1967-1971. Prague: Semaforklub, 1967-1971. Quartos (A4). Single leaves of differently colored stock, with mimeographed text to rectos and versos, stapled to upper left corner; most issues ca. 16-22 pp. About very good; a few first and last leaves detached from staple, but present. One of the issues features an original ticket to the sixth meeting of the Club, stapled to the last leaf.
A nearly complete run (lacking only two issues) of the first series of this publication, a Czech samizdat journal which was forbidden by a court in 1971, along with the eponymous club. Its publication began in parallel with the inception of the Semafor Club in 1967, during the laxer political climate of the pre-Prague Spring months. The Semafor Theatre is an important cabaret theatre, founded in 1959 by the popular songwriter and actor duo Jiří Suchý und Jiří Šlitr. It was to be site for screening films, poetry readings, jazz performances, puppet theatre, dance, musical comedy, cabaret, and other "smaller forms." The theatre was inspired by the interwar tradition of the "Liberated Theatre" and would siimilarly become a major venue for pushing the limits of both the political and the artistic. Although the affiliated club was twice dissolved by the communist regime (in 1971 and 1986), both times it managed to circumvent the ban by renaming itself (Jonáš-Klub and J-Klub) and has continued to publish its journal under various titles until today. Started as a fanzine, 1969 and the early 1970s saw Jonáš take on the more important function of an underground periodical that could publish writings by individuals which were either banned from publishing, or that would not publish such politically bold articles in other organs of official culture. Though technically published only for club members, Jonáš became a highly sought semi-samizdat whose articles often had little to do with theatre. It is an intriguing example of the use of "internal bulletins" (which were legal to publish) as a subterfuge to reach a wider readership. Each issue features a governmental registration number, and after 1968 the added note: "only for members of the club, gratis." The print runs were low, probably never exceeding 500 copies during this period. The contributions are by Jiří Suchý, Jakub Deml, Miloš Macourek, Josef Bílek, Pavel Spunar, Jiří Novotný, Ludvík Vaculík, and countless others (including many shorter reviews and letters to the editors). The issues also contain numerous reports on activities at the club and the theatre, scheduled performances, lists of members' addresses, and much else, making it a key source on activities of this important collective. The publication is pictured and discussed in the recent reference work on Czech samizdat periodicals, Český literární samizdat: edice, časopisy, sborníky, 1949-1989 (Michal Přibáň et al., 2018), p. 38. We cannot locate the periodical in KVK or OCLC. The only issues appear to be held by Libri Prohibiti Library in Prague.
Book ID: P6286