Bruce Chatwin: Utz

(967 words)

Bruce Chatwin's 1988 novella transposes the narrator, an anonymous British writer and art historian, into the Communist Prague of the late 1960s and early 1970s. The narrator's original goal had been to research the biography of a pathological sixteenth-century art collector, the politically unsuccessful and eccentric Rudolf II of Habsburg. However, soon after his arrival he becomes enthralled by his acquaintance with a Rudolf of our time, the Sudeten German Baron Kaspar Joachim Utz, who has lost his titles and privileges under the current regime and lives in a small, shabby two-room apartment in the historic centre of Prague. The narrator soon abandons Rudolf II of Habsburg as a research project and concentrates instead on …

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Utz, Richard. "Utz". The Literary Encyclopedia. First published 09 March 2001
[, accessed 02 July 2015.]