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ČAPEK, Karel.

Továrna na absolutno. (The Absolute at Large.)


Brno: Polygraphie, 1922 Stock Code: 139802
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"In a few decades' time we will manage to create a war which is even greater..."

First edition, first printing, inscribed by the author on the first blank to the young actress Táňa Čuprová (b.1900) and dated in the year of publication. The recipient is noted in the Czech National Theatre archives as having started work there in this year, going on to become art director from 1945. It was at the Prague National Theatre that Čapek's famous play Rossum's Universal Robots had debuted in 1921.

Továrna na absolutno was Čapek's first novel, and noted as "one of the genuine masterpieces" of the genre (Science Fiction Studies, 7, vol. 2, part 3, November 1975, ed. R. D. Mullen). Set in 1943, it imagines the invention of a seemingly utopian energy reactor which annihilates matter to produce an abundance of cheap energy. As an unexpected by-product, however, vast quantities of "the absolute" are released, racking the minds of men with religious and nationalistic fervour and precipitating a global war. Writing in the shadow of the First World War, Čapek imagined the next war over the horizon: "you should not listen to those people when they proudly say what they lived through was the greatest war of all time. We all know, of course, that in a few decades' time we will manage to create a war which is even greater." The illustrations and book-design are by the author's brother Josef, who was to die in a concentration camp in 1945.

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Octavo. Original wrapper, titles blue to spine, front wrapper with titles and design in blue and orange.


Decorative title page printed in blue and black, 20 full page black and white illustrations.


Small chip to wrappers at head of spine, and some light creasing to spine and around joint folds, neatly repaired closed tear to front joint from the head, first gathering discreetly reattached. Some leaves loose as issued. Very good condition.


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