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YUGOSLAV BOOK DESIGN / FIRST EDITION: Listina. Dnevniški zapiski od 3. maja do 2. decembra 1943 [The Document. Diary Notes from May 3rd until December 2nd, 1943]



A first edition of a WWII diary of a brilliant Slovenian writer Edvard Kocbek, who’s work was suppressed and supervised in the post-war Yugoslavia for contradicting the new government.

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8°. 548 pp., [2], green cloth binding with gilt lettering on the over and spine, original illustrated dustjacket (a tiny tear in the lower part of the last page, dustjacket with tiny tears and folds in margins with light staining on the spine and a part repaired with a tape in the lower part, otherwise in a good and clean used condition).

The text, written by a famous Slovenian writer Edvard Kocbek, is a diary of his life as an active member of the partisan resistance. The text mixes the daily reports from the underground movement, set among the highest ranks of the resistance (Kocbek being one of the leaders), and the personal observations by an individual, who remains helpless in the course of events, caused by the war. 

Edvard Kocbek (1904—1981) was one of the Slovenian most brilliant authors of the 20th century and one of the most tragic public figures of the post-war Yugoslavia. 
Kocbek based his poetry and novels on a subject of an intellectual individual, set in the powerful surrounding of a contemporary making of the history. His literature could be described as existentialistic and expressionistic.   

Kocbek, who started publishing in the 1920s, became a member of the Christian socialists and during WWII joined the underground Partisan movement as one of the leaders of the group. After the war Kocbek became a member of the parliament.  

Disappointed by the Communist overtaking the movement, the postWWII discrimination of the church and the post-war trials, he wrote about it openly in his work Strah in pogum (Fear and Courage), for which he was forcibly retired and supervised until the end of his life. He did not start publishing until 1961. This novel was written in 1958, but was first adapted for a book in 1967. 

For his publications against the post-war crimes of the Partisans and Yugoslav government, Kocbek’s works were controversial in Yugoslavia. His great talent was not recognized until the fall of the country, when many articles and books appeared o his life.  

The design was made by Janez Bernik, one of the most visible Slovenian academic painters of the second half of the 20th century. Schooled at the art academy, with a specialization in painting, at professor Maksim Sedej, and later in graphics, at professors Božidar Jakac and Riko Debenjak, Bernik continued his education in Paris in the studio of Johnny Friedlaender.  

Janze Bernik, who later worked as a professor at the art academy and was a member of the art group Grupa 69, was known for his expressionistic abstract monochrome forms. He was mostly known as a painter, but was also active as a sculptor, illustrator, graphic, and designer of tapestries and books.  

Bernik’s book cover reflects Kocbek’s direct narrative controlled by the course of the history with accompanying elements of an intellectual individual. 

References: OCLC 493675888 & 460096675.

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