"That is how the poet Frantisek Hrubin died"

František Hrubín (1910-1971) was a Czech poet and writer who also was a lifelong member of the Communist Party. Though he started to study law and philosophy in 1933, he published his first book of poetry, Sung From Far Away, the following year and did not graduate. Other poetry collections included Hiroshima, Metamorphosis, Crystal Night, and Romance for Flugelhorn.

By the late 1950s and early 1960s, when he worked alongside Kundera as one of the playwrights with Theatre Za Branou (Theater Beyond the Gate), headed by Otomar Krejča, Hrubín was regarded as one of the greatest living Czech poets. Among his plays are the Chekhovian “A Sunday in August” (1958) and the neo-romantic drama “Oldřich a Božena” (1968) based on a semi-historical legend.

He translated French poets such as Verlaine and Rimbaud and ancient Chinese poetry into Czech, loved to write children’s poetry, and founded a legendary Czech children’s magazine called The Thyme.

The narrator suggests that Hrubín was hounded to death by the Communist Party, which kept trying to claim him for its own, and finally did after his death (rather the way Marie-Claude reclaims Franz after his death).