Exhibition “Carbon Paper Writers” presented in Denmark
01.09.2011 / 06:45
Samizdat or clandestine printing and distribution of banned literature was a necessity for the banned authors in Czechoslovakia in the 1970´s and 80´s. How did samizdat work and who were the people behind it? An exhibition on samizdat and exile literature with the subtitle The Unbearable Power of Banned Literature Behind the Iron Curtain will be presented in a number of Danish cities in 2011.
Machine called ”cyklostyl” used for printing of samizdat
The exhibition is presented by the Embassy of the Czech Republic in Copenhagen in cooperation with the unique Libri Prohibiti Library of Samizdat and Exile Literature in Prague, where the exhibition comes from. The director of the library, former dissident and political prisoner Jiří Gruntorád, started collecting and distributing books in the 1970´s and founded the library in 1990. It is worth mentioning that the Libri Prohibiti Library was nominated for registration on the UNESCO´s Memory of the World register list in 2010.
The exhibition gives an overview over the development of samizdat and exile literature in Czechoslovakia and Poland. After the Warsaw Pact Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968, a period of severe repression began. Publishing of religious-oriented literature was prevented, and the writers who had been engaged in the liberalization during the 1960´s and the Prague Spring, were banned. Many went to exile during 1968-69, others left the country or were forced to exile during the 1970´s. The books by the banned authors disappeared from the libraries and their names from the literature history books. In this period, Czech literature spread to a great extent throughout home-made samizdat-publishing houses (the two most productive ones were driven by Ludvík Vaculík and Václav Havel) or in the exile.
The exhibition shows numerous books, magazines and other materials and provides a unique opportunity to try simple samizdat machines or use typewriter with many carbon papers.