The Latest Defenestration of Prague: Bohumil Hrabal's Art and Life

Hana Pichova, University of Texas, Austin

This paper deals with one of the most recent defenestrations in Prague--a chosen method of suicidal "flight" from windows prevalent in peculiar fashion in both literary and historical representations of Prague.

Bohumil Hrabal not only wrote about fictional and real defenestrations but ended his life by falling out of a hospital window in February, 1997. I explore how the ornate windows of Prague's buildings, rich with history, become complex symbols of the spirit of Prague and its historical and cultural destiny. Hrabal's act transcends the personal to encompass the cultural, evoking historical tragedies of Prague and the former Czechoslovakia, tragedies of displacements and defenestrations.