies
Meekness
Nowhere
Power
Reflect
Responsibility
Salvation
Than
World
The exercise of power is determined by thousands of interactions between the world of the powerful and that of the powerless, all the more so because these worlds are never divided by a sharp line: everyone has a small part of himself in both.
Because
Between
Both
Determined
Divided
Everyone
Exercise
Himself
Interactions
Line
More
Never
Part
Power
Even a purely moral act that has no hope of any immediate and visible political effect can gradually and indirectly, over time, gain in political significance.
Act
Any
Effect
Even
Gain
Gradually
Hope
Immediate
Indirectly
Moral
No hope
Over
Political
Purely
Sometimes I wonder if suicides aren't in fact sad guardians of the meaning of life.
Fact
Guardians
I wonder
In fact
Life
Meaning
Meaning of
Meaning of life
Sad
Sometimes
Wonder
I think theatre should always be somewhat suspect.
Always
I think
Should
Somewhat
Suspect
Theatre
Think
The deeper the experience of an absence of meaning - in other words, of absurdity - the more energetically meaning is sought.
Absence
Absurdity
Deeper
Experience
In other words
Meaning
More
Other
Sought
Words
When a truth is not given complete freedom, freedom is not complete.
Complete
Complete freedom
Freedom
Given
Truth
Truth is
Hope is a feeling that life and work have meaning. You either have it or you don't, regardless of the state of the world that surrounds you.
Either
Feeling
Hope
Life
Meaning
Regardless
State
Surrounds
Work
World
You
There are times when we must sink to the bottom of our misery to understand truth, just as we must descend to the bottom of a well to see the stars in broad daylight.
Bottom
Broad
Daylight
Descend
Just
Misery
Must
Our
See
Sink
Stars
Times
Truth
Understand
I think it's important for one to take a certain distance from oneself.
Certain
Distance
I think
Important
Oneself
Take
Think
But if I were to say who influenced me most, then I'd say Franz Kafka. And his works were always anchored in the Central European region.
Always
Anchored
Central
European
His
Influenced
Kafka
Me
Most
Region
Say
Then
Were
Who
In my opinion, theater shouldn't give advice to citizens.
Advice
Citizens
Give
In my opinion
Opinion
Theater
Theater is there to search for questions. It doesn't give you instructions.
Give
Instructions
Questions
Search
Theater
You
It lies in human nature that where you experience your first laughs, you also remember the age kindly.
Age
Also
Experience
First
Human
Human nature
Kindly
Laughs
Lies
Nature
Remember
Where
You
Your
What's certain is that a totalitarian enclave like Cuba's can't continue to exist, so change will definitely come there, eventually.
Certain
Change
Come
Continue
Cuba
Definitely
Eventually
Exist
Like
Totalitarian
Will

Vaclav Havel essays

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