Twisted Spoon Press

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Book details:
 
Edition 69

[ excerpt ]

Czech writing


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also by the author:
Antilyrik
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders


Selections from Styrsky's Dreams here

  edition 69

by Vitezslav Nezval / Jindrich Styrsky

translated from the Czech by Jed Slast


Launched in 1931 by Jindrich Styrsky, Edition 69 consisted of six volumes of erotic literature and illustration that followed the path marked out by Louis Aragon's Irene's Cunt and Georges Bataille's Story of the Eye. Including the first Czech translation of Marquis de Sade's Justine and Pietro Aretino (both illustrated by Toyen), three volumes were from contemporary Czech avant-garde artists, and these were all illustrated by Styrsky himself, who also contributed the text for the last volume of the series. Because of the censorship laws Styrsky encountered with his illustrations for the first Czech publication of Lautréamont's Maldoror, the Edition 69 series was not for sale in regular retail outlets, nor was it made available to libraries. As the original colophons indicate, the books were exclusively for subscribers, collectors, and a circle of friends, and the original print runs numbered no more than 200 (Styrsky's volume was limited to 69 copies).

This volume brings together English translations of the two most important texts in the series: Nezval's "Sexual Nocturne" and Styrsky's "Emilie Comes to Me in a Dream," which is also supplemented by the original essay from psychoanalyst Bohuslav Brouk, a fellow founding member of The Surrealist Group of Czechoslovakia. Additional texts from Styrsky's dream journal are included as a contextual source. Much influenced by Max Ernst's collage-novels, Andre Masson's illustrations for both Aragon's and Bataille's volumes, as well as the idea of the book-object, Styrsky's illustrations and overall conception for the edition rank among the most important of Surrealist works. Along with the Erotic Review, which he initiated and edited during the same period, Edition 69 represented a sustained attempt by the interwar Czech avant-garde to investigate the taboos of bourgeois culture.

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Praise:

[Edition 69] is an absolute gem, offering for the first time in English a pair of linguistically innovative works that proved more than 70 years ago what our world has only recently come to understand: The best national interpretation is, above all, a personal interpretation.

Czech Business Weekly

Erotic writings of the highest order.

— John Taylor, The Antioch Review

Jindrich Styrsky's "Emily Comes to Me in a Dream" ... is an exquisite exercise in dream-writing.

RALPH

While the visual arts of Czech Surrealism have attracted increasing attention recently, very little Czech Surrealist literature has been translated, and from that perspective the present book is a welcome corrective. ... and especially by providing what is, as far as I am aware, the first translation of any text by the fascinating and under-recognized writer Bohuslav Brouk, this volume provides a valuable service.

— Peter Zusi, Slavic and East European Journal

... worth seeking out by anyone with a taste for a kind of writing that is distinctively middle European: intellectual, graphic and surreal.

— Nicholas Clee, The Guardian

The publication of Edition 69 in Slast's graceful translation is a landmark event in itself, in that it effectively brings together all of the various movements (Poetism, Surrealism, Constructivism) occupying the Czech interwar avant-garde into one accessible, not to mention beautiful, volume.

Think again

   

ISBN 978 80 86264 09 7
136 pp.
13.5 x 19.5 cm
20+ b/w illustrations
hardcover
art : literature : surrealism


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