321 East 73rd Street, 3rd Floor

New York City, NY 10021

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Lost in America: Milada Souckova, Avant-Garde Writer

talk 26 February, 2019 - 7:00 PM

[BBLA at Bohemian National Hall]


Zuzana Rihova, a visiting scholar at Columbia University, will present the unique Czech avant-garde modernist writer Milada Souckova (1899-1983) and her journey from a student of natural sciences, to a young writer on Prague vibrant literary scene in the 1930s, to her émigré life in the USA. In particular, it will present Souckova’s poetry as a dialog with American poetry, mainly with T. S. Eliot.


Milada Souckova was a friend of the linguist Roman Jacobson and the writer Vladislav Vancura. After WWII, she served as a Czechoslovak cultural attaché in New York. After the Communist coup of 1948, she resigned and emigrated to the USA. Her fate was shared by many other émigré Czech writers who struggled to find an audience in their adopted country. Souckova taught Czech literature at American universities (Berkeley and Harvard) but she remained unknown as a writer, partly, because she did not write in English. She missed her homeland and its culture. “Don’t forget about me” is a recurring phrase in letters to her friends in Prague.


With readings by Alex Zucker.



BBLA at Bohemian National Hall

321 E. 73 Str., 3rd floor, New York, NY 10021


Free and open to the public. Seats are limited, on first-come, first-served basis. RSVP by email to newyork@svu2000.org. Suggested donation $5. Light reception will follow the talk.


Zuzana RihovaPhD, is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia University. She worked in the Institute of Czech Literature of the Czech Academy of Sciences, and served as the Head of the Czech Department at Oxford University (2014 – 2017). In her research, she focuses on the Czech Avant-garde and Modernism in a wider European context. In her monograph Amidst the Crowd (2016), she examines the reception of French Unanimism in Czech literature, and the relationship between the post-war Russian and Czech Avant-garde. In her study of Milada Souckova’s work, she focuses on how it relates to Anglo-American Modernism. Rihova co-published a collection of Souckova’s correspondence with Roman Jakobson, Jindrich Chalupecky. She is also the author of a poetry collection I Let You into My House (2016) and a novel Evicka (2018).


This event is organized by Czechoslovak Society of Arts and Sciences (SVU) New York, with support by BBLA.

Bohemian Benevolent & Literary AssociationHospodaThe National Czech and Slovak MuseumAmerican Friends of the Czech RepublicCzech CenterConsulate General