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Anti-Communist Samizdat Satire

Zycie stało się lepsze…[Life has become better…].

[Warsaw]: Wydawnictwo Wola, 1983. Octavo (20 × 15 cm). Original side-stapled pictorial wrappers; 54 pp. of illustrations to rectos and versos. Very good.

First Polish translation of this work by banned Soviet graphic artist and caricaturist Viacheslav Sysojew (Sysoev, 1937–2006). A self-taught cartoonist, Sysojew participated in non-official art exhibitions in Moscow and Leningrad starting 1975. In 1979 he was accused of distributing pornography for creating sexually explicit caricatures of Soviet life. The publication of this comic in Paris in 1980 worsened his legal situation and he was forced to go into hiding. He was finally apprehended in 1983 and placed in a psychiatric hospital, a practice typical for the silencing of Soviet dissidents. He remained imprisoned until 1985. This translation appeared shortly thereafter, and the introduction notes that “Slawa Sisojew has already spent a year in “psychiatric prisons” despite numerous protests from artists and academics around the world.” The introduction also claims that the translation was published from the Paris edition “without the knowledge of the Author (forgive us Slava!)” The introduction concludes with, “Hang in there Slava, we are with you, although for now on the other side of the bars!” Following his release, Sysojew would go on to create major graphic work about Chernobyl in 1986–1987.

As of August 2022, KVK, OCLC show only two copies outside of Poland, and none in North America.

Book ID: 52327

Price: $350.00