[Vol. 1, Nos. 1 and 2.]London: Sylvia Pankhurst, and printed by Agenda Press Ltd, 1923 Stock Code: 137508
NotesVery rare complete run of Sylvia Pankhurst's strikingly illustrated revolutionary socialist journal Germinal, a short-lived publication of which just two issues were printed. Just four institutions are recorded as having complete runs (none with single issues): Library Hub lists the British Library and the Institut national d'histoire de l'Art; WorldCat adds the National Library of Wales and Trinity College Dublin. Suffrage historian Elizabeth Crawford notes that both issues are "extremely scarce. In 30 years of book-selling I have only found one other copy" (Catalogue 180, 2013).
Named after Emile Zola's novel, Germinal was founded with the Italian anarchist Silvio Corio, a trained printer and typographer with whom she would later have a long term relationship. Aimed at a working-class audience, the journal - and, by extension, "The Germinal Circle" - was "intended to assist in the artistic expression of current thought, in order to bring art into contact with daily life" (first issue), rendering it a "fuller expression" of Pankhurst's "interest in the interrelations between political identities and imaginative representations" (Shiach, p. 103) which had first surfaced in her earlier newspaper, The Workers' Dreadnought.
Each issue is introduced by Pankhurst and features fiction by Maxim Gorky ("Comrades" and "Her Lover"), drama by Ernst Toller ("The German Hobbleman"), and poetry by Anna Akhmatova, Alexander Blok, and Pankhurst herself ("London Night", "The Workgirl", "Germinal"), among many other contributions. Several advertisement appear, including those for learning Esperanto (in which Pankhurst became very interested), for Molinari's Restaurant, for the Agenda Press and the Students' Bookshop Limited.
The distinctive cover designs are by Ludovic Rodo Pissarro (1878-1952), son of Camille Pissarro. An anarchist like his father, Rodo participated in the first Fauve exhibition at the Salon des Indépendents and produced wood engravings for several politically motivated journals like Germinal; some of his first were published in Le Père Peinard, and during his years in England he contributed to The Apple, Satire, and The Worker's Dreadnought. Later he became best-known for his contributions to art history, most notably for his compilation of the catalogue raisonné of his father's paintings.
The numerous other illustrations were provided by like-minded artists such as: the radical Maurice Becker (1889-1975); American feminist, socialist, and political cartoonist Cornelia Baxter Barns (1888-1941); British Impressionist painter Amy Katherine Browning (1881-1978 - a friend of Pankhurst, with whom she created an art exhibition for the WSPU in 1909); portrait artist Herbert Cole (1867-1930 - the staff artist for the WSPU who, like Pankhurst, had studied at Manchester School of Art); Hugo Gellert (1892-1985 - considered to have produced some of the best political artwork of the early 20th century); Arts and Crafts painter Joseph Southall (1861-1944); English artist and occultist Austin Osman Spare (1886-1956 - who had a particularly strong relationship with Pankhurst), and French costume designer Marcel Vertès (1895-1961). The second issue of Germinal notes that "prints and originals of the drawings appearing in Germinal may in some cases be obtained from the artists".
2 issues, quarto. Original pictorial colour wrappers, wire-stitched.
Errata leaf laid in at rear of No. 1. With woodcuts and illustrations by Maurice Becker, Cornelia Barnes, Amy K. Browning, Herbert Cole, Hugo Gellert, Emerich Gondor, M. C. Haythorne, F. S. Manner, Wyndham Payne, Grace Potter, Ludovic Rodo (including two
Contents browned and creased, a few gatherings pulling away from rusted staples but remaining firmly bound, one discreet Japanese tissue repair to verso of second issue's cover. Overall in very good condition, the colours of the first issue's cover especially bright and clean.
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