A stranger with a magical fife promises to rid the rat-infested town of Hamelin of its vermin for the sum of one hundred Rhine ducats. Viktor Dyk’s rendition of the medieval Saxon legend of the pied piper masterfully blends lyrical prose with early twentieth century modernism, and has held its own among works of Eastern European literature for over a hundred years. Now this Czech classic is introduced in English translation for the first time.
About the Author
Viktor Dyk was born in 1877 in Pškov near Mělník. He was a prominent Czech writer, poet, playwright, political commentator, and politician. He completed a degree in Law at Charles University in Prague, and in 1907 he became an editor for the magazine Lumir, a literary journal that sought to elevate Czech literature to a global level. He entered politics in 1911 and ran as a candidate for the Constitutional Progressive Party of the Imperial Council. He advocated the secession of Bohemia and Moravia from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and for his subversive writings, he was jailed in Vienna from 1916 until 1917. In 1918, he became one of the founding members of the conservative Czechoslovak National Democracy Party, and in 1920, was elected to parliament. As a politician, Dyk often opposed the policies of Tomas Garrigue Masaryk, the first president of Czechoslovakia; he continued to write and publish his own work, and acted as an editor for the Narodní Listy (National Leaflets), a conservative newspaper. Viktor Dyk died in 1931 of a heart attack while vacationing by the Adriatic Sea in Croatia.
Roman Kostovski has a B.A. in Russian Language andtr International Relations from the College of William and Mary, and an M.A. in Russian Language and Linguistics from the University of Maryland. He also holds a Lecturer of Czech Certification from Charles University in Prague. He has taught Czech at George Washington University and worked as a Central and Southeastern European Media Analyst at Georgetown University. He translates poetry and prose from Bosnian, Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, and Slovak into English. His translations have appeared in numerous journals, including Absinthe-New European Writings and Watchword Press. His translation of Arnost Lustig’s Porgess was published by Northwestern University Press in 2006, and his translation of Viktor Dyk’s Czech classic The Ratcatcher was published by Plamen Press in 2014. He founded Plamen Press in 2013, a print-on-demand publishing house for the promotion of literature from Central, Eastern, and Southeastern Europe throughout the English-speaking world. He works and resides in Washington, D.C.