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Rare books, manuscripts, and ephemera related to Russia and Eastern Europe

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    Michail Bulgakov. Osudná vejce [The Fateful Eggs]. Prague: Knihy dobrých autoru, 1929.
First Czech edition of this bizarre sci-fi tale by the master of Russian satire, first printed in the Soviet journal Nedra (no. 6, 1925) and later in a collection of stories entitled The Diaboliad (also 1925). The striking wrappers are illustrated by a surrealist photomontage by a Vladimir Golovin. We can find no Czech or Russian avant-garde artist by this name, presumably a pseudonym. The design, stylistically evocative of Toyen, Styrsky, as well as Rodchenko, does not appear to have been used in any other editions. Scarce and desirable, especially in such excellent condition. KVK, OCLC show copies at the Czech National Library, Harvard, and San Francisco Public Library only.

    Michail Bulgakov. Osudná vejce [The Fateful Eggs]. Prague: Knihy dobrých autoru, 1929.

    First Czech edition of this bizarre sci-fi tale by the master of Russian satire, first printed in the Soviet journal Nedra (no. 6, 1925) and later in a collection of stories entitled The Diaboliad (also 1925). The striking wrappers are illustrated by a surrealist photomontage by a Vladimir Golovin. We can find no Czech or Russian avant-garde artist by this name, presumably a pseudonym. The design, stylistically evocative of Toyen, Styrsky, as well as Rodchenko, does not appear to have been used in any other editions. Scarce and desirable, especially in such excellent condition. KVK, OCLC show copies at the Czech National Library, Harvard, and San Francisco Public Library only.

    — 3 weeks ago with 4 notes
    #bulgakov  #sci-fi  #photomontage  #surrealism  #russian  #avant-garde  #avantgarde  #graphic design 

    Bochořáková-Dittrichová, Helena. Z mého dětství: dřevoryty [My Childhood: woodcuts]. Praha: Orbis, 1929.

    First edition of this cycle of ninety-five woodcuts, considered by some to be the first graphic, or woodcut, novel by a female artist. Bochořáková-Dittrichová (1894-1980) was an accomplished Czech graphic artist, whose work is increasingly recognized for its importance (see the current exhibition at the National Museum of Women in the Arts). While studying in Paris In the 1920s, she was influenced by Belgian graphic artist Frans Masereel. In contrast to Masereel’s controversial, socially critical subjects, Bochořáková-Dittrichová’s similarly evocative woodcuts focus on the subjective experience of a sheltered childhood, in the process creating room for domestic and feminine motifs in the genre. This copy is from the unnumbered part of the run, but signed by the author. KVK, OCLC show only four copies outside the Czech Republic: at the Morgan Library, Georgetown, Oxford, and Wellesley. See also: David Berona, Wordless Books: The Original Graphic Novels (NY, 2008).

    — 2 months ago with 1 note
    #graphic design  #graphic novel  #masereel  #women artists  #illustrated  #woodcuts 

    Bich: ezhenedel’nyi zhurnal politicheskoi satiry [The whip: A weekly journal of political satire]. Nos. 1-11 (complete run). Paris, 1920-21.

    A complete run of this early – and quite likely the first – Russian emigre satirical journal, published by Mikhail Linsky (Moisei Solomonovich Schlezinger, 1878-1941), the indefatigable artist, caricaturist, journalist, art critic, and author of plays and film scripts. In addition to countless sketches and caricatures, “The Whip” gathers original humorous poems, short stories, dialogues, political ditties and anecdotes by Linsky and Arkadii Averchenko (1881-1925), the famous Russian humorist and satirist. Though vehemently anti-Soviet in orientation, the authors’ ability to make light of the difficulties of Russian emigre life and the absurdities of the new Soviet order set them apart from the flood of embittered political treatises and partisan journalism dominating the 1920s. Both Linsky and Averchenko were prominent contributors to the great pre-revolutionary satirical journals; unsurprisingly, “Bich” was inspired by these predecessors from 1905-1917 both in form and content. With many illustrations by the emigre artist Mikhail A. Drizo (1887-1953, pseudonym MAD), a prolific caricaturist and illustrator. Russian emigre satirical journals are very uncommon in the trade and are yet to become the subject of significant research and documentation.

    — 3 months ago with 1 note
    #russia  #russian  #satire  #politics  #emigre  #caricature  #graphic design 
    F. Cielens, editor. Stradnieku gada gramata [The worker’s yearbook], 1932. Riga: Latvijas arpusskolas izglitibas padome, 1931.
Rare issue of this avant-garde-inspired leftist yearbook of literature and social criticism, with an appealing wrapper design incorporating a woodcut from Frans Masereel’s “The Passion of a Man” (25 woodcuts, 1918). Ten more woodcuts from the book are reproduced in the text, in addition to numerous Masereel-inspired wood- and linocuts by Aleksandrs Junkers, Karlis Buss, and Adolfs Girdvoins (1908-?), three prominent Latvian graphic designers primarily active in the woodcut medium. An interesting sample of the Flemish graphic artist’s influence on the Latvian socialist intelligentsia. KVK, OCLC show copies at Columbia and Wisconsin-Madison only.

    F. Cielens, editor. Stradnieku gada gramata [The worker’s yearbook], 1932. Riga: Latvijas arpusskolas izglitibas padome, 1931.

    Rare issue of this avant-garde-inspired leftist yearbook of literature and social criticism, with an appealing wrapper design incorporating a woodcut from Frans Masereel’s “The Passion of a Man” (25 woodcuts, 1918). Ten more woodcuts from the book are reproduced in the text, in addition to numerous Masereel-inspired wood- and linocuts by Aleksandrs Junkers, Karlis Buss, and Adolfs Girdvoins (1908-?), three prominent Latvian graphic designers primarily active in the woodcut medium. An interesting sample of the Flemish graphic artist’s influence on the Latvian socialist intelligentsia. KVK, OCLC show copies at Columbia and Wisconsin-Madison only.

    — 3 months ago with 2 notes
    #avant-garde  #socialism  #leftism  #masereel  #graphic design  #woodcuts  #graphic novel 
    Propagandists [Propagandist], no. 5. Riga: Spartaks, 1934.
Mimeographed anti-fascist and anti-capitalist illustration on rear wrapper of this underground Latvian leftist bulletin, part of a large collection of similar materials. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    Propagandists [Propagandist], no. 5. Riga: Spartaks, 1934.

    Mimeographed anti-fascist and anti-capitalist illustration on rear wrapper of this underground Latvian leftist bulletin, part of a large collection of similar materials. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    — 3 months ago with 3 notes
    #latvian  #communist  #propaganda  #mimeo  #mimeograph  #underground  #anti-fascist 
    Four issues of Sarkanais Dzelzcelnieks [Red Railwayman]. Riga: Rig. kom. un pretfašizmu org. cin. kom. izdevums, 1934-35.

Mimeographed underground publication by Latvian communists, part of a large archive of Latvian interwar leftist journals and bulletins. Published by the committee for communist and anti-fascist publications, and illustrated with striking anti-Nazi drawings. Among the artists working for the journal were prominent avant-garde designers and painters Aleksandra Belcova (1892-1981) and Ernsts Kalis (1912-2006). Not in KVK, OCLC.

    Four issues of Sarkanais Dzelzcelnieks [Red Railwayman]. Riga: Rig. kom. un pretfašizmu org. cin. kom. izdevums, 1934-35.

    Mimeographed underground publication by Latvian communists, part of a large archive of Latvian interwar leftist journals and bulletins. Published by the committee for communist and anti-fascist publications, and illustrated with striking anti-Nazi drawings. Among the artists working for the journal were prominent avant-garde designers and painters Aleksandra Belcova (1892-1981) and Ernsts Kalis (1912-2006). Not in KVK, OCLC.

    — 3 months ago with 3 notes
    #latvian  #communist  #propaganda  #mimeo  #mimeograph  #underground  #censorship 
    Kobers’kyi, Karlo. Ukrains’ke narodnytstvo po obokh bokakh Zbrucha [Ukrainian nationalism on both sides of the Zbruch]. L’viv-Kolomiia: “Hromada,” 1924
Original pictorial wrappers and large publisher’s mark by Ukrainian avant-garde artist, book designer, and publisher Pavel Kovzhun  (1896-1939). Kovzhun was a key representative of futurism and constructivism in Western Ukraine in the 1910s, designing some of the most striking books of that time; later he transitioned to a more realistic style incorporating Ukrainian nationalist themes. As Western Ukraine was not yet part of the Soviet Union, Kovzhun and members of his circle maintained close ties with artists in Western centers and participated in numerous exhibits abroad. Books such as this would have been removed from stores and libraries after the Soviet annexation of L’viv in 1939.

    Kobers’kyi, Karlo. Ukrains’ke narodnytstvo po obokh bokakh Zbrucha [Ukrainian nationalism on both sides of the Zbruch]. L’viv-Kolomiia: “Hromada,” 1924

    Original pictorial wrappers and large publisher’s mark by Ukrainian avant-garde artist, book designer, and publisher Pavel Kovzhun  (1896-1939). Kovzhun was a key representative of futurism and constructivism in Western Ukraine in the 1910s, designing some of the most striking books of that time; later he transitioned to a more realistic style incorporating Ukrainian nationalist themes. As Western Ukraine was not yet part of the Soviet Union, Kovzhun and members of his circle maintained close ties with artists in Western centers and participated in numerous exhibits abroad. Books such as this would have been removed from stores and libraries after the Soviet annexation of L’viv in 1939.

    — 3 months ago
    #ukraine  #avant-garde  #kovzhun  #illustrated  #book design  #socialism 
    Text-Appeal 2. Czechoslovakia, 1986.
This Czech samizdat almanac gathers the work of seventeen minor poets, all born in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and is illustrated with two watercolors. Perhaps the most well-known contributor is Miroslav Wanek, the founder of one of the first Czech punk groups in 1981. The collection’s title refers back to the genre of small-stage cabaret performances held at the Prague Reduta Jazz Club in the late 1950s-1960s. Accordingly, it includes numerous song lyrics, rhymes, and light verse, as well as more unusual genres, such as a “sci-fi song.” An interesting example of unofficial cultural production in communist Czechoslovakia. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    Text-Appeal 2. Czechoslovakia, 1986.

    This Czech samizdat almanac gathers the work of seventeen minor poets, all born in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and is illustrated with two watercolors. Perhaps the most well-known contributor is Miroslav Wanek, the founder of one of the first Czech punk groups in 1981. The collection’s title refers back to the genre of small-stage cabaret performances held at the Prague Reduta Jazz Club in the late 1950s-1960s. Accordingly, it includes numerous song lyrics, rhymes, and light verse, as well as more unusual genres, such as a “sci-fi song.” An interesting example of unofficial cultural production in communist Czechoslovakia. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    — 3 months ago with 6 notes
    #czech  #samizdat  #censorship  #cabaret  #reduta  #textappeal  #punk 

    Ilustrátorikus. Čert má kopyto [The devil has heels]. Edice JUST. Řada A. [JUST publishers. Series A]. Prague, 1987.

    One of the most notable (and uncommon) Czech samizdat publications from the 1980s, the so-called “Normalization” period that was characterized by a return to the authoritarian pre-1968 regime. The initials of this publishing venture, Edice JUST, spell the words “ještě umíme sami tvořit” — “we can still be creative ourselves” — at least partly a pun about creative life under late-stage communism. The only publication published under this imprint, this collection of fairy tales and verse for children gathered contributions by leading poets and intellectual figures of the 1970s, such as Egon Bondy and Ivan Jirous (Magor). It was compiled and edited by J. Vesela and illustrated throughout with drawings by Vladimír Líbal (See: Katalog k výstavě V.Z.D.O.R. 1992). KVK, OCLC show a single copy at Harvard.

    — 5 months ago with 7 notes
    #czech  #book art  #Rare book  #samizdat  #Illustrated  #children's books  #censorship 
    Bulgakov, Mikhail. Rokovyia iaitsa [The Fateful Eggs]. Nasha biblioteka [Our library], no. 21. Riga: Knigoizdatel’stvo “Literatura”, 1928. Rare edition of this bizarre tale by the beloved Russian master of satire. The novel was first printed in the journal Nedra (no. 6, 1925) and in a collection of stories entitled D’iavoliada (also 1925), making this the second appearance in book form and the first publication by an émigré publishing house. Interestingly enough, the novel is also set in 1928. With a preface by Petr Pil’skii entitled “Irony and fantastic literature.” Rare, especially in such good condition.

    Bulgakov, Mikhail. Rokovyia iaitsa [The Fateful Eggs]. Nasha biblioteka [Our library], no. 21. Riga: Knigoizdatel’stvo “Literatura”, 1928.

    Rare edition of this bizarre tale by the beloved Russian master of satire. The novel was first printed in the journal Nedra (no. 6, 1925) and in a collection of stories entitled D’iavoliada (also 1925), making this the second appearance in book form and the first publication by an émigré publishing house. Interestingly enough, the novel is also set in 1928. With a preface by Petr Pil’skii entitled “Irony and fantastic literature.” Rare, especially in such good condition.

    — 5 months ago with 1 note
    #bulgakov  #science-fiction  #sci-fi  #russian  #modernism  #emigre 
    Severnaia lira [Northern lyre], publisher. Collection of forty-three ephemeral Russian émigré editions of sheet music. [Krsko, Slovenia]: Izdatel’stvo “Severnaia lira”, ca. 1925.
Presumably published in the mid-1920s by an undocumented Slovenian publisher of art songs, waltzes, arias, and other popular music genres. The wrappers are decorated with numerous contemporary illustrations as well as reproductions of known Russian artworks. The music represented ranges from Russian and Ukrainian folk tunes, to chansons and romances, to fashionable European dances, such as a “Kokain-Shimmy-fox mysterieux” and the “Tango-Maxixe.” KVK, OCLC show scattered issues at the University of Illinois only.

    Severnaia lira [Northern lyre], publisher. Collection of forty-three ephemeral Russian émigré editions of sheet music. [Krsko, Slovenia]: Izdatel’stvo “Severnaia lira”, ca. 1925.

    Presumably published in the mid-1920s by an undocumented Slovenian publisher of art songs, waltzes, arias, and other popular music genres. The wrappers are decorated with numerous contemporary illustrations as well as reproductions of known Russian artworks. The music represented ranges from Russian and Ukrainian folk tunes, to chansons and romances, to fashionable European dances, such as a “Kokain-Shimmy-fox mysterieux” and the “Tango-Maxixe.” KVK, OCLC show scattered issues at the University of Illinois only.

    — 5 months ago with 9 notes
    #ephemera  #music  #russian  #emigre  #tango  #foxtrot  #dance  #sheetmusic 
    Röttger, Carl, editor. Russische Revue: Monatszeitschrift für die Kunde Russlands. St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Hofbuchhandlung H. Schmitzdorff (Carl Röttger), 1877.

From the palace library of Alexander II, the “Tsar Liberator” (1818-1881), who was assassinated by members of the underground organization “Narodnaia volia.” In a custom gilt-tooled leather binding, with white moire endpapers and gilt edges. With the Tsar’s personal exlibris and a shelf label.

    Röttger, Carl, editor. Russische Revue: Monatszeitschrift für die Kunde Russlands. St. Petersburg: Kaiserliche Hofbuchhandlung H. Schmitzdorff (Carl Röttger), 1877.

    From the palace library of Alexander II, the “Tsar Liberator” (1818-1881), who was assassinated by members of the underground organization “Narodnaia volia.” In a custom gilt-tooled leather binding, with white moire endpapers and gilt edges. With the Tsar’s personal exlibris and a shelf label.

    — 5 months ago
    #russia  #imperial  #tsars  #romanovs  #royal libraries  #Fine Bindings 

    Čech, Zdirad J. K. (born 1949). Mámení [Delusion]. Edice nakloněná rovina 1. [Czech Republic], 1989; 2012.

    A surreal meditation on time, space, and dreams, consisting of thirteen linocut illustrations, each accompanied by four lines of text. According to the colophon, this is no. 4 of only 6 copies produced from the original print run of twenty-three copies, printed in 1989. When the book was to be bound twenty-three years later, much of the print run had been dispersed, leaving only six complete sets, which were bound in hand-sewn balsa wood boards incorporating the original linocut sheets. Zdirad Čech is a contemporary Czech illustrator and graphic designer.

    — 6 months ago with 6 notes
    #czech  #book art  #surrealism  #linocut  #illustration  #graphic design  #fine press 
    ALLO!!! Volshebnitsa zvonkov! Hallo!!! Du süße Klingelfee! Hello!!! You sweet telephone sorceress! A one-step. Music by Stolz. [Slovenia]: Izdatel’stvo “Severnaia lira”, ca. 1925.

Another one of these ephemeral sheet music editions by an unrecorded Slovenian publisher of art songs, waltzes, arias, and other forms of popular music, part of a large collection featured in our upcoming catalog (see below for more).

    ALLO!!! Volshebnitsa zvonkov! Hallo!!! Du süße Klingelfee! Hello!!! You sweet telephone sorceress! A one-step. Music by Stolz. [Slovenia]: Izdatel’stvo “Severnaia lira”, ca. 1925.

    Another one of these ephemeral sheet music editions by an unrecorded Slovenian publisher of art songs, waltzes, arias, and other forms of popular music, part of a large collection featured in our upcoming catalog (see below for more).

    — 6 months ago with 1 note
    #russian  #art  #telephone  #illustrated  #ephemera  #emigre  #music  #1920s 
    Sarkanais Dzelzcelnieks [Red Railwayman]. No. 6. Riga: Rig. kom. un pretfašizmu org. cin. kom. izdevums, 1935. 

Mimeographed underground publication by Latvian communists, part of a large archive of Latvian interwar socialist journals and bulletins. Illustrated with a portrait of German Communist Party leader Ernst Thälmann (the cover reads: “We are demanding the immediate release of proletarian leader Comrade E. Thälmann!”). The illustrators working for the journal included prominent Latvian avant-garde designers and painters Aleksandra Belcova (1892-1981) and Ernsts Kalis (1912-2006). Print run of 630 copies. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    Sarkanais Dzelzcelnieks [Red Railwayman]. No. 6. Riga: Rig. kom. un pretfašizmu org. cin. kom. izdevums, 1935.

    Mimeographed underground publication by Latvian communists, part of a large archive of Latvian interwar socialist journals and bulletins. Illustrated with a portrait of German Communist Party leader Ernst Thälmann (the cover reads: “We are demanding the immediate release of proletarian leader Comrade E. Thälmann!”). The illustrators working for the journal included prominent Latvian avant-garde designers and painters Aleksandra Belcova (1892-1981) and Ernsts Kalis (1912-2006). Print run of 630 copies. Not in KVK, OCLC.

    — 6 months ago with 2 notes
    #latvian  #communist  #propaganda  #mimeo  #underground  #censorship