Prague: 1924-1932. Various sizes, from large octavos to small quartos. Publisher's printed, typographically designed (by Karel Teige), photo-illustrated (V. Tittelbach), and pictorial wrappers (by Zdeněk Rykr, František Tröster and others); ca. 8 to 16 pp. per issue. Generally very good or better; a few early issues with light wear; inquire for detailed condition report. Item #6111
A significant run, all in the original wrappers, of this astonishingly rich satirical journal of the Czech avant-garde period, abundantly illustrated throughout with typographic design, colorful caricatures, drawings, and photo-montages by leading artists of the day. With poems, aphorisms, ditties, and other humorous texts by many leading writers and poets of the day, as well as translations of foreign authors. The early years, in particular, frequently invoke, often in a satirical vein, Devětsil, Dada, Futurism, and other avant-garde tendencies of the period. Jindřich Toman has claimed convincingly that the journal was also an important locus for more serious discussions about Dada in the Czech context, both in the very early issues (1924) and during Dada's second period of impact in Prague, in 1926. For instance, in one of the first issues, Karel Teige published poems by Aragon and Tzara; works by George Grosz also appear frequently; many original Czech texts, such as works by E. F. Burian, are clearly inspired by Dada.
Due to its leftist orientation, the journal was almost constantly targeted by the censor, with numerous passages excised, as well as several confiscated and re-published issues, which feature the appropriate printed notice. With texts by František Halas, Karel Teige, Zdena Ančík, Jaroslav Hašek, Karel Konrád, Jaroslav Seifert, E. F. Burian ("Z abecedy: tančil autor na večeru "Dada"), V. Lacina, Zděna Brown, Manja Frčkova ("Proč jsem fašistkou?"), and countless others. Among the artists are famous interwar caricaturists František Bidlo (1895-1945), Zdeněk Rykr, Vojtěch Tittelbach, František Muzika, Josef Novák, Zdeněk Pribyl, Václav Mašek, Matoušek, as well as Janota, Lander, Tichý, Gogo, Házet, Kalatko, O. Fuchs, and many underappreciated or lesser known illustrators of the period.
A particularly intriguing fact is the use of partial photo-montages, which incorporate smaller photographs with drawn elements, as Jindřich Toman points out in his work on Czech photo-montage (Foto/montáž tiskem, 2009). In keeping with the journal's left-leaning character, many of the caricatures are political in nature and take aim both at domestic leaders and foreign ones such as Mussolini. Several later issues feature the literary supplement "Litr." The striking typographic compositions on the covers of the earlier years are attributed to Karel Teige; numerous covers in the later years are by the Czech master of photo-montage, Vojtěch Tittelbach.
Copies in the original fragile wrappers are very uncommon, especially in such excellent condition and quantity. Surprisingly scarce institutionally: KVK, OCLC show two years at NYPL; five years at Chicago; an incomplete first year run at Berkeley; six years at AIC and five years at Yale.