Czech novelist, humorist, prankster, natural storyteller, and journalist, creator of the satiric masterpiece The Good Soldier Schweik. Hašek was with Franz Kafka one of the key figures of literary Prague, but more colorful and blasphemous. Essentially Hašek's humor drew from the tradition of earthy Rabelaisian satire, which took aim at social institutions. Once Hašek was prevented from throwing himself off the Cech's Bridge (Cechuv most), he founded a political party called The Party of Slight Progress Within the Limits of Law, and spent the cash collected from this activity in his local pub.
--And so on that memorable day there appeared on the Prague streets a moving example of loyalty. An old woman pushing before her a bathchair, in which there sat a man in an army cap with a finely polished Imperial badge and waving his crutches. And in his buttonhole there shone the gay flowers of a recruit.
--And this man, waving his crutches again and again, shouted out to the streets of Prague: "To Belgrade, to Belgrade!" (from The Good Soldier Švejk)
Jaroslav Hašek was born in Prague, the son of a failed high-school teacher. His father died from drink when Hašek was thirteen. When his widowed mother could do nothing with her son, a pharmacist, Mr. Kokoska, eventually took an interest in him. Hašek was educated at the Prague Commercial Academy, from which he graduated at the age of nineteen. He got a job at the Slava Bank, but was fired – he was already drinking heavily.
Early in his career Hašek was active as anarchist and published widely in Czech political journals. In 1907 he became an editor of the anarchist magazine Komuna. Trying to change his life style, Hašek married Jarmila Mayerová, without much success. He was engaged in dogstealing, and forged pedigrees for mongrel dogs – like Schweik later. As editor of the magazine Svet zvírat (The World of Animals) he created brand-new animals and occasionally plagiarized articles directly from German magazines. After the suicidal incident at Cech's Bridge, Hašek spent a short time in a mental hospital, which again gave him material for Schweik's adventures. With Jarmila Hašek had a son, Richard, but she left him soon after and went back to live with her parents. His home broken, he took a room in a brothel, U Valsu.