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Twisted Spoon Press

PO Box 21 - Preslova 12, 150 00 Prague 5, Czech Republic

Book details:
Edition 69

[ excerpt ]

Czech writing

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also by the authors:
The Absolute Gravedigger
A Prague Flâneur
Valerie and Her Week of Wonders

  edition 69

by František Halas / Vítězslav Nezval / Jindřich Štyrský

translated from the Czech by Jed Slast

artwork by Jindřich Štyrský

Launched in 1931 by Jindřich Štyrský, 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 Štyrský himself, who also contributed the text for the last volume of the series. Because of the censorship laws Štyrský 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 (Štyrský's volume was limited to 69 copies).

Bringing together original English translations of the three Czech contributions to the Edition 69 series, this volume comprises Nezval’s “Sexual Nocturne”; Halas’s erotic poetry collection “Thyrsos”; and Štyrský’s “Emilie Comes to Me in a Dream,” including the original essay from psychoanalyst and fellow Surrealist Bohuslav Brouk, all complemented by Štyrský’s artwork, ranging from pen and ink drawings to graphic collages to pornographic photomontages. Influenced by Max Ernst’s collage-novels, Andre Masson’s illustrations for Aragon's and Bataille's work, and the book as object, Štyrský’s overall conception for the Edition 69 series rank it among the notable achievements of European Surrealism, representing as well a sustained attempt by the interwar Czech avant-garde to investigate the taboos of bourgeois culture.



[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.


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 9788086264110
137 pp.
13.5 x 19 cm
29 B&W illustrations
softcover with flaps
eroticism : surrealism
mature content – 18+

RRP: $17 • £12

release dates:
UK: April 27, 2020
US: July 15, 2020

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