082 Erich Mühsam
082 Erich Mühsam
Berlin: Verlag der Syndikalist, 1925
100 pp., small 8vo. Sewn signatures, bound in photo-illustrated wrappers. German text. Dichter und Rebellen Band 1. Oversized wrappers worn, chipped, and torn at edges; binding tender in a few spots but intact, with a few page edges still uncut.
Signed by the author on the title page, with an additional non-authorial gift inscription.
Erich Mühsam — anarchist poet, essayist, playwright, cabaret performer, and activist — was arrested for the first time in 1918, for his antiwar agitation. Soon after being freed, he became integrally involved in the Bavarian Council Republic, a short-lived socialist state under the helm of Ernst Toller that declared independence from the Weimar Republic in April 1919.
When the Weimar army crushed the Council Republic later that year, Mühsam’s friend and mentor Gustav Landauer was killed, and Mühsam himself arrested again, and sentenced to fifteen years in prison, though he was freed by a general amnesty after serving five years. (Ironically, Hitler was released from prison in the same amnesty; Mühsam was an early and relentless critic and satirizer of the Nazis, and one of the first to be rounded up, within a few hours of the Reichstag fire, in February 1933. After seventeen months in a succession of concentration camps, he was murdered in Oranienburg on the night of July 9, 1934.)
This stirring volume, a selection from twenty years of his writings, was published by a workers’ press to celebrate his 1924 release (and to inaugurate a new series, Poets and Rebels, which was intended to feature Toller, John Henry Mackay, Landauer, Tolstoi, Gorky, Whitman, and others); it includes poetry and prose, and a selection of recent prison writings at the end.
There is a remote chance that the Robert Deutsch who presented this signed copy to his aunt in February 1925 is related to Mila Deutsch, with whom Mühsam had an affair in 1919, but it has not been possible to verify that conjecture.
A scarce collection, especially so signed.