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Estonian Modernist Anthology

Siuru I, II, and III (complete series).

Tallinn and Tartu: Kirjanikkude Ühingu "Siuru" Kirjastus; "Odamehe" kirjastus, 1917-1919. Quartos (27 × 19.2 cm). Later buckram bindings, preserving original pictorial wrappers by Nikolai Triik and Ado Vabbe (front and back); 148, [2]; 115, [4]; and 134 pp. Three full-page illustrations by Triik (volume I), six full-page drawings, of which one in red and black, and one vignette by Vabbe, as well as his publisher's and series device (volume II); Vabbe's wrapper design once reproduced within (volume III). Resized to bindings; one volume with owner signature and some foxing to wrappers; else very good, clean copies.

Complete run of this short-lived expressionist-influenced anthology by the eponymous Estonian literary group, published from 1917-19. Centered around the leading modernist poet Marie Under, the "Siuru" group consisted of bohemian spirits whose work emphasized sensual experience and joyous optimism. Among its members were Friedebert Tuglas, Arthur Adson, August Gailit, Henrik Visnapuu and Johannes Semper. In addition to these writers' works, the anthology also contains poetry by Johannes Barbarus, Rudolf Reimann, Arthur Valdes, Jaan Oks, Aleksander Tassa, Richard Roht and Johannes Aavik. Work in translation includes writing by Georg Heym, Franz Werfel, and Paul Boldt, Aubrey Beardsley, Zigmunt Krasinski, and Emile Verhaeren The group took its name from the mythological fire bird "Siuru" that appears in the Estonian national epic "Kalevipoeg". Its members were very visible in Tallinn, meeting not only in Under's salon, but also in Tallinn's coffee houses, and some members had a reputation for rebellious behavior. Wrappers by Nikolai Triik in an expressionist style that corresponds to the aesthetics of some of the "Siuru" writers: "Es wäre falsch, die Siuru-Gruppe in eine ästhetisierende Ecke abzudrängen, die sich nicht darum kümmerte, was in der Welt um sie herum geschah. Schon die Illustrationen von Nikolai Triik im ersten Album wiesen in die Richtung eines Expressionismus im Sinne einer Anklage gegen die Unmenschlichkeit der Welt" (Hasselblatt 418). The first issue was printed in 780 copies, of which 40 copies were printed on Alexandria paper, numbered (these copies all unnumbered). No papier copies in North America: KVK, OCLC show a copy of the first volume at Munich, a complete run at the Finish National Library and a microfilm at New York Public Library.

Book ID: P4588

Price: $1,500.00