8vo, pp. 182; in the original cloth, with dust-jacket illustrated by Grass.
US $105 €85
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First edition of Kundera’s first novel, The Joke, which gives a satirical account of the political atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. It tells the story of a young Communist whose life is ruined because of a harmless, joking reference to Trotsky in a postcard to his girlfriend. The Joke, together with all Kundera’s books, was banned after the Soviet invasion in 1968. A film adaptation by Jaromil Jireš with Kundera’s approval, also 1968, was similarly banned.
GOR’KII, Maksim, pseud. [i.e. Aleksei Maksimovich Peshkov].
Delo Artamonovykh [The Artamonov business].
First edition. ‘[Gorky’s] best novel, The Artamonov Business (1925), follows the Artamonovs through three generations, from the uneducated grandfather, a strong and enterprising, lusty patriarch who starts a small factory and builds it into a major industrial plant, to a grandson, an intellectual and revolutionary whose generation will see the end of the Artamonov business’ (Terras).