BOOK LAUNCH (June 10, 6:30 PM): Join Derek Sayer, Michael Beckerman, Jindřich Toman, and Peter Zusi for a discussion on Prague – the dark capital of the twentieth century

Derek Sayer‘s book Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History, will be released June 10, 2013 at 6:30 PM in The Masaryk Room at University College London. Dialogue with Sayer, Michael Beckerman (New York University), Jindrich Toman (University of Michigan Ann-Arbor), and Peter Zusi (University College London) celebrates the release of the book. Conversation will center around topics that stem from the controversial history of the Czech Republic’s capital and largest city.

Sayer has received praise for his analysis of Prague’s history, bringing to life not only the art and design of the city, but also a vivid account of Prague’s entire cultural background:

This is a fascinating and brilliantly written narrative that combines elements of literary guide, biography, cultural history, and essay. Writing with warm engagement, and drawing on his detailed knowledge of Czech literature, art, architecture, music, and other fields, Derek Sayer provides a rich picture of a dynamic cultural landscape.“–Jindrich Toman, University of Michigan

[A] captivating portrait of 20th-century Prague. . . . The breadth of Sayer’s knowledge is encyclopedic, and those willing to stay the course will be rewarded.“–Publishers Weekly

Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century is an erudite, comprehensive, well-illustrated and witty account of Czech art, design, architecture, literature and music in an era–stretching roughly from Czechoslovakia’s creation in 1918 to the end of the second world war–when few in Paris, Berlin, London or even New York would have thought of the Czechs as not being part of western civilisation. . . . [I]n this book [Sayer] has succeeded in bringing back to life a golden avant-garde era that not long ago was in danger of being written out of history altogether.“–Tony Barber, Financial Times

Book launch and conversation: Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century?

Setting out to recover the dreamworlds of modernity in the boulevards, interiors, and arcades of the “city of light,” Walter Benjamin dubbed Paris “the capital of the nineteenth century.” With Prague, Capital of the Twentieth Century: A Surrealist History (Princeton University Press) Derek Sayer christens a new global capital for a darker century. Michael Beckerman, Jindřich Toman, and Peter Zusi join him in conversation to celebrate the publication of the book.

A Conversation

Michael Beckerman (New York University)
Jindrich Toman (University of Michigan-Ann Arbor)
Derek Sayer (Lancaster University)
Peter Zusi (University College London)

All welcome – this event is free, no registration needed.
More info:


The Masaryk Room, 4th Floor, The School of Slavonic and East European Studies, University College London, 16 Taviton Street, London WC1H 0BW


10 Jun 2013 18:30


Czech Center is a co-organizer of the event.

For more information on this event, please visit the following page: