Vítězslav Nezval: Alphabet, Prague 1926
Text by Vítezslav Nezval & illustration by Karel Teige [translation of the original 1926 Czech text]
Translation by Jindřich Toman & Matthew S. Witkowsky
Michigan Slavic Publications, Ann Arbor, 2001
Softcover, 69pp, full color
Alphabet by Vítězslav Nezval (1900-1959) is widely recognized today as a consummate Czech contribution to European modernism and a unique distillation of the creative spirit of the 1920’s. Published originally in 1926, it is a composite of experimental poetry, modern dance, and photomontage typography, by the poet Vítězslav Nezval, dancer Milča Mayerová, and typographer Karel Teige. This idiosyncratic and idiomatic work transports the reader-viewer through the discipline and fantasy of the modern age. The contributions of Karel Teige, the leading spokesperson for Devĕtsil and avant-garde ideas in interwar Czechoslovakia, has secured the book international fame in recent years. Teige’s original layout, designed to create “an optical language, a system of signs capable of embodying words in graphic figures,” has been preserved in this facsimile edition.