The largest collection of Dadaist texts ever assembled by the movement
[DADA]. HUELSENBECK, Richard. Dada Almanach. Im Auftrag Des Zentralamts Der Deutschen Dada-Bewegung. Berlin: Erich Reiss, 1920.
Small 8vo. (183 x 132 mm). Original photo-illustrated card wrappers; pp. 159, , 8 b/w photo plates; ex-libris the National Art Library, V&A, with its neat de-accession stamp to the foot of the verso of the front wrapper; closed tear to the foot of p. 39, expertly repaired, light browning to the fore-edges, very light scattered spotting to the wrappers and the first and last few leaves, otherwise a very good copy. Provenance: "Austin Desmond" in pencil to inside of front cover, possibly the London 20th century art dealer.
Published in the wake of the First International Dada Fair in Berlin, this was the first anthology of Dadaist writing and contains contributions by such important authors as Tristan Tzara, Hugo Ball and Hans Arp. It includes theoretical writing, poetry, polemic and flashes of unclassifiable brilliance. Huelsenbeck himself was one of the founding spirits of Dada, having worked with Ball in Berlin during the Great War organising pacifist meetings and readings of 'Negro' poetry, much to the shock of the local population. Huelsenbeck's own poetry was generally anti-war, anti-literature and very much pro-drums, whistles and loud noises. Despite this artistic background, and his place in compiling this highly important collection of avant garde writing, Huelsenbeck ended his career practising as a psychiatrist in Long Island under the name of Charles R. Hulbeck.
This book fulfils the criteria of an almanac, thus purporting the Dada movement to be an 'established' and well-organised cultural force. The introduction by Huelsenbeck is followed by the Chronique Zurichoise, a chronology of Dadaist manifestations, events and scandals from November 1915 to October 1919. Manifestos and core texts of these early days of the counter-cultural movement are reprinted, in order to turn this compilation into a reference work on, and anthology of, Dada.