František Halas (1901—1949) was one of the most significant Czech lyric poets of the 20th century, an essayist, and a translator. He was self-taught, without higher education. After 1921 he started publishing in the communist newspapers Rovnost and Sršatec, and together with Bedřich Václavek co-edited the avant-garde magazines Pásmo and Fronta. In 1926 he became an editor at the Prague publishing house Orbis. During World War II he was active in the resistance movement, and after 1945 he was engaged at the Ministry of Information. His final years were marked by increasing disillusionment with the newly-established communist regime.
“On Dadaism” is Halas’ lecture organised by the Brno Devětsil group and given on 10 Dec 1925 at the Faculty of Arts of Masaryk University. Framed by a Tzaraesque introduction and Groszian conclusion, the lecture is divided into four chapters covering the philosophy, art, politics and morality of Dada as shaped by Halas’ acquaintance with the work of Hausmann, Huelsenbeck, and Serner. At the same time, Halas’ lecture also foregrounds a parallel domestic Dada tradition, esp. the work of Jaroslav Hašek and Ladislav Klíma. Continue reading