Fictions and Histories

Ivan Klima, Michael Heim, Czesław Miłosz, and Martina Moracova
March 1998
Black and white photo of the shadow of a street sign against a brick wall.

Czech writer Ivan Klima investigates the connections between fiction and history: how these seemingly different areas of inquiry bleed into one another, especially in times of political turmoil. Fiction can be informed by history, and history can be made fictional, when subjected to the influence of writers constrained by repressive government, governments or individuals working to justify regimes, or poets seeking to stretch the boundaries of what it is possible to speak. The main paper is followed by a discussion of Ivan Klima with Michael Heim, Czesław Miłosz, and Martina Moravcova of literature in post-Communist Central Europe, and a vignette written by Klima about his residency in Berkeley.