Prague, 1935. Octavo (21.3 × 15.3 cm). Original staple-stitched pictorial wrappers by Styrsky; 12 pp. A fine copy.
First and only edition of this catalog-cum-manifesto of the first official surrealist group to be established outside of France. “The core members were Nezval, Honzl, Štyrský, Toyen, Makovský, the poet Konstantin Biebl, the Liberated Theater composer Jaroslav Ježek, and the psycho-analytic theorist Bohuslav Brouk. Karel Teige – Devětsil’s leading spokesman and the most influential figure of the interwar Czech avant-garde – joined them a few weeks later, having in the meantime mended fences with Jindřich Štyrský, with whom he had fallen out in 1930… given the standing of many of the Prague surrealists in Czech cultural life, ‘Surrealismus v ČSR’ caused considerable stir in left-wing artistic and political circles. A discussion evening hosted by the Left Front (Levá fronta) at which Nezval, Teige, and Honzl debated against advocates of socialist realism at the City Library on 28 May 1934 drew over a thousand spectators. The proceedings were published under the title ‘Surrealism in Discussion’ later that year. The group’s first public exhibition opened on 15 January 1935…” (Derek Sayer, “André Breton and the Magic Capital,” pp. 56). Wrappers with a collage by Štyrský. With two shorter essays by Karel Teige ("Surrealismus není uměleckou školou" or "Surrealism is not an artistic school") and Vítězslav Nezval ("Systematické zkoumání skutečnosti rekonstrukcí objektu, halucinace a iluse" or "Systematic analysis of reality via reconstruction of the object, hallucinations, and illusions"). Finally, with a list of works exhibited by Makovský, Štyrský, and Toyen, and a printed advert for related publications such as the anthology "Surrealismus v ČSR," the Czech translation of Breton's "Vases communicants" and Nezval's novel "Monaco." An ephemeral broadside containing the group's manifesto was also issued, in 1934. A rare memento of early official surrealist activities in Czechoslovakia, especially rare in such excellent condition. As of March 2020, KVK and OCLC show only five copies outside the Czech Republic, of which only three in North America.
Book ID: 50645