Seifert, Jaroslav. All Beauties of the World, 1970/1975. Manuscript
The collection of the prose memoir “Všecky krásy světa” (All Beauties of the World) originated from the initiative of the photographer Ondřej Rakovec, who asked Seifert to accompany his poetic pictures of Prague in the winter with words. Seifert’s memoirs were commissioned by the publishing house Albatros at the beginning of 1970s, but the manuscript was removed from the publishing schedule on request of Ministry of Culture in February 1972. Even after the rejection of his manuscript, Seifert continued writing his memoirs and offered them to publishing house Odeon in 1976. In the same year, his memoir’s texts were recited by the actress Vlasta Chramostová in front of three dozen guests in her flat. Extracts of Vlasta Chramostová’s recitation with Jaroslav Seifert’s introduction were later released in Stockholm on gramophone records by the Charter 77 Foundation with support of the publishing house Šafrán in Uppsala. “Všecky krásy světa” was also printed in exile, in 1981, to mark Seifert’s eightieth birthday. The book was published by Index in Cologne and by Sixty-Eight Publishers in Toronto. In the same year, the memoirs were also published in samizdat edition Kvart. “Všecky krásy světa” was later officially published also in Czechoslovakia, in years 1983 and 1985 by the Československý spisovatel (Czechoslovak Writer) publishing house. This “official” version was, however, censored – some chapters or names of “undesirable” people were left out. When Jaroslav Seifert was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1984, the manuscript of “Všecky krásy světa” was, with both exiled and official Czechoslovak editions as well as a list of the censored erasures, put on display in the hall of the Royal National Library in Stockholm. The third official Czechoslovak edition was published in 1992 and was based on the uncensored exile version of the memoirs. The book was later published several times in the Czech Republic, as well as translated into many other languages.
The manuscript of “Všechny krásy světa”, written between 1970 and 1975, is currently in the Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature; the manuscript was officially bought by the Museum from the antiquarian bookshop on Wenceslas Square 41 in Prague in 1978.
Strahovské nádvoří 1, 118 38 Praha 1 - Hradčany, Czech Republic
- k127, P.č.2750
- Literary Archive of the Museum of Czech Literature (LA PNP), photo by Petr Kotyk
- Kůželová, Michaela
Cinger, František, and Jaroslav Seifert. 2011. Jaroslav Seifert: laskavě neústupný pěvec: po stopách básníka očima jeho blízkých. Praha: BVD.
Dokoupil, Blahoslav a kol. 1994. Slovník české prózy 1945–1994. Ostrava: Sfinga.
Janouch, František. 1995. Šel básník chudě do světa: Nobelova cena pro Jaroslava Seiferta. Praha: Český spisovatel.
Kotyk, Petr, interview by Kůželová, Michaela, May 24, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection