Friday, February 28, 2014

If Men Were Horses...

A signed photograph of Galsworthy. John Galsworthy was an English novelist and playwright who won the 1932 Nobel Prize in Literature for The Forsyte Saga, a grouping of three novels and two shorter works about an upper-class British family who are from "new money." The series was published as individual works between 1906 and 1921 and then released as a combined novel in 1922. It has been adapted for television multiple times, most recently in 2002 starring Damian Lewis as Soames Forsyte.

A photograph, taken from behind, of two men performing some sort of work on a horse.In addition to his fiction, Galsworthy was an avid proponent of animal rights who used his fame as a novelist to attract attention to various campaigns against animal cruelty. Numerous animal rights pamphlets of the early 20th century contained a foreword by Galsworthy before delving into the horrors of animal abuse, as depicted in this photo from Docking and Nicking of Horses. Moreover, Galsworthy himself penned a variety of informational texts protecting all manner of animals, such as Horses in Mines or  Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs.

Side-by-side illustrations of a man and horse being harried by insects while physically restrained.One of the more arresting concepts that such publications employed was that of reverse anthropomorphism, wherein humans were portrayed as if they were animals being abused. Such representations still retain their emotive power even today, perhaps even more so than at the time of their publication because of the success of such campaigns in changing society's perception of animals and instilling a moral imperative to treat beasts with compassion and respect.

To see a 1922 first edition of The Forsyte Saga, ask at Rauner for Rare PZ 3 .G139 Fo2. Docking and Nicking of Horses can be retrieved for examination by asking for Rare HV4753 .E5. Finally, for Horses in Mines, look at Rare HV4755 .G3, and for Mr. Galsworthy's Appeal for Dogs, see Rare HV4746 .G3.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10 Let Uzbekistan

A page from "10 Let Uzbekistan" showing a photograph of Stalin in front of red stripes, text, and a series of small images of people. In 1934, Aleksandr Rodchenko turned his considerable talent to the production of a commemoration of ten years of Soviet rule of Uzbekistan. The resulting 10 Let Uzbekistan is a monument to Stalinist pride. In its original edition, Rodchenko's photographs and designs (including cut outs and acetate overlays) show the prosperity brought on by communism. The original edition bulges with images of bureaucrats.

The outline of a profile in front of a block of red Cyrillic text.But the book was followed immediately by one of Stalin's purges that reshaped the leadership of the region. Our edition or 10 Let Uzbekistan appears to be a subsequent printing because all of the bureaucrats killed and wiped from history have been cleanly excised.

The silhouette of a man's profile, filled in with a red textile pattern.The book is complemented in our collection by Ken Campbell's Ten Years of Uzbekistan: A Commoration (London: Ken Campbell, 1994). Campbell photographed Rodchenko's personal copy of the original printing in which Rodchenko had blackened out the faces of those purged. Campbell then printed the images with thick layers of ink making them heavy with the weight of history. In his hands the commemoration is not a celebration, but a somber exploration of oppression.

Two pages including the face and name of a man, both of which have been blacked out.
You can see them both by asking for Rare DK941.5 .D47 1934 and Presses C155cat.