Brno: K.V.U. Alsem, 1936. First edition. Hardcover. SIGNED. Quarto [26.5 cm] in beige cloth with gilt-stamped backstrip, bound-in silk ribbon marker. Leaves unopened, as designed (the edges do not need to be cut in order to view content). Upper corners lightly snubbed, else very light wear. Each woodcut has been numbered just below in pencil, in the same hand as the number on colophon. Wordless novel told in 36 woodcuts, with 16 pages of text exposition in Czech preceding. Item #50670
Signed in pencil by Bochorakova-Dittrichova on title page. Handnumbered 77 on colophon. One of 90 copies printed on chamois paper. The remainder of the edition consisted of ten copies printed on handmade paper, for a total edition of 100 copies.
Svedove pred Brnem is an account in pictures of the unsuccessful attempt by the Swedish to take the Moravian capital city of Brno during the Thirty Years War.
Helena Bochorakova-Dittrichova (1894-1980) was the first female wordless novelist and the only woman to work in this medium during its heyday. She was born in the Moravian region of what is now the Czech Republic and spent most of her life in Brno, the Moravian capital. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Prague and in 1923 received a government scholarship to study printmaking in Paris. Bochorakova-Dittrichova's unpublished wordless novel Malí ka Na Cestách [The Artist on Her Journey] recounts this period in her life. In Paris, she first encountered the wordless novels of Flemish artist Frans Masereel, the originator of the form, and was inspired to create her own. Over the course of her long career, Bochorakova-Dittrichova published several wordless novels, along with travelogues and historical works. She also worked as a printmaker and illustrator, and was highly regarded in her native land, though largely unknown elsewhere. This changed in 2014, when the National Museum of Women in the Arts held an exhibition of her work entitled "The First Woman Graphic Novelist: Helena Bochorakova-Dittrichova," and this important artist finally began to gain global recognition. Her work, however, is still not widely available.