2012 is the year of Jan Weiss’s double anniversary. One hundred and twenty years since his birth (May 5, 1892) and forty years since his death (March 7, 1972) we again commemorate his work. By rights? Does it still have anything to say to readers nowadays? I would like to pause on this question now.

This question has two dimensions.

First, we can understand it in this way: Does Weiss still have anything to say to us nowadays when we can speak freely, since some of his discourses originated in non-freedom and are therefore likely to be ideologically twisted? This question relates mainly to the part of his work created after 1948, but if we are strict and merciless, we can also apply it to the works produced in the mood that the Stalinist regime spread around itself – that is before that year.

Second, we can read the question as follows: Does this work still have anything to say to the present readers, so many years since not only the birth but also the death of its author? What is more, in a situation when the gates to the West have been opened and we have found ourselves in a direct confrontation with the culture that used to be forbidden to us? How will Weiss’s work hold out in this comparison, confrontation and fight for its place in the sun?

I will attempt to answer these questions at least partially and by implication when outlining Weiss’s work1). This outline is designed to make it evident what has survived after my judgment2). After all, the final verdict is left upon the readers themselves.

Weiss’s first work was published in 1924 and was characteristically named Sen (A Dream). The title symbolically adumbrates the whole work like a g clef, as Dream became the basis for the various worlds built by Weiss with its help. The dream, a deformed reflection of reality, stems from the reality and mirrors it in a specific way, expressing its essence. The arch of Weiss’s published works was completed by the first publication of short stories Hadání o budoucím (Guessing about the Future) in 1963, in general denoted as “science fiction”, but being rather an expression of Weiss’s ideal dream about the relationships among people, which he attained as a “Master of old age”.

Let us concentrate on the events between these two milestones. It is possible to find out that Weiss is an author dependant on experience, on external impulses he sensitively reacts to. My division of the outline of Weiss’s work derives from this fact. Apart from the published works, I will, where it proves useful, also briefly point out the works that remained only in manuscript.


The First World War

Chronologically, the primary impulse documented by Weiss was the madness of the First World War, especially the war machinery, which fuelled its fire. The way of thinking that made the machinery work logically led Weiss to the concept that even lunatics will be drafted, and in that moment he could already plastically see the battle formation consisting of them, their trainers, as well as the both grotesque and tragic consequence and result of the meeting of lunatics on both sides of the conflict, calling it Bláznivý regiment (A Crazy Regiment) (Bláznivý regiment (A Crazy Regiment), 1930), subsequently three versions of this story, varying in length, were created)3). Unfortunately, this reflection of the war fury and the appeal to reason still remains valid. In 1984, Dětské studio Divadla na provázku (Child Studio of The Theater on the String) in Brno staged Hra na bláznivý regiment (Play on the Crazy Regiment), based on this story.



Apart from the unique reflection of war, mentioned above, the reflections of experiences from the prisoner-of-war camp Tockoje, a sort of czar concentration camp (if we know about the gulags, we should know about these as well) where Weiss found himself after being captured at the Russian front, are much more frequent. They influenced Weiss’s growth as an author, interfering with practically his whole life, as well as constantly pushing into his work and forming it.


– Reality

The camp life was realistically represented in three prose pieces from the collection Barák smrti (The Hut of Death) (1927). The title of the story Hlad (Hunger) signifies the constant guide of the POWs, one of whom yields to hunger unmanageably, in a way similar to Hašek’s character of Baloun. He is cruelly punished by others and, dying, has to observe their gluttonous orgies. The short story Ruce (Hands) elaborates on the theme of hands frozen in a laager, which is, probably additionally, developed into a story – a contemplation about the good and evil, as if anticipating the novel Škola zločinu (The Crime School). Zpověd člověka (A Confession of a Man) (later shortened under the title of Jednoročák (A One-Year-Old)) shows the deceptiveness of class hatred. Only too late does the tormentor realize that his co-prisoner from a higher caste is, above all, his co-sufferer. The call for humanity resounding here still remains valid.



The next three stories in The Hut of Death arise from Weiss’s laager experience with typhoid. The prose Horečka (Fever) (a new title for Sen (A Dream), originally printed in a magazine, discussed above) is based on a simple plotline (which is identical with the real plot of the novel Dům o 1000 patrech (The House of 1000 Floors) – we see a hero infected by typhoid, who falls into delirium and finally is at the infirmary saved for future life. The rather extensive Barák smrti (The Hut of Death) has more characters – the inhabitants of the typhoid hut. Their story culminates in their meeting the general, presented as the culprit of all horrors the POWs experience. This man will appear as the main character in the short story Generál (The General), which probably originated as an extension of the POWs’ fantasies, attempting to explain the cause of the camp evil by the possible vision of its originator. Weiss combined the themes of both stories into a dramatic shape, whose fraction was published in press (Volhy pohádka (The Volga Fairy Tale), Lumír, 1932, 1933) but, unfortunately, otherwise it remained in manuscript (Usnul komediant… (A Comedian Fell Asleep…)) although it does deserve more attention. Nevertheless, for staging it today, necessary current connections may be missing. But still – who knows?

In the short stories mentioned above, the dream confronts the reality and we observe its overgrowth into fantastic visions. The short story Poselství z hvězd (A Message from the Stars) (In: The Hut of Death, 1927, later called Apoštol (The Apostle)) follows this path further. Its hero doubts already all reality and claims that the only thing that really exists is the images from typhoid dreams. In this way, a man escapes from the world impossible to live in into the world of feverish hallucinations as his only hope4). Their fantastic world practically becomes independent in the novel Dům o 1000 patrech (The House of 1000 Floors) (1929, also known as Dům o tisíci patrech (The House of One Thousand Floors)).

The novel confirms Weiss’s realization of how great a gift the typhoid dreams were to him and, furthermore, that he managed to fully use it. Thanks to this inspiration, he was able to build up a whole fantastic world and to lead his readers throughout this place from one surprise to another. This fact fits together with the final discovery that offers a certain rational explanation of all the events in the story (a composition we know from the genre of “romaneto”) – that this fantastic world, pretending to be so real, is in fact a mad dream of a captive suffering from typhoid, hallucinating on a plank-bed in the laager hut. In this manner, two realities are placed side by side, the dream and the real one, in a significant confrontation. By its strange optics, the dream focalizes significant aspects of the reality, being at the same time its metaphor and allegory, and it does not matter if it concerns capitalism or totalitarian regime with its omnipotent police, it is the world we live in, developed into absurdity in its alternatives (which, often advised like this, have been actually accomplished, such as the Nazi gas chambers or contemporary sexual hedonism). Only this crazy world could have given birth to such an appalling reality as the reality of the typhoid hut with hallucinating captives. The other way round, this reality gave birth to the whole hallucinatory Mullerton, the house of one thousand floors, where the hallucinating person wanders as an invisible detective, trying to find the originator of all evil and to eliminate him.

Thus, the core of the novel is formed by the depiction of a typhoid dream, which Weiss convincingly and perfectly managed. He complicated his task by making the dream first perceived by the reader as a fantastic world, utopia. To make the dream more realistic, he uses all possible devices of the realistic method, including the typographic layout designed to enliven it, such as charts. If we take our speculation further, we realize that at the same time the novel represents a deep psychoanalysis of a consciousness struck by war.

This is how Weiss introduces the reality, the social reality surrounding a soldier during World War I, in its essential monstrosity. In his eyes, it declines to become a burdensome nightmare where he rambles, searching for the culprit and for awakening. The old world warps under the romantic rebellion and the hero, when confronting the evil, is left no other option than help this uprising. With this message he wakes up to face the reality.

A lot could still be said – about the fairy-tale motive of battle between the good and evil, about Weiss’s play with images and words and so on. However, it is enough to state that Weiss created here a complex, deep and, at the same time, readable novel, which still has something to say in our time – and not only to sci-fi and fantasy literature readers.

Probably thanks to being so topical, a film adaptation of The House of 1000 Floors for the American public was considered some time ago, and it seems that now it actually will take place. Jan Kolář dramatized the novel for the Czech radio broadcasting and the work was recorded as Sen o tisíci patrech (The Dream of One Thousand Floors) in 1986. As far as scenic dramatization is concerned, Stanislav Nemrava was inspired by the novel and his Dům o tisíci patrech (The House of One Thousand Floors) opened on March 13, 2000, at the Theater Spring in Třešť.



Another milestone on Weiss’s path was the formation of the Czechoslovak legions. In his collection The Hut of Death Weiss devoted two prose pieces to this topic. Austriák (Austriak) realistically depicts the idea struggle of the hero, developing from his cowardly and selfish attitude to determined Czechoslovak patriotism, which leads him to joining the Czechoslovak army. Another “campaign piece” is the prose Zázračný pes a šampion světa (The Miraculous Dog and the World Champion), which in its anecdote style illustrates the reputation of Czechoslovaks in Russia as wonderful warriors. The world-view struggle and the development of a legionary expanded into a dramatic shape in Penza (In: Legionářské besedy, 1926). This story does not deal so much with the choice between safety and anti-Austro-Hungarian resistance, but rather with the legions’ meeting revolution in Penza and their search for a relevant attitude towards it. The play dramatizes ideological conflicts, the characters are portrayed above all as bearers of ideas, as types of thought. In the end, Weiss agrees with the legionaries’ defending themselves against the “Red” ones. This drama is for us mainly a document, showing people’s state of mind in a certain time and situation. More generally, we can understand it also as the evidence of how difficult and painful it is for a man to get oriented in tumultuous times. Those boys were alive like us, they felt, suffered, floundered in doubts, had to make choices, decisions, and they did so. They chose their fates, they fought and died.



His interest in dreams led Weiss to recording dreams, from which he gradually worked up to building a dramatic line, a story. Dva sny (Two Dreams) (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje, 1927 (The Mirror that Falls Behind, 1927)) gets the closest to the surrealistic method. Further dreams appeared in book-form in the collection Nosič nábytku (The Furniture Carrier) (1941) (elsewhere they often have different names). Tajemství bílého zámku (The Secret of the White Chateau) by gradual narrating of a dream in sequels reaches a certain point. Muž bez tváře (A Man without a Face) actually develops a story, whose sense becomes clear after the incorporation of the dream into the novel Mlčeti zlato (To Be Silent is Gold). Sen o kormodorovi (A Dream about a Kormodor) suggests Weiss’s aiming at the creation of a peculiar fantastic world, as well as Sen o červeném skřítkovi (A Dream about a Red Goblin) does. The complement of this line in Weiss’s work is Tři sny Kristiny Bojarové (Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová) (1931). Dream images constitute the content of this work, while the form used to convey the content is that of a screenplay. Although the function of this form was purely literary – it enabled a certain way of perceiving images – there were attempts at staging this piece. In 1976, the student theater Pirám from the University Club of SSM (The Fellowship of Socialist Youth) in Brno performed Sny Kristiny Bojarové (Kristina Bojarová’s Dreams), composed from the second and the ending of the third dreams by Margita Havlíčková.

We can consider the motto: “A feverish woman, that’s a crematorium with mirrored halls …” as the key to understanding the meaning of the dreams. The theme is a woman, a woman seen by the feverish eyes of the dream. A woman in her birth, in the depths of her snake talents, in the depths of bipolarity, contradictions, amphibiousness of womanhood – a devil and an angel, cruelty as well as martyrdom (a paraphrase of K. Sezima’s words)5). If we turn the aspect of our exposition, we can claim that the dream images take hold of the subconscious perceptions and states of a little girl in her puberty (again Sezima’s words)6). We can assume that Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarova are not only the womanhood observed through a dream but are also at the same time, thanks to the constant presence of the main character that experiences all the episodes, the depiction of the world as it can be seen by the imagination of a adolescent girl’s turbulent, oversensitive consciousness. At this point, Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová very closely meet the book Valérie a týden divů (Valérie and the Week of Miracles) by Vítězslav Nezval. Woman’s psychology is here brilliantly dealt with by a method crystallized on dreamy inspiration.

Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová did not escape the attention of filmmakers. In 1984 it inspired a half-hour movie Momentální indispozice Kristiny Bojarové při nedělním obědě v kruhu rodiny (A Momentary Indisposition of Kristina Bojarová in her family circle at lunch on Sunday).




– Original Worlds

We find an independent fantastic world, inspired by the idea of a puppet theater, already in the short story Král Zimoslav a moucha (In: Nosič nábytku, 1941) (King Zimoslav and a Fly, In: The Furniture Carrier, 1941). In a crystal clear shape, this method appears already in the first of the three prose pieces that in this way track human passions, in the short story Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind) (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind), 1927). Although it is the most simple in plot and the shortest in length of these stories, it is by far not the tamest by its topic, but still chaste and urging chastity. The story shows that what can happen in darkness as the demonstration of our deepest essence (in the concrete, coitus) cannot bear light and strangers’ eyes. Weiss realizes how the mood of our time makes us more susceptible to the crowd thinking and that it is necessary to fight for the intimacy of sexuality. At present, its defense is required, and Weiss, sensitive to every vibration of the time that forebodes what is coming, foresightedly captured this fact.

 Odvážný zbabělec (In: Bláznivý regiment, 1930) (A Courageous Coward, In: A Crazy Regiment, 1930) does not go so deep. It studies the processes through which the distorted hierarchy of values – the hypocritical and calculated accumulation of property – and the curtailment of a man by an illness – tuberculosis – creates the paths where passion can be twisted into awful shapes.

The peak of this line is the short story Radio – růže – ruka (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje, 1927) (Radio – roses – hands, In: A Mirror that Falls Behind, 1927), more complex in its composition: Weiss builds two different fantastic worlds there, confronting them. This is possible thanks to the description of “reality”, in which film shooting takes place and where the plot of the film is retold. The heroine serves to illustrate in two dimensions (reality and film) the development of womanhood from the primary clear knowledge through the girly pride to the final self-understanding of a woman’s real value. However, the complicated composition does not observe only the mystery of womanhood. At the points of intersection between reality and film, a warning like a flash will erupt in front of the reader’s face: the modern civilization, with its consumer audiences and inanimate longing for sensations leads the man to monstrosity, which needs to be forestalled. To make the shooting of a film possible, first a healthy human hand must be crushed. At first, this is taken as a matter of course, but only when the heroine realizes the humanity of the man she chose for this role (as she falls in love with him), she enters the shooting and interferes as her human sensitivity leads her in this clash with the non-human commando of civilization. What a current message! And how suggestively expressed! This foreseeing appeal against the audience consumerism, capable of requiring for its satisfaction any perversity, is indeed very up-to-date.


– The Weiss Reality

What forms a transition between the fantastic worlds and reality is the reality made special by a certain feature. Weiss achieves the expression of reality through dreams, as a rather extensive Meteor strýce Žulijána (1947) (In: Bláznivý regiment, 1930) (Uncle Žuliján’s Meteor, 1947, In: A Crazy Regiment, 1930) confirms. The external form of The House of 1000 Floors prevails here too (chapter synopses) but what was left from the two parallel realities is only the dream, transformed into a distinctive reality, where the hero undergoes strange troubles with his uncle (a giant egg fell down from the sky and who drinks its juice will diminish). In Weiss’s imagination, this idea was abundantly developed and resulted in a philosophical trifle.

Less demanding is in particular Poslední noc vraha Hamáčka (In: Narodní osvobození, 1924) (The Last Night of Murderer Hamáček) and two rather short prose pieces from The Mirror that Falls Behind (1927) – Dobrodružství (An Adventure), anticipating the hero who speaks in the novel Mlčeti zlato (To Be Silent is Gold), and Pan Kvasnička a jeho sen (Mr. Kvasnička and his Dream). The latter is close to Uncle Žuliján’s Meteor by its examination of the small town inhabitants’ meeting something unreal. The short story U zelené trávy (In: Bláznivý regiment, 1930) (The Green Grass, In: A Crazy Regiment, 1930) was written about a requested topic, a fact discernible from the story. What should be mentioned, however, is that the story employs the prose writing approach used by Weiss later on – the secret rationally explained at the end. Quite undemanding is also a much later trifle Po operaci (After a Surgery) (In: Bianka Braselli, dáma se dvěma hlavami, 1961 (Bianka Braselli, a Two-Headed Lady, 1961)).

On the contrary, what deserves more attention is the quite extensive Fantom smíchu (The Phantom of Laughter) (1927) – Weiss’s debut. Its basic theme is that the protagonist becomes aware of his surname because it causes him trouble when wooring a woman; therefore he strives to achieve a new one.

The plot scheme enables Weiss to “string” a number of ideas on it, which he probably could not manage until then. Still, in Weiss’s treatment two aspects of the topic are treated more deeply. On one hand, as much as he can, Weiss uses this topic to satisfy his psychological interest, his work becoming a comprehensive study, covering many aspects and viewpoints of the genesis of a last name. On the other, his psychological interest concentrates on the depiction of details and character of small-town inhabitants and figures, on capturing the small-town life in general. This aspect of the topic – that is an inspiring experience and practically realistic method – tie The Phantom of Laughter with the regional novel Přišel z hor (He Came from the Mountains). Here, Weiss returns home, to the Jilemnice of his childhood, to a benevolent world of smiles and ease, where it is possible to successfully strive for a remedy to small problems and where big problems do not exist.

The hero of the short story Bianka Braselli, dáma se dvěma hlavami (In: Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje, 1927) (Bianka Braselli, the Two-Headed Lady (In: The Mirror that Falls Behind, 1927)), Počuchov, an inhabitant of an idyllic Russian small town, is said to have voluntarily chosen to spend three days among the captives in a hut of a typhoid laager. This fact leads us to the assumption that Weiss made up everything else to explain this act of the strange, “perverse” man. This short story is, first of all, a psychological study of a man fallen for his interest in everything unusual, specifically then to his desire for a two-headed woman. Another psychological exploration is devoted to an interesting problem of Bianka Braselli, the lady with two heads. It seems then, that her character operates also as a certain symbol of the disunity of hero’s soul. The third subject of psychological examination here is the origin of dreams from artificial impulses. The dramatic composition enables building up a prose text with a secret. It was probably the bizarre and the unusual in Weiss’s idea that led filmmakers to this text, transforming it into a television film Bianka Braselli in 1987.


Good and Evil

Weiss, after exhausting the source of typhoid dreams in The House of 1000 Floors, looks for a new inspiration and finds it around himself. He intends to write a novel with a strange hero and finds out later on that his overloaded topic fell apart into two parts, two heroes emerging – Josef Severin for Škola zločinu (The Crime School) and Václav Rebenda for Spáč ve zvěrokruhu (The Sleeper in the Zodiac).

Although Škola zločinu (The Crime School) (1931) concerned a problem that was to a certain extent abstract, it was dealt with in relation to a single – but of course special human fate. Thanks to being unusually skillful, the hero is placed in a position of ethical search. He gradually comes to realize that he cannot do everything that he is capable of doing, that bad acts are really bad. At the same time, Weiss observes here how human consciousness looks for the justification of moral standards when they are shaken. During the World War II occupation, this story of a man brought up to perpetrate evil becomes impressively topical thanks to the situation in the society (for its 1943 publication the novel was adapted – in particular the redundant motives were omitted – and renamed Zázračné ruce (Miraculous Hands)). Its two parts, these are the two stages of Severin’s development. In the first part, the hero plays with the evil, does not find in himself arguments strong enough against it, and goes as far as murder. When he learns about the evil in himself in this way, he starts to fight it consciously, finally disclosing its sources in the reality around himself.

In this novel, Weiss does not examine the environment that forms the hero, which is in fact only a model, whose purpose is to make possible the dissection of the actual fact of moral decline and search. That is the function of the whole detective-story motive and individual characters. And two fathers in the background, a good and bad one, each in their own way regulating Severin’s quest, no matter how much they are part of the rational explanation of mysteries, they are at the same time the embodiments of the Good and Evil, which we all meet in our lives.

J. Klíma was so inspired by this novel that he wrote a screenplay based on it. As a result, in 1986 a television production Dotyk zla (A Touch of Evil) was made.


Political Parties

In spite of his creative intentions, Weiss’s work was spontaneously crashed by the time of its origin. The bickering of political parties during the First Republic (1918–1938) disturbed Weiss so much that he felt compelled, here and now, to speak. Thus, under the pressure of “social commission”, the novel Mlčeti zlato (To Be Silent is Gold) (1933) originated. Its timing made it perceived as a contribution to the discussion, it was both attacked and then again on the contrary appreciated (Jirásek’s award of the capital of Prague). How come it made such a deep impression? Weiss dared to criticize the general practice of the political parties of the time, he attacked in particular demagogical oratory, which served aims completely different from those declared in a big-mouth way. What became a satirically sharpened picture of these practices was the life pilgrimage of a camp speaker František Fabián, who used his ability to speak convincingly in his service to one of the parties. The hero himself, undergoing this experience, will eventually become sick of oratory so much that he cannot see any other solution than to become as silent as loud he was when he started to speak at the very beginning, allured by a garrulous pub society. Weiss intensifies this message by a dream line, parallel to the plot, where he uses the text of Muž bez tváře (A Man without a Face) to make it clear that the person changing his faces does not have a face. There evidently exist similarities between the reality that inspired Weiss and the current situation; thanks to this the novel is still topical today.


Search for Values

Apart from the political events, Weiss was during the First Republic disturbed by the socio-cultural ones. He was worried by the success of pulp fiction among the youth as well as by the fact that this fiction was produced by real artists, capable of writing real literature, simply for business. He did not like the poets entering with their simple rhymes the service of advertising, he was startled that any football player earned by his football boots much more than anybody by honest work. He made an attempt to express this disenchantment in a dramatic form, named Básník a boxer (A Poet and a Boxer). Unfortunately, the whole, except for an excerpt Básník na holičkách (In: Lumír, 1935, 1936) (A Poet in Trouble), remained in manuscript, neither was it staged. The ironic drama mirrors its time – but the situation then resembles nowadays so much that it is almost unbelievable.


Search for a Way out

Another food for thought for Weiss was the economic situation of the First Republic, especially the time of the depression, the contemplation leading him to a critical assessment of the society that views everything in terms of money. Briefly, these are the impulses that gave birth to the novel Spáč ve zvěrokruhu (1937) (A Sleeper in the Zodiac (1937)), where we meet a special hero too. The protagonist Václav Rebenda succumbs to the rhythm of Nature so much that he falls into winter sleep every year and wakes up in spring, returning to his childhood. As such, he is unacceptable for the society, which in its reactions to him discloses its real essence. The unnatural character of the society presents itself in contrast with the unique natural character of the hero. The strange character traits of the hero are those destroyed by the society. The society, the civilization, denies the natural, denies everything unique, childhood, purity and openness in emotional relationships. The hero is considered to be an idiot because he cannot count and, together with his little friend, also handicapped, he defends these values and practically all the human values destroyed by the society, the calculating and hard-boiled society.

Rebenda comes with his childhood and his naturalism, allowing people to look into this mirror, leading them thus to those values that are his own.

The reality portrayed here is not placed independently of the particular, historical reality. It is specifically placed in time (economic depression) and space (Czechoslovakia). It is thus this society that is being demonstrated, in this society Rebenda looks for his place in vain. Rebenda’s search eventually changes into searching for a different society, a society that would allow him to be natural, himself, his own person.

Rebenda, like Weiss, finds hope for himself in the East (how could he, despite all doubts, admit that this hope is false!). It is the Soviet Union. It is placed opposite the greatest hatred of this world, proclaimed and lived by Oždiján. Oždiján is betrayed by the reality, while Rebenda’s childhood and his naturalism reach new reverberation in the new world. The new world is a world where there is a place even for, and specifically for a strange, natural man, pure like a child.

The disagreement about Russia and the expression of hope in the new world form the deepest thematic layout of this work. The vision of the new society is romantic but it is not the purpose of the novel to depict hope but to lead us to it. This thematic layout simultaneously captures the ideal atmosphere of the time, its opinions and searches.

The novel inspired at some point the director Leopold Lahola to make the film Sladký čas Kalimagdory (The Sweet Time of Kalimagdora). However, after seeing it, Jan Weiss remarked that it is nice but it is not the Sleeper.


Partial Inspiration

In the collection Nosič nábytku (The Furniture Carrier) (1941), we can find several more prose pieces of varying provenances. Two short stories are characteristic with their deep humanism and austere realistic depiction. Psí povídka (The Dog Short Story) portrays a man angry at an angrily barking dog and their confrontation. When the raging beast is “tamed”, the hero begins to understand that his “rival” suffered in the same way as he himself did. The story of Nosič nábytku (Furniture Carrier) then becomes a spontaneous celebratory hymn on the everyday hard work of a completely unknown person – a certain furniture carrier Šebestián Strach.

Psychological interest marked two other prose pieces. The first of them, Z deníku nervosního (From the Diary of a Nervous One), written in the style of Edgar Allan Poe, observes step by step an aberrant consciousness, which eventually comes to a murder. The second, Tma (Darkness), shows in a mystery, which is explained at the end of the story, how different the world becomes for us at night, and a little is enough to make us lose our way around it.

První láska (First love) puts into words Weiss’s memory from childhood, which allows him to examine the way in which a child’s psyche perceives the real world, how it deforms and colors it, through what loopholes is its world penetrated by the mysterious, the fantastic and the fabulousness, its inherent parts. This story traces an intimate drama in a child’s soul, portrayed through a child’s consciousness, understanding.

Rudá rukavička (A Red Glove) derives from a bizarre meeting of a writer of novels in sequels with his readers. In Povídky o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred) (1944), there is another prose piece of a similar type – Obrázek (A Picture). It observes how its characters are suggestively pushed towards a devious explanation of the reality.


The Occupation

Such a significant event as the division of the former Czechoslovak Republic and the occupation of Bohemia and Moravia by Germans could not have left Weiss calm. Even in the constrained conditions he reacts to it by miscellaneous literary activities.


– The Childhood Landscape

The most artistically significant act was the publication of novel Přišel z hor (He Came from the Mountains) (1941). In this book, Weiss brings the readers of the Protectorate time to the Jilemnice of his own childhood, that is to the time when the Krkonoše mountains were still Czech, reminding the readers by allegorical remarks that the “good ghosts appear always when it is most needed”. That was the main significance of the whole work.

By creating this picture of a small town at the foot of the Krkonoše mountains, Weiss touched the very bottom of his inspiration and realized what formed the picture – the happy dawn of life in Jilemnice. Javorek, as Weiss recalled Jilemnice in his novel, remains on the scene all the time, all the events grow out of it and return back to it to represent its face, surroundings, inhabitants, a specific historical moment of its existence, together with its ideological and mythological atmosphere.

A number of more and less prominent characters allows Weiss to capture all the levels of the small town: its social status and social life, customs, opinions, traditions. All of them are seen with the benevolent insight that we already know from The Phantom of Laughter. A socially critical thorn appears only is subtle suggestions so that it does not disturb the optimistic tone of a small-town idyll in 1905. Only in the background do we feel the distant Asian war danger, which Weiss, who experienced the First World War and now finds himself in the middle of World War II, cannot leave without – although only muffled – echo.

Mr. Pošepný comes among these people and we observe how they react to his arrival. However, Mr. Pošepný, returning to the region of his childhood, finds it different. People do not believe in fairy tales here any longer; they became, thanks to the new times, selfish and calculating. Therefore, he decides to play the role of Krakonoš.7)

This is the ground that makes it possible for Weiss to capture in a versatile way the likeness of the Krkonoše myths and the novel He Came from the Mountains became (while its reader does not mind this at all) a readable collection of evidence, proving the anthropological peculiarity of the area of Podkrkonoší.8) To achieve this, Weiss once again builds a prose work with a secret explained at the end. Simultaneously, is able to stylize his text so that apart from a rational explanation there is possible another – a fairy-tale one. At the same time, he weaves the three main plot lines in such a manner that the result is the ethical assessment of the behavior of all character: like in a fairy tale, the bad ones are punished and the good ones rewarded. On the contrary, by the punishment and reward, the good and evil ones are discriminated. And Mr. Pošepný? The ideal hero, a representative of childhood, fairy tale and goodness, leaves. He leaves, so that he can stay. He acted as Krakonoš and thus he also was Krakonoš. The myth of Krakonoš is again installed. We can consider the novel He Came from the Mountains as the depiction of Krakonoš’s new stunts, as a fairy tale about Krakonoš, which brought into the dark times the message that the good will eventually win.



Like the journey into the childhood, a reference to the former freedom, the prose texts evoking the symbols our national pride has always been set upon (especially the capital of Czechoslovak republic) were significant. That is why Weiss chose as the setting of his two prose pieces published during the occupation (among others in those collections that supported the national idea) specifically Prague. Both stories Setkání pod Vyšehradem (In: Praha očima básníků a umělců, 1940) (A Meeting under Vyšehrad, In: Prague through the Eyes of Poets and Artists, 1940), elsewhere as Fialové zvonky (Purple Bells) and Modré zvonky (Blue Bells), and Uschlá ruka (In: Kamenný orchestr, 1944) (Dried Hand, In: Stone Orchestra, 1944), elsewhere as Milý František (Dear František), are characterized by the coloring of Prague nooks. Both pieces are identical also in their exploitation of the literary form “romaneto”, typical of the Czech writer Jakub Arbes, who Weiss paid a tribute to in this way.


– Good and Evil

The attempt at invigorating the nation found its expression also when forming its ethical consciousness. The main point was to demonstrate that every rule of evil is only short-time, its reign can be only temporary and whoever succumbs to it will come to a bad end. The only things that make sense are goodness and love for people. This task was undergone mostly by Povídky o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred) (1944). The sources of good powers that are born in a man to overcome the evil powers are found by the hero of the short story Ta s těmi copánky (The Girl with those Braids)(In: Dvanáct poutí světem, 1941 (Twelve Journeys around the World, 1941) as Vtělený hřích (An Incarnate Sin), who at first obstinately punishes his step-child for the adultery of his own wife. The environment of circus in this story is an allusion to the work of Eduard Bass. The heroine of the prose piece Milovati budeš (You will Love…) (later on as Tetička (Auntie)) raises from the bottom of poverty to overcome her fate with her love – a poor beggar became in the eyes of a little girl her loving auntie and her love finally managed to bridge the gap between the girl and her step-mother. On the contrary, Černá povídka (The Black Short Story) shows how evil – selfishness, cruelty and hatred – can impenetrably, hopelessly surround its bearer as well as those dependent on him. The piece Miluj svého bližního… (Love your Neighbor…), like the short story You will Love…, finds sources of humanity where we would never look for them – in poor and miserable people, who are specifically because of their poverty capable of perceiving its value. The benevolent point of view of this story resembles the figures from the “pocket stories” of Karel Čapek.

The stories discussed above relate to Sedmý příběh (In: Milostný kruh, 1946) (The Seventh Story, In: Love Circle, 1946), a realistic psychological study of a woman calculatingly selling her womanhood. This time, astonished Weiss only states certain evil powers in a human (woman) and finds out that against such evil we are practically helpless.


– Reality

The reality of the occupation was so oppressive that it made its way to Weiss’s writing; this text naturally could not have been published during the occupation and was published only after the war, named Volání o pomoc (A Call for Help) (1946). Weiss moved here from the contemplations of the good and evil to the realistic depiction of a typical, historically specific bad man who was able to spread in the Czech environment during the occupation. Thus, the character of editor Chrtek became the crucial theme of the first of an intended couple of novels. Together with him, we meet other Protectorate types, likely to be found one next to another on the narrow scene of a house in Prague. On the other hand, the second central character, Zdeněk Klár, suffering from a strange disease (fear of people), undergoes here a development – thanks to being closed in an isolated tiny part of the world where did not even the occupation penetrate – from “clean consciousness”, through the opportunity to be (particularly for this consciousness) manipulated by the Nazi ideology, to final complete openness to the world and to understanding the real state of things, leading him to a decisive and sensible act. He leaves the country to join resistance abroad. Zdeněk’s development is made possible by other characters, at first Chrtek, then Božka and the Man (Muž), or Little Man (Mužík), who Weiss lets to go with Zdeněk, in compliance with his world view, to the Soviet Union. His experiences there were supposed to form the plotline of the planned novel twin, which, however – probably thanks to Weiss’s insufficient “Soviet” experience – was not written.

In this last novel, Weiss came the closest to realism so far, but he did not manage to give up some of his typical displays, fantastic motives, which are somewhat redundant there and tend to simplify the burden of the reality of occupation, as if this reality itself was not burdensome enough.


– Satire

A relief similar to that of the realistic portrayal was brought by satiric texts. Two of them were published in the collection Bianka Braselli, A Two-Headed Lady (1961). Among the studies of an interesting socially-psychological feature, “occupation folklore”, that is a rumor about Pérák (Spring Man), is Pérový muž (Spring Man) – everything is possible in a crazy world and when the human imagination starts to work… The author then meets the Spring Man in an insane asylum. Where did the inspiration for stories about Pérák come from? In Hitler’s propaganda. Ústa za mřížemi (A Mouth behind the Bars) establishes an original fantastic world, which develops the opportunities of the real world, the world of forced silence during the occupation, to the absurd, bringing the hope that this world contains the germs of something that will destroy it.

Later on, the prose piece Slavný pes (In: Příběhy staré i nové, 1954) (A Famous Dog, In: Old and New Stories, 1954) originated, turning against the militarist-fascist twisting of values. The overgrowth of the absurd and the awful of the fascist despotism in the whirl of painfully malicious ideas results in a disgraceful death of a man who devoted his whole soul to these distorted values. Filmmakers became interested in this story and Tibor Vichta created the screenplay based on it for the Czechoslovak Television in Bratislava in 1970. The black and white film was broadcast by the Czech Television as Slavný pes (A Famous Dog) in 1990, by the Slovak TV as Slávny pes (A Famous Dog) in 1992.


– Drama

Weiss treated the topic of the occupation in a dramatic form as well. Unfortunately, his play Purpurové schodiště (A Purple Staircase) remained only in manuscript. It was going to be staged by a theater in Prague but, thanks to non-transparent intrigues backstage, the staging was not accomplished.

The first thing we realize in this drama are the hallucinatory visions of its heroine, recalling Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová, feeling thus that in this way Weiss “anchored them in reality” (in the same way, the dream A Man without a Face was eventually explained in the text of the novel To Be Silent is Gold). Míla Morháčová yields to hallucinations too, having gone mad after the investigation during which the Gestapo searched for her husband. In reality, she is surrounded by two brothers, Viktor, collaborating with the fascist regime, and Jindřich, who did not betray his country. The cuts into reality describe the thick atmosphere of the Protectorate, the worries, fears as well as hopes. Míla’s visions complete the atmosphere from the other side with the frights that are only guessed at. I think it is a pity that this play remained hidden to the public since it brings an impressive testimony about the time that gave birth to it.


New Reality

After the February of 1948, we suddenly found ourselves somewhere else. So did Jan Weiss. If you carefully read A Sleeper in the Zodiac and A Call for Help, it will not surprise you that Jan Weiss welcomed this change – for him it was apparently a dream come true. For some of us, a problem arose from the fact that something should be said – it does not oppress the person that wants to say it. In my opinion, Weiss never pretended anything, although he was a conformist. The ideology was nice, attractive, what it said was Weiss’s childhood dream and that was why he managed to identify with it (perhaps with his eyes closed). Obviously, he did not need much to believe because he wanted to believe. When in the collection Příběhy staré i nové (Old and New Stories), 1954, in the short story Milostpaní (Madam) it is enough for the heroine to change her attitude towards the “bright future” from negative to supportive when she simply experiences the May Day parade, what then was enough for Weiss to believe? In the short story Opustíš-li mne (If You Leave Me), according to the title, the hero in his ideological fumbling, brought about by his character instability, reaches the “black” alternative of his choice, and thus his undoing. Among the “socialist-realist” short stories, the least far-fetched is Lojzka (Lojzka) (1956) (In: Příběhy staré i nové (Old and New Stories), 1954, as O věrnosti (About Fidelity)), marked by humanism and realism in its study of the main character. What comes to the center of Weiss’s attention is the analysis of the development of the consciousness of a common, everyday character (a village servant) in completely common, everyday surroundings (a village at the time of land expropriation). Simultaneously, Weiss realizes that even the people that were theoretically considered supportive of the development after February 1948 find their trust in the new regime only with difficulties. Nevertheless, Lojzka is led to “overcome the barrier of old thinking” by both positive and negative characters around her.


“Science Fiction”

Weiss looked in his nature for a way of expression more acceptable than realism, perhaps also because he realized that the actual reality cannot enter the literary work of the time. Be it as it may, gradually three books of short stories were born, which the critics denote as “science fiction”. They were, however, far from what that term meant at the time of their origin: although at least the choice of their vocabulary referred to science, the nature of the worlds created in them had nothing in common with science. On the contrary, the fiction or imagination was bound by ideology. Therefore, it is not clear whether anybody nowadays will still read these works by Weiss. The prose works were likely to be attacked already at that time even theoretically, but the only person who had enough courage to do so was the enfant terrible among Czech critics, Oleg Sus. None the less, his appearance had for the aging Weiss a personally sad result: he stopped writing.

What was the weak point of these texts by Weiss? Perhaps the fundamental change of his creative method: the way of composing Země vnuků (The Country of Grandsons) makes it evident that at first Weiss always had plot outlines of the stories, which he filled in with specifying details later on. The “live tissue” was not brought by spontaneous imagination but it was to be supplied by invented motives, which was apparently the pitfall that made these stories unconvincing.

What is there contribution? Most probably their themes. Weiss looks for options of expressing through the style of science fiction new realities, which the man will possibly encounter in the future (but, naturally, in a future seen through the intentions of a ruling ideology). However, it is not futurology. Weiss looked for a way of expressing hope and belief in rather what is here than what is coming, discovering the form of “prose about future”.

Three collections (together with unpublished prose piece Dvě města (Two Towns)), the result of Weiss’s honest attempt to find, differ from each other by coloring the short story worlds. While the collection The Country of Grandsons tries to be realistically serious, the collection Družice a hvězdoplavci (Satellites and Star-Sailors) develops the realistic descriptive style towards ironic or satiric hyperbole, but the collection Hádání o budoucím (Guessing about the Future) fully uses the options of being poetic, only suggested in The Country of Grandsons.

The short stories in Země vnuků (The Country of Grandsons) (1957) are compositionally unified by author’s stylized diary the stories’ topics derive from. At the same time, the diary “explains” what in fact they are about. Four of them are rather extensive. Kapka jedu (A Drop of Poison) tries to solve the racial problem by harmonizing relationships among people. Hvězda a žena (A Star and a Woman) leads its hero to a discovery that the social purpose has a priority over the individual one. Prasklá váza (A Cracked Vase) is interesting in its image of the hero being secretly led by an employer of the “Character Cure Institute” to understand that it is necessary to work. The short story Od kolébky k symfonii (From the Cradle to the Symphony) tries to invent a harmonic solution to the problem of integrating handicapped people in the society. The basis of these works is an ideal experience, an image that does not take into account any disturbing features, a poetic and poeticizing vision of the reality. The introductory Mistr vysokého věku (The Master of Old Age) then poetically harmonizes the problem of old age, while the concluding Sen o vzducholodi (A Dream about an Airship) expresses the conviction that the present is the hope for the future.

The short stories of the collection Družice a hvězdoplavci (Satellites and Star-Sailors) (1960) are unified only by the satiric-ironic mood. The only exception is Já, Lajka II (I, Lajka II), poeticizing the fact of a first animal in space. Hvězda na africkém nebi (A Star in African Sky) is poetic-satiric, Bílé myšky (Little White Mice) is an acute satire. Královna vesmíru (The Space Queen) refers to the recordings of dreams, while the radio play Poselství z hvězd (A Message from the Stars) captures human character types by confronting the down-to-earth terrestrials with unearthly worlds. We can find here three rather extensive epic short stories, following the line begun in The Country of Grandsons. On the background of the future of rocket flights, Taťana do družice (Taťana into the Satelite) ironically deals with the problem of emancipation. The short story Ten, který…(He, Who…) (originally called Raketa sebevrahů (The Rocket of Suicides)) tracks the process through which selfishness (in contrast with social interest) enslaves thought and logic to substantiate itself. Muž z Marsu (A Man from Mars) finds himself between two women and solves the collision (which is common nowadays) by escaping.

The collection Hádání o budoucím (Guessing about the Future) (1963) follows some of the practices tried out in the previous collection – the whole book is based on making the topic poetic. The theme of the future falls here in a series of “poetic ideas”, expressed through a corresponding short form of stories, denoted as “prose poems”. What ideas do they contain? The short story Ať z vás nezůstane ani vzpomínka (Let There be No Memory Left of You) ruthlessly destroys the remnants of the old world. In the same way, religion will disappear as an anachronism, as the short story Za účelem inspirace (With the View of Inspiration), originally called Interview (An Interview), claims. According to the story Nuže tedy – sklenku vína! (Well, then – a Glass of Wine!), the old relationships among people can be only pretended. The new life will blow away also a lover of the old lifestyle Kamarýt from the sketch Možno říci, že se přímo dřel (It is Possible to Say that He Practically Slaved). However, the old child Marcelán in the short story Snad nám ho bylo trochu líto (Maybe We Were a Little Sorry for Him) is pardoned although he clings to things – in this way he brings some poetry and imagination into the rationally stern civilization. A thief can be socialized by having him secretly give out presents instead of stealing – at least this is the conclusion of a couple of short stories Komplikace života – ale zkus to! (The Complications of Life – But Try It!) and Škoda každého tajemství (What a Pity of Every Secret!). Even a natural man, in a prose piece with ironical insight Nikdo vás nezval…(Nobody Invited You…), can create irreplaceable social values. The only place found by the society for a fanatic speaker from the story Starci neumírají včas (The Old Men Do Not Die in Time) is in a mental hospital, although otherwise a variety of kinds of job opportunities are available (see Kabinet zvláštní práce (The Cabinet of Special Work). Even the hero of the short story Samorůže (A Self-Rose), seething with and wasting his surplus energies, in the end aims his effort at socially acceptable activities. And who does not want to work, eventually loses his personal story like Leoš in the extensive Ptačí sen (A Bird Dream). Among the stories of this type is also the prose text O bílém koni (About the White Horse), published elsewhere (O bílém koni (About the White Horse), 1959). The future civilization is by the poetic picture of a white horse confronted with a suppressed reality of nature. The short story Tisíce lidí čeká (Thousands of People are Waiting) touches another civilization problem – the passivity of consumer culture. New relationships among people are demonstrated by the poetical (lyrical) picture of the small prose pieces Bystré oko (A Bright Eye), Bratře (Brother!) and Už jste si vybral (You Have Already Chosen). The prose piece Zuzanka a natěrač (Zuzanka and the Painter) claims that there will be a time when people will have to pay for the opportunity to work. Short stories Zvědavost, když už je pozdě (Curiosity when it is Already Too Late) and Byl to spací autobus (It was a Sleeping Bus) invent new occupations: an entertainer of waiting people and a sandman, respectively. Františka from the story To není chlouba, to je dar… (It is not a Pride, it is a Gift…) chose a strange job as well. The short story Tak šťasten (So Happy), where a woman of an impotent man is inseminated by “black seeds” deals with the problem of racism.

At the end of the collection, Weiss placed the short story Neboť mne vedou jejich ruce… (For I am Led by their Hands…). I think that if nothing from the prose works mentioned above did not interest you (don’t forget: even this is Weiss, you feel him everywhere), this story deserves attention. What forms its core is a logical or psychological trifle: those who can see, trying to be considerate to a blind man, pretend that they cannot see either and he, after gradually discovering the mysterious world of those capable of seeing, learning about it and understanding it, tries to be sensitive to them. He, therefore, on the other hand, pretends that he does not know about his blindness. In fact, it is a metaphor, expressing the trust of people in other people’s help, the belief that where you cannot see and could be hurt, you will be led by their hands… It is not without a reason that this story is at the end of both Guessing about the Future, prose pieces from the future, and of Weiss’s whole work. At the same time, it is the last stage of Weiss’s personal experience, the peak of Weiss’s ideological and life search, search for values and certainties in the social situation he lived in.

Let us then part with his work like this, so that we can still return to it many times.



At this place, I think it is apt to mention those who have reminded us of Weiss, who accompanied him on his creative path or at least observed his creative effort from distance and thought about it. First, we should not forget Karel Sezima, a literary critic, then the praiseworthy work of Weiss’s biographer, Jaromir Horacek jr., and the literary theoretician, Karel Bogar.



1) The works consulted here are my unpublished final dissertation Hledání Jana Weisse (Looking for Jan Weiss), UJEP Brno, 1972, as well as my work Jan Weiss a Jilemnice (Jan Weiss and Jilemnice), Krkonoše – Podkrkonoší, vol. 8, 1989, p. 223–240, and my archive. I also used Jan Weiss. Osobnost a dílo (Jan Weiss. Personality and Work) by Jaromír Horáček jr., finished in 1948 but, unfortunately, unpublished.

2) Unfortunately, in this brief report it is not possible to cover in detail the multiple layers and the internal connections of Weiss’s work. I will, however, make an attempt to do this in the space given.

3) When quoting a work, I always cite the place and year of the first book publication; only if it did not happen, I do the same with a magazine title; the year of the independent book publication is placed right after the book title, any diversions from this scheme are explained in the text. The version of the title is always cited as it appears in the given edition, its possible variations are mentioned further.

4) Years later, a similar state of consciousness was described by Ladislav Fuks in his prose work Pan Theodor Mundstock (Mr. Theodor Munstock), which captures the situation when the Nazi extermination machinery made a real life of Prague Jews impossible, pushing them to escape in their dream worlds.

5) See Sezima, Karel. Jan Weiss. In: Spáč ve zvěrokruhu. Praha, 1937, p. 265–282.

6) See ibid.

7) TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Krakonoš is a mythical/fairy-tale character, typical of the region of the Krkonoše mountains. He is usually imagined as a tall old man with a long beard, long dark coat and a walking stick. He is the owner and protector of the mountains, ready to punish anybody who harms the countryside.

8) TRANSLATOR’S NOTE: Podkrkonoší is the area at the footsteps of the Krkonoše mountains.


List of Books published by Jan Weiss

Fantom smíchu (The Phantom of Laughter). Praha, Pokrok, 1927.

Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind). Praha, Fr. Svoboda and R. Solar, 1927.

Barák smrti (The Hut of Death). Praha, Vyšehrad – Volná myšlenka, 1927.

Dům o 1000 patrech (The House of 1000 Floors).
1st edition. Praha, Melantrich, 1929.
2nd edit. Družstvo Dílo, 1948.
3rd edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1958.
5th edit. (probably 4th) Praha, Naše vojsko, Mladá fronta, Smena, 1964.
5th edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1972.
6th edit. Praha, Vyšehrad, 1975.
7th edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1990
8th edit. (in one volume with the collection The Mirror that Falls Behind) Chomutov, MILENIUM PUBLISHING s. r. o., 1998.
9th edit. Praha, Euromedia Group and Knižní klub, 2000.

Bláznivý regiment (A Crazy Regiment). Praha, Vladimír Orel, 1930.

Škola zločinu (The Crime School) (in other editions called Zázračné ruce (Miraculous Hands)). Praha, Vydavatelstvo Družstevní práce, 1931.

Tři sny Kristiny Bojarové (Three Dreams of Kristina Bojarová).
1st edit. Praha, Jež, 1931.
2nd edit. Hradec Králové, Kruh, 1971.

Mlčeti zlato (To Be Silent is Gold). Praha, Sfinx Bohumil Janda, 1933.

Spáč ve zvěrokruhu (A Sleeper in the Zodiac).
1st edit. Praha, Evropský literární klub, 1937.
2nd edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1958.
3rd edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1962.
4th edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1971.

Nosič nábytku (A Furniture Carrier). Brno, Průboj, Karel Smolka, 1941.

Přišel z hor (He Came from the Mountains).
1st edit. Praha, L. Mazáč, 1941.
2nd edit. Praha, Nová osvěta, 1947.
3rd edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1957.
4th edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1963.
5th edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1982.

Zázračné ruce (Miraculous Hands) (a reworking of The Crime School).
1st edit. (2nd edit. of The Crime School) Praha, Alois Hynek, 1943.
2nd edit. (3rd edit. of The Crime School) Praha, Mladá fronta, 1967.

Povídky o lásce a nenávisti (Short Stories about Love and Hatred). Mladá Boleslav, Hejda a Zbroj, 1944.

Volání o pomoc (Call for Help).
1st edit. Brno, 1946.
2nd edit. (marked as the 1st edit.) Praha, 1947.
3rd edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1959.

Meteor strýce Žulijána (Uncle Žuliján’s Meteor). 1st independent edit. (marked as 2nd edit.) Praha, Jaroslav Koliandr, 1947.

Příběhy staré i nové (Old and New Stories). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1954.

Lojzka (Lojzka). 1st independent edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1956.

Země vnuků (The Country of Grandsons).
1st edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1957.
2nd edit. Praha, Mladá fronta, 1960.

O bílém koni (About a White Horse). Praha, Lidová demokracie, 1959.

Družice a hvězdoplavci (Satellites and Star-Sailors). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1960.

Bianka Braselli, dáma se dvěma hlavami (Bianka Braselli, A Two-Headed Lady). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1961.

Hádání o budoucím (Guessing about the Future). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1963.

Zrcadlo, které se opožďuje (A Mirror that Falls Behind).
1st edit. Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1964.

2nd edit. (in one volume with the novel The House of 1000 Floors) Chomutov, MILENIUM PUBLISHING s. r. o., 1998.

Bláznivý regiment (A Crazy Regiment). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1979.

Lidé ve zvěrokruhu (People in the Zodiac). Praha, Melantrich, 1980.

Fantóm smíchu a jiné grotesky (The Phantom of Laughter and other Grotesques). Praha, Československý spisovatel, 1986.


Editor’s Note

The text placed here originated by adapting the text “Jan Weiss dnes” (“Jan Weiss Nowadays”), written by Vilém Kmuníček to commemorate an earlier anniversary of Jan Weiss, for the memorial volume Z Českého ráje a Podkrkonoší, published there in vol. 10, 1997, p. 109–128.