Jan Vaněk was arguably the most obvious of all the prototypes of characters in The Good Soldier Švejk.
This Who's who page on Jaroslav Hašek presents a gallery of persons from real life who to a varying degree are associated with The Good Soldier Švejk and his creator. Several of the characters in the novel are known to be based on real-life people, mostly officers from Infanterieregiment Nr. 91. Some of Hašek's literary figures carry the full names of their model, some are only thinly disguised and some names diverge from that of their "model", but they can be pinpointed by analyzing the circumstances in which they appear.
A handful of "prototypes" are easily recognisable like Rudolf Lukas and Jan Vaněk, others like Zdeněk Matěj Kuděj and Emanuél Michálek are less obvious inspirations. One would also assume that most of these characters borrow traits from more than one person, one such example is Švejk himself.
A far larger number of assumed prototypes are connected to their literary counterparts by little more than the name. Josef Švejk is here the prime example, but Jan Eybl also fits in this category. The list of prototypes only contains those who inspired characters that directly take part in the plot.
Researchers, the so-called Haškologists, are also included on this page but this list is per 15 June 2022 restricted to Radko Pytlík and two important but relatively unknown contributors to our knowledge about Hašek and Švejk. In due course entries on experts like Václav Menger and Zdena Ančík will be added.
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