Egon Bondy Collection at the Museum of Czech Literature
This collection of the Czecho-Slovak poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher and “guru” of the Czechoslovak underground, Egon Bondy (real name Zbyněk Fišer, 1930–2007), consists of sources related to the history of the Czechoslovak literary underground and the left-wing opposition to the communist regime.
Strahovské nádvoří 1, 118 38 Praha 1 - Hradčany, Czech Republic
Show on map
Name of collection
- Bondy Egon (real name Zbyněk Fišer)
Provenance and cultural activities
Egon Bondy (real name Zbyněk Fišer, 1930–2007) was a Czecho-Slovak poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher and “guru” of the Czechoslovak underground. He founded the samizdat edition “Půlnoc” (Midnight) with Ivo Vodseďálek at the beginning of the 1950s. During the 1970s and 1980s, he was a theorist and protagonist of the Czech underground, he contributed to samizdat and exile magazines, and his poems were set to music by the underground music band The Plastic People of the Universe. He signed Charter 77 in 1977. With a few exceptions, his works were published only as samizdat volumes or in exile before 1989. After 1989, Bondy was involved in ultra-left-wing groups. He applied for Slovak citizenship after the dissolution of Czechoslovakia in 1993 and lived in Bratislava. Bondy wrote more than forty collections of poems, twenty novels and many philosophical and journalistic texts. Despite the fact that Bondy collaborated with the StB (State Security) before 1989, he is one of the most significant figures from the Czechoslovak independent and underground culture during the communist era.
The first part of the private collection of Egon Bondy was obtained by the Museum of Czech Literature (PNP) in 1984 (including a typescript of his philosophical work “The Consolations of Ontology” /Útěcha z ontologie/ and the manuscript “Notes on the History of Philosophy” /Poznámky k dějinám filosofie/), and was gradually expanded with other purchases during the 1980s. The purchases were officially carried out through antiquarian bookshops. At the time, antiquarian bookshops were obliged to offer literary archive materials to the PNP. In those cases, the purchasing committee of the PNP also bought the works of authors who were “unwanted” by the regime, where the prices were usually suggested by the bookshop. Therefore, during the period of the communist regime’s ideological control, when there existed lists of banned authors, employees of the PNP helped to support these figures from unofficial culture through these purchases, as well as provide archive material for future historians and literary scholars. For example, a manuscript of Bondy’s “The Invalid Siblings” (Invalidní sourozenci) was bought in 1986 from the antique bookshop Kniha (Karlova street, Prague 1). After the fall of the Communist regime in November 1989, the PNP continued to collect private collections from unofficial culture, dissent and exile. The Egon Bondy collection continues to be expanded. For example, the substantial correspondence between Egon Bondy and the physician Marie Klečacká-Beyly was recently added to the collection (2017–2018). According to Bondy’s wishes, his literary estate is to be gradually handed over to the Literary Archive of PNP, the administrator of which is Martin Machovec, an editor and translator, who systematically focuses on Bondy’s work and edits his works for publication.
Description of content
This collection of the Czecho-Slovak poet, novelist, playwright, philosopher and “guru” of the Czechoslovak underground, Egon Bondy (real name Zbyněk Fišer, 1930–2007), consists of sources related to the history of the Czechoslovak literary underground and the left-wing opposition to the communist regime. The collection of 33 archive cartons (boxes) consists of Bondy’s correspondence (his correspondence with the physician Marie Klečacká-Beyly is particularly extensive), his own manuscripts (poetry, prose, philosophical and journalistic texts, work materials), manuscripts by other people and pictures. The collection has not yet been systematically organized. The collection contains the manuscripts of Bondy’s important works, such as materials related to his work on the history of philosophy written between 1977 and 1989, which were published as samizdat volumes, and his famous novel “The Invalid Siblings” (Invalidní sourozenci) (1977).
- manuscripts (ego-documents, diaries, notes, letters, drafts, etc.): 500-999
- photos: unknown quantity
Geographical scope of recent operation
Date of founding
Place of founding
Praha, Prague, Czech Republic
Show on map
Creator(s) of content
Important events in the history of the collection
- visits by appointments
Author(s) of this page
- Kůželová, Michaela
ÚČL AV ČR. 2008. "Slovník české literatury po roce 1945: Egon Bondy." Last modified November 4. http://www.slovnikceskeliteratury.cz/showContent.jsp?docId=915.
Libri prohibiti. 2018. "Bibliografie Egona Bondyho." Accessed September 24. http://www.libpro.cz/docs/bibliografie-egona-bondyho-2018_1530980541.pdf.
Česká televize. 2018. "Fenomén Underground: předci a paralely. Egon Bondy." Accessed September 24. https://www.ceskatelevize.cz/porady/10419676635-fenomen-underground/412235100221006-predci-a-paralely/8112-egon-bondy/.
The description of this collection was created with the kind help of the director of the Museum of Czech Literature (PNP) Mgr. Zdeněk Freisleben, the head of the Literary Archive of the PNP PhDr. Tomáš Pavlíček, PhD., and the curator of the Literary Archive of the PNP PhDr. Petr Kotyk.
PNP. 2018. Výroční zpráva 2017." Accessed July 11. https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1gFkIAgtZwd1eqgU3AZcbMV7Kt3GWzZ5Y?ogsrc=32.
Kotyk, Petr, interview by Kůželová, Michaela, May 24, 2018. COURAGE Registry Oral History Collection