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260: No Pasaran!

June 25, 2018

I picked up this book while browsing Mother Foucault’s Bookshop in Portland, OR with Alec and Katie a couple years back. It was a little pricey for something I’ll never be able to read (I’m not expecting to learn Polish anytime soon), but it was just too cool to pass up. Like last week’s John Reed book, I’ve sat on it thinking I would come across additional titles from the publisher or designer, but no such luck. OK, what we’ve got is a short collection of poetry written by fighters in the Spanish Civil War (the subtitle translates as Poems About Fighting Spain). They were selected and introduced by Stanisława Ryszarda Dobrowolskiego. Dobrowolskiego was a poet, writer, and Communist militant who I don’t believe fought in Spain, but he was part of the Polish Underground that fought against the Nazis in the 1940s. He eventually became a state crony and Stalinist stalwart that fought against the worker uprisings in the 80s.
The book covers (although a paperback, it also has a dustjacket) and titling was designed by Ewa Frysztak and the book was published by one of the Polish state publishing houses, PIW (Państwowy Instytut Wydawniczy), in 1966. Although it’s from the ’60s, it really feels like it could have been produced in the ’30s during the Civil War. The triangular spikes filled with patterns, the simple color scheme, and the Futura-inspired font all give it a great mid-century Modernist feel. In addition, the cover and inside stock are completely uncoated, and the printing is clearly done on a letterpress, so each element is slightly embossed. I’d love to find more books with this great feel.

Anti-capitalismCulture & MediaGlobal SolidarityHistory

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One comment on “260: No Pasaran!”

For a long time, the “no trespassing” signs put up by transportation officials to keep the indigent away from public rights of way included “no pasaran” as the supposed Spanish translation. Hat tip to whoever sneaked that one past the bosses.

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