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PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
Postmortem Dream

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series: special editions

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also by the author:
The Sufferings of
Prince Sternenhoch

Glorious Nemesis

  a postmortem dream

by Ladislav Klíma

translated from the Czech by Jed Slast
artwork by Pavel Růt

One of Ladislav Klíma's most famous ghost stories, A Postmortem Dream is an unfinished novella about Matthias Lebermayer, a corpulent provincial shopkeeper who is either dead or dreaming (while passed out drunk), or maybe both, simultaneously experiencing past and future lives as himself and as someone else. As he tries to work out where the borders of reality lie, if he's dreaming, awake, or indeed dead, he is continually haunted by a mysterious man in a shabby checkered suit who utters the strange words: "Five fields I have passed," triggering overwhelming dread as well as dislocations in time and space. Lebermayer has no idea what the words could mean, but more clues are revealed as his life bleeds into another. With echoes of Poe and Plato's Myth of Er, Klíma tells his tale of horror with great brio and humor.

Initially only the first part was published in a magazine in 1920 with a sort of coda tacked on, and this was how all subsequent printings in Czech appeared over the next 70 years. But Klíma had also written a second part and included notes on how the novella was to be continued, which remained among his unpublished manuscripts. This translation includes all extant material along with illustrations created by Pavel Růt exclusively for this one-time only limited edition.


The horror is this, if nothing truly exists except the Absolute, the Absolute is nothing, if nothing truly exists except myself, I am nothing.

— Leszek Kołakowski, Metaphysical Horror

Ladislav Klíma has been an important "voice calling in the wilderness." His antimetaphysical view of the world was not unique at his time, as Europe was full of followers of Friedrich Nietzsche, both good and bad. Yet Klíma's mix of philosophical essay, fiction, poetry, and drama was unique. Often he was too fervent in proclaiming that the only security lies in the awareness of one's will and of one's absolute freedom. In this way he eliminated the border between truth and fiction, between waking and dreaming, and even between life and death. If the world, from Klíma's perspective, was to be some phantasm or phantom, we would need a new way of articulating it, of creating it anew. At the same time, the main purpose of the world would be inherent in the free and unlimited will, life a game for the free individual. The non-conformist work of Ladislav Klíma has almost always shocked, has often incited scandal, but has hardly ever left us indifferent. One need not accept his view of the world to experience it and enjoy it in all its ambiguity, just as one does the stage.

— Václav Havel

I feel myself to be walking in the footsteps not only of Jaroslav Hasek, but also Doktor Franz Kafka, in the footsteps of what Ladislav Klíma wrote and stood for ...

— Bohumil Hrabal

As a young admirer of Ladislav Klíma, I went to Malvazinka Cemetery in Prague to visit his grave on New Year's 1978. The year marked the fiftieth anniversary of his death and the centennial of his birth, and at midnight I drank a toast of "deoessence" to his memory. Since the ground was covered in snow, I erected a tall brooding figure on top of his grave slab. As I was leaving I heard something clatter and turned around. An official looking elderly man, bearded, had emerged from behind a tree and was vigorously kicking the snowman apart. ... Klíma's language is hyperbolic, absolute, and combative because it captures his lifelong battle for his Self and with his Self.

— Emil Hakl


ISBN 9788086264028
13 x 18 cm, 70 pp., cloth
6 color illustrations + illustrated endpapers
printed on 150g Munken Print
limited edition of 750
fiction : novella

publication: June 2021

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