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Lithuanian Avant-Garde

Sutemų skersgatviuos [I will die].

Kaunas: self-published (printed by S. Joselevičiaus), 1926. Octavo (18.7 × 14 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by Jonas J. Burbos; 31 pp. A fine copy, apparently unread.

Debut publication of Venclova (1906-1971), the Lithuanian and Soviet poet, writer, and politician. Venclova was the founder and editor of the most important Lithuanian avant-garde journal of the interwar period, Trečias Frontas (1928-1930), which had a powerful impact on the stagnant cultural scene of the conservative and authoritarian regime of Antanas Smetona. It propagated a literary style which it called “neorealism”—a synthesis of Soviet realism, German Expressionism and Italian Futurism. The present work is likewise marked by keen awareness of international tendencies, especially expressionism and futurism -- with numerous references to modern technology, such as electricity, streetcars, and the radio. In later years, Venclova spent time in Moscow and became a prominent communist leader. During the German occupation he retreated to the Soviet Union, but once again held numerous important positions after WWII. From 1954 to 1959 Venclova was the head of the Lithuanian Writers' Union. Illustrated with an understated design by Jonas J. Burbos, about whom we are unable to find any information. As of December 2019, KVK and OCLC only trace one copy, and none in North America.

Book ID: 50346

Price: $750.00