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An unusual work on science and magnetism in Slovenian language, was published in the time of a strict censorship in the Fascist Italy in the last months before closing the last Slovenian press. The cover design was mad by the author Ciril Cej, who was a self-taught drafter of technical drawings and typography.


8°.104 with black and white illustrations, original illustrated wrappers (very good clean condition with hardly noticeable foxing, old collector’s stamp on the title page verso, tiny tears on the spine).


This unusual work on the magnetism of the universe and living creatures was written by a relatively unknown Slovenian author Ciril Cej, who was publishing in the harsh conditions under the censorship of the Italian Fascist government on the eve of WWII. Cej, who was publishing under a nom de plume Jakob Trnovec, was a skilled technical drawer, who designed several books of the Slovenian press in Gorizia, before it was closed by the Fascists in 1940.

Goriška matica – The Last Slavic Press in Fascist Italy

Goriška matica was a publishing house, founded in Gorizia (today Italy) on territory annexed to Italy after WWI. It was specialized in publishing Slavic, mostly Slovenian books.

Until WWI, the territory with a major Slavic population, belonged to Austro-Hungary. After the war the territory was annexed to Italy, exposing the Slavic inhabitants to growing Fascist power, which during the 1920s started suppressing the Slovenian and Croatian language.

Matica in Goricia, run by the Slovenian intellectuals from the region and with a printing press Edinost (Unity) in Trieste, was one of the last Slavic publishing companies, fighting to keep the native language. By the late 1920s all the publications of the press had to undergo a Fascist censorship and hundreds of thousands of books were destroyed. In 1933 the publishing house had to Italianize its name to Unione editoriale Goriziana, and was eventually closed in 1940.

The publications of Goriška matica in the 1920s and 1930s were known for good quality texts of the contemporary Slavic authors from the region of Gorizia, Trieste and Karst, and well-designed modern covers, made by academic artists and modern designers.

We could not find any institutional copies outside Slovenian libraries on Worldcat.


References: OCLC 439833155. Brecelj, Marijan: Cej, Ciril (1887–1971). Slovenska biografija. Slovenska akademija znanosti in umetnosti, Znanstvenoraziskovalni center SAZU, 2013. http://www.slovenska-biografija.si/oseba/sbi1005140/#primorski-slovenski-biografski-leksikon (15. november 2020). Izvirna objava v: Primorski slovenski biografski leksikon: 3. snopič Bor – Čopič, 1. knjiga. Uredniški odbor Gorica, Goriška Mohorjeva družba, 1976.


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