Bohemia and Moravia have produced many famous composers and musicians. Bedrich Smetana (1824-84), the father of Czech classical music, described the country in music in his epic tone poem Má Vlast (My Fatherland). Antonín Dvorák (1841-1904) brought Czech folk music to international attention by performing at Carnegie Hall, New York, in 1893. He is especially remembered for the Slavonic Dances and the New World Symphony. Leoš Janácek (1854-1928) used traditional folk music in his operas and choral works. The Czech Republic is also renowned for producing high-quality stringed and wood instruments. Lutes and violins have been made in Bohemia for centuries.
  Did you know?
Bohemian handmade crystal is world-famous. Glass workers today use many of the same techniques as their ancestors did 600 years ago.
The Czech puppet theatre is not just for children. The art is passed down from generation to generation, and many families have a collection of traditional marionettes. Charles University offers a degree in puppet direction. The shows, especially those at Prague's National Marionette theatre, are favourites with Czechs of all ages. Children love watching Spejbl and Hurvínek, a puppet duo. 

The book Good Soldier Švejk by Jaroslav Hašek (1883-1923) exemplifies the Czech sense of humour. The book describes the adventures of a soldier in the First World War and his run-ins with authority. The story symbolizes the struggle of every individual against power and bureaucracy.

One of the country's most famous writers is Franz Kafka (1883-1924). He was born in Prague but wrote in German. His books, including The Trial, The Castle and Metamorphosis, are about individuals trying to deal with inexplicable events. Even people who have never read his work understand the word "Kafkaesque," which means absurd or nightmarish.

 Milan Kundera and Václav Havel are contemporary writers who have described life during the Communist regime. Kundera's novels, including Life is Elsewhere and The Unbearable Lightness of Being, have been translated into many languages and several have been filmed. He now lives in France. Havel, the current president, is a playwright who was imprisoned by the Communists in the 1970s.

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Miloš Forman is a Czech film director who won an Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in 1975 and Amadeus (1984), which he filmed in Prague.
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During the Communist regime, the novels of Milan Kundera were published in Czech in Toronto by Josef Škvorecký, a Czech novelist who came to Canada in 1969 and founded a Czech publishing house called 68 Publishers.