Miroslav Holub was called ‘one of the half-dozen most important poets writing anywhere’ (Ted Hughes). In the scientific community his renown rested on such works as Immunology of Nude Mice.
In Czechoslovakia he also wrote a highly popular magazine column. When Holub was a “non-person”, these “column articles” weren’t published under his own name, but everyone knew who’d written them because the style was immediately recognisable as his: a cross between Flann O’Brien and Jonathan Swift, with a dash of Tristram Shandy … the Beachcomber of Wenceslas Square.
Subtitled Notes and objections, maximum length 43 lines, these “essaylets” are as brilliant and blackly funny as his poetry and as succinct and precisely observed as his scientific writing. In their pausings and musings over daily, supposedly ordinary happenings, they focus on the quirks of human conduct, yet the mirror they prop up to everyday life neither merely distorts nor simply reflects, but pinpoints little facets of human activity which reveal the mortality, thoughts and behaviour of our present age and civilisation.