Friday, September 19, 2008

Czech Resources Online

Some unexpected resources are beginning to turn up here and there online for Czech art and cultural history.
Google Books has copies of several volumes of the important art journal Volné směry, published by the Mánes Association, although they are erroneously catalogued as different editions of one book. It looks as though volumes 1 (1897), 2 (1898), 4 (1900), 9 (1905), 10 (1906), and 12 (1908) are actually viewable and downloadable PDF files. Several other years are listed as digitized but for some reason not actually available, perhaps due to confusion about these being editions of a book rather than unique volumes of a periodical.
The New York Public Library has digitized holdings of the related cultural and design magazines Žijeme and Magazin dp. These are done as individual JPGs, which makes them easy to put in PowerPoint but not as easy to read through.
I'm somewhat baffled as to just how one easily gets a sense of what digital resources the NYPL has without either having a specific target in mind or else leafing through hundreds and hundreds of images. Searching on "Czech" tells me that there are 2577 images, which is a fine thing, but I really don't want to go through 215 pages of thumbnails filled with things like views of Humpolec. There is, for example, a digitized copy of Nezval's Pantomima with cover by Štyrský, and Biebl's S lodí jež dováží čaj a kávu with cover by Teige. Then there's also the cover of the third issue of the Erotická revue, but apparently only one of the illustrations, a hermaphroditic drawing by Toyen (admittedly one of the better choices artistically speaking, but not exactly representative of the contents). Unlike some people, my patience for going through endless pages of images just to see what's there is rather limited. We'll just be glad for all those digitization projects out there and also for people who sift through them and point out more good stuff than I will ever do here.

Note: Prodded by an Esteemed Reader, I have put in lots of links and also discovered that the NYPL has digitized ReD (Revue Devětsil)--here's volume 2.

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Anonymous Dirk said...

I’ve been reading Milan Kundera’s novel Immortality and because this blog deals with things Check, surrealism, and rabbits I cannot resist retelling this anecdote, which Kundera reports. When they were already quite old, Salvador Dali and his wife Gala had a pet rabbit who lived with them and followed them around everywhere and of whom they were very fond. Once, they were about to embark on a long trip and they debated long into the night what to do with the rabbit. It would have been difficult to take him along an equally difficult to entrust them to somebody else, because the rabbit was uneasy with strangers. The next day Gala prepared lunch, and Dali enjoyed the excellent food until he realized he was eating rabbit. He got up from the table and ran to the bathroom where he commented up his beloved pet the faithful friend of his waning days. Gala, on the other hand, was happy that the one she loved had passed into her guts caressing them and becoming the body of his mistress. For her there existed no more perfect fulfillment of love than eating a beloved. Compared to this merging of bodies the sexual act seemed to her no more than ludicrous tickling.

September 21, 2008 5:53 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Ugh. Never mind how many people fell in love with Gala, I can't say she has ever appealed to me. Something about her always rubbed me the wrong way and this story just confirms it. No matter how much she loves you, you can't really trust her.

September 21, 2008 4:39 PM  
Blogger peacay said...

Bbbbbut Karla, you didn't actually link to these purported online resources! I have (somewhere) kept the NYPL link which I shall look through properly, somewhere along the line.

September 27, 2008 11:23 AM  
Blogger Karla said...

Um... well, you're right. I wasn't quite sure how to get good relatively universal links for these but I'll try to fix this before I get my morning coffee so that you don't go into withdrawal and have anxiety fits.

September 27, 2008 3:52 PM  

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