Hlasy bez rámů. Krajské nakladatelství Růže ve věku konkrétní iracionality
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Voices outside the Frames: Růže, a Regional Publishing House in an Age of Tangible Irrationality
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This article discusses a chapter in the post-war history of regional cultural institutions, in the context of their special standing in the State arts policy of the period. The article uses the examples of Růže, a publishing house of the České Budějovice region, and the Aleš Gallery of South Bohemia (Alšova jihočeská galerie) in Hluboká nad Vltavou, to document the conflicts between regional arts institutions and political power even in the 1960s, the most relaxed decade of the Communist regime. The article focuses mainly on the efforts of the Růže publishing house and the Aleš Gallery to revive the traditions of modernist and avant-garde art, which the regime at that time perceived to be so dangerous that the solution of the scandals they had provoked required the attention of the highest levels of power. The main part of the book describes the scandal and subsequent banning of Hlasy bez rámů (Voices outside the frames, 1964), a volume of essays responding to gallery visitors’ condemnation of modern painting and sculpture. The author, however, first provides an outline of the history of regional publishing houses in Communist Czechoslovakia, particularly Růže. Its activity in the 1960s, in comparison with the usual publishing practices of this period, appears to have been remarkable in several respects, which the author demonstrates with the example of the paperback editions Česká čtyrkorunovka (Czech reading for four crowns), Česká četba (Czech reading), and Statečná srdce (Brave hearts), in which the editors succeeded in combining commercial aims (ensuring the publishing house relatively exceptional autonomy at that time) with an effort to return some taboo authors and values to literature.
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