We recently spent ten days in the glorious city of Prague.  Among other delights, we found a few fine books, including one to add to the collection of 1000 myths, legends and folk or fairy tales to read in the coming decade, and a book of Czech recipes for my husband to try out. 

On a visit to the National Gallery up in the castle, we ended up in a room with a round table on which were displayed the sumptuous publications of the Gallery.  Given my interest in fools and jesters, my eye was particularly caught by this one on Dances and Festivities of the 16th to 18th Centuries.  400 pages of beautifully printed, engaging yet scholarly text peppered with hundreds of marvelous works of art, prints and other images.

We raced to the bookshop and I was crestfallen to learn they had sold out and only had the Czech version left.  Knowing how slowly I’m learning Hungarian, I had to face the fact that I’m unlikely to master Czech any time soon.  So we embarked on a quest to find just one English copy in the whole of Prague.  One after another bookshop told us it was no longer available. 

Close to giving up, and close to the end of our holiday, we passed an art bookshop, albeit closed.  We checked the opening times and went back the next day.  A bright and airy space, part gallery part book store and as far as I was concerned, my last chance saloon.   We asked if by any chance they had the book, and YES, they had one copy left.  Luiz bought it for me as a present and I can’t tell you how happy I was and what an enjoyable experience it was to buy it. 

Thank you Emily, thank you KAVKA bookshop (and thank you Luiz)!  And thank you National Gallery Prague for such a lavish and rich publication, I will be mining the book for images and information to feature on Fools Are Everywhere.  

References: Andrea Rousova (ed.), Dances and Festivities of the 16th to 18th Centuries (Prague: Narodni Galerie, 2008), front cover and flyleaf illustrations

KAVKA knižní a výtvarná kultura, Krocínova 5, 110 00 Praha


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