Con L'Armata Rossa / Pri Rde i Armadi [With the Red Army] - Three Early Underground Printings from Slovenian Partisan Presses. Milovan DJILAS.

Con L'Armata Rossa / Pri Rde i Armadi [With the Red Army] - Three Early Underground Printings from Slovenian Partisan Presses

V.p., v.i. [1944]. Three separate underground printings - two in Slovenian, one in Italian - of Djilas's propagandistic homage to the Soviet Red Army, written in the final months of the Nazi occupation of Yugoslavia. The essay was originally published in Serbo-Croatian, as Sa Crvenom Armijom. Uniform minor wear and age-toning; all three Very Good or better.

1. Djilas. Con L'Armata Rossa. [Strojenika pri Storpniku: Doberdob, 1944]. Octavo (20.5cm). Staple-bound pictorial paper wrappers; 20pp. Front wrapper with linocut illustration in three colors. Italian-language translation. Text printed from type.

2. Djilas. Pri Rde i Armadi. [near Idrija, Gorenjsko, Slovenia: Špik, 1944]. Octavo (22cm). Staple-bound pictorial paper wrappers; 30pp. Linocut illustration to front wrapper, printed in red ink. Text mimeographed.

3. Djilas. Pri Rde i Armadi. Place of publication unknown [but Slovenia: ca 1944]. Octavo (20cm). Staple-bound pictorial paper wrappers; 28pp. Front wrapper illustrated by stencil process; text mimeographed.


This very early work by the great Montenegran communist (and later dissident) intellectual appears to have been published some time after Djilas's first visit to Moscow in March, 1944; by this time, the Yugoslavian Partisan movement had begun reclaiming territory previously lost to the Axis, and the Soviet army had begun its inexorable push west, which would culminate in the Belgrade offensive of October, 1944, liberating Yugoslavia's capital and effectively putting an end to the Nazi occupation. Djilas's homage was intended to celebrate the Soviet offensive and to pave the way for an acceptance of a Soviet-style communist state in Yugoslavia. Ironically, though he would serve briefly as the Vice President of Joseph Broz Tito's new government in 1945, Djilas's greatest fame would come not from being an apologist, but rather a critic, of the state-socialist apparatus; he was imprisoned for nearly ten years under during the Tito regime, and his best-known work The New Class (1957) is a masterful analysis of the bureaucratic elite who proved to be the greatest beneficiaries of post-war communism.

Three editions of the same work (with some small textual variations noted between the two Slovenian printings), all published clandestinely by Slovenian Partisans and issued entirely without imprint or date. Despite the rustic conditions under which these pamphlets were produced -- often in (literally) underground bunkers hidden deep in the Slovenian countryside -- they exhibit an extraordinary graphic sense and attention to detail indicative of their producers' dedication, not just to the dissemination of propaganda, but also to the craft of printing. All three are exceedingly rare. OCLC notes one location (Nat. Library Slovenia) for the Italian-language version; no holdings found in OCLC, KVK for COPAC for either Slovenian edition. Branica & Pajkovic (Bibliografija izdanja u narodnooslobodila kom ratu 1941-1945) nos 4890, 4918, 4920 respectively (as cited in Pahor & Johnson, The Partisans: the Underground Society, 2017). We are indebted to booksellers Dasa Pahor and Alex Johnson for their groundbreaking primary research on these and other Slovenian Partisan pamphlets in the above-referenced work.

Price: $2,500.00

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