Kral Majales

majales

[Allen Ginsberg, crowned Kral Majales (King of May), Prague, 1965. Photographer unknown. c Allen Ginsberg LLC)]

Allen’s Czech translator, Josef Rauvolf, happened to locate this one for us. We’ve seen bits of footage from that day, but none with some of the actual sound as you get here. Allen comes on as May King at around 1:30. Keep in mind this is the first traditional May Day celebration – where students elect a May King (Kral Majales) to rule over a bacchanal each May day – that the Communists allowed since their takeover in 1945. The Communists had instead used the date for huge Soviet style labor parades, but student protests & clashes with police in recent years had led the Czech president to test the original formula in 1965 in an attempt to placate them. And so, in returning to the earlier tradition, students were allowed to elect a King, nominating Allen. The exposure and high profile of the event no doubt played a huge role in Allen’s expulsion from Czechoslovakia later that week. See video >>

 

3 comments

  1. Actually, the other candidate from the Polytechnic Institute was Josef Skvorecky, the noted Czech novelist who apparently was sick and unable to participate. See Morgan's "I Celebrate Myself."

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