In this section we offer items that are connected to the main theme of the site: the interface between politics, society and human creativity, but which come from countries other than the USSR.
Thus we have some wonderful magazines from inter-bellum Romania, something of a golden age before the country was pushed by bullying from the USSR to side with fascism during WW2. Finding itself on the losing side, Romania endured further totalitarianism (the communist variety) from 1947 to 1989.
Romania was greatly influenced by France and to a lesser extent, Italy. The spirit of modernism is clear in the earlier press. There is also evidence of avant-gardism in the layouts and typefaces. Descent to fascism brought about a ‘body beautiful’ campaign and the magazines looked just like their counterparts in Nazi Germany.
We also have a selection of historical Romanian newspapers, featuring Marshal Antonescu, Nicolae Ceauşescu, and various other notables.
The German collection is eclectic and wide-ranging in timescales. It includes:
- The German communist newspaper, ‘Die Rote Fahne’ from 1919
- ‘Konigsburger Allgemeine Zeitung’, from East Prussia, reporting on the banning of the Social Democrat Party by Adolf Hitler under the Enabling Act,
- A surreal edition of the news magazine ‘The Week’ from August 1944 which contains religious themes and a charming article about the Germans deploying flying bombs against London.
Uncertain weather, lack of citrus fruits, educational bias towards irrelevancies from ancient Greece and Rome and worries about (not) being homosexual were all causes for concern to a bright chap in 1900 in London.
Our items are centred around Wyndham-Lewis. As artist, writer and terminator of cultural dragons, he is without comparison in the 20th. Century. Although an acerbic sociopath and probably a jolly tedious man to have as a ‘friend’, his type is sadly lacking in the modern age, where to be loved (like Stephen Fry, David Bowie) is more important than to be revered (Orwell, Zappa). Someone rather cheeky might label him ‘a professional bastard’, but the Wyndham-Lewis Society may disagree, although that is not certain. He is currently grudgingly acknowledged as a genius, but is something of a ‘problem child’ for British culture. The titles of some of his works (The Hitler Cult and The Jews, are they Human?) have disallowed him from entering the Pathenon of European fame. Two of his books, in our collection, are worthy of special note here:
The Apes of God, first edition, signed by the author. This is a splendid assassination of the effete London art ‘scene’ of the 1920s.
The Enemy, a bound edition of the only three issues of the journal; edited, partly written and wholly illustrated by Wyndham-Lewis, with some extraordinary graphics. The reprints from 1994 sell for £75 for one issue. This edition is all three issues, first 1924 edition.