[Krakow]: Oficyna Literacka, 1985. Octavo (19.5 × 14 cm). Original illustrated side-stapled wrappers; 48 pp. of text and 10 leaves of color printed illustrations, glued to black thick paper stock. Very good.
First samizdat edition of George Orwell’s classic “Animal Farm” illustrated by the Polish surrealist painter Jan Lebenstein (1930–1999). A graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw (1954), Lebenstein emigrated to Paris after receiving critical acclaim at the Paris biennale in 1959. The artist completed a cycle of drawings inspired by “Animal Farm” in 1973–1974, combining the elements of the grotesque and the fantastic, emblematic of his views on Communist Poland. The drawings appeared with the Polish text of the novel for the first time in this 1985 edition. The translator, Teresa Jeleńska (1892–1969), was one of the first to translate George Orwell into Polish. A writer and journalist, Jeleńska met Orwell in London during WWII while writing for Dziennik Polski, the newspaper of the Polish government in exile. This translation first appeared in 1947 in London, only two years after the original novel. Published by the World Union of Poles Abroad, it was republished in 1956 in London and New York by the publishing house “Free Europe”. Another edition of Jelenska’s translation came out in London in 1974. It wasn't until 1976 that her translation was published in Poland, during the blossoming of Polish underground publishing, and reproduced in this 1985 illustrated edition. A second edition illustrated by Jan Lebenstein was published in 1990 and is much more common. As of March 2022, KVK, OCLC show only one copy of this first 1985 edition, in Frankfurt.
Book ID: 51919