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POLISH POETRY / BOOKBINDING / ART DECO: Od Kochanowskiego do Staffa. Antologja liryki polskiej


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8°. XL, 378 pp., [8], original cover with printed title, contemporary full calf with embossed decoration and lettering on the cover, contemporary stenciled endpapers (sporadic old annotations, old signature in ink on the title page, binding with minor wear on the corners, minor traces of mounting (bookplate or advertisement?) on the inner side of the front cover, in general in a good condition).

A scarce first edition of the anthology of the Polish lyrics Wacław Borowy (1890-1950), a literary historian and later a professor at the Warsaw University. The book embraces the Polish lyrics from Jan Kochanowski (1530 – 1584) to Leopold Staff (1878 – 1957). 

The book is bound in a highly decorative full calf, with embossed decoration on the cover, combining art deco and traditional Slavic forms. The erotic, well proportioned figure of a woman, holding a vessel and wheat – the ground elements of growth, is deriving from a form of Temperantia and is possible a personification of the Lyrics. The gazelle in the background most probably represents the ghazal, a form of poetry, originating in the Middle East. In many languages, including in original Arabic and in Polish the words for gazelle and ghazal are identical or almost identical (Polish: gazel and gazela).     

Worldcat only lists five examples of this first edition in libraries (Bayerische Staatsbibliothek, Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin, Université de Lille, Bibliothèque nationale de France, Université d’Aix-Marseille).

References: OCLC 458647480 & 252910223.

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