Avant-garde Visions: The Themersons and the Gaberbocchus Press (EXTENDED DEADLINE)

United Kingdom
Queen Mary University of London
Closing date for submissions: 
24 February, 2012
Event dates: 


Franciszka and Stefan Themerson (1907-1988, 1910-1988) made a significant and diverse contribution to the twentieth century’s avant-garde. Their work spans the visual arts, literature, publishing, filmmaking, theatre, music and philosophy. This conference, which will be both a scholarly and a celebratory event, will look at the ways their lives and work intersected with other figures and currents within the international avant-garde.

From their rise to prominence in their native Poland in the early 1930s, through their founding of the Gaberbocchus Press in Britain in 1948, until their deaths in 1988, the Themersons consistently championed the avant-garde, both in their own work and in the work of others. Thanks to them, key European texts by such figures as Alfred Jarry, Raymond Queneau, Anatol Stern and Pol-Dives were made accessible to English-speaking audiences. By publishing books by Kurt Schwitters and Raoul Hausmann, Oswell Blakeston, Henri Chopin, Bertrand Russell and the Themersons themselves, among others, the Gaberbocchus Press further underlined the vitality of an evolving modernist enterprise.

The organisers invite proposals for papers exploring the Themersons’ multi-disciplinary activities. Emphasis may be placed on the Themersons’ own work, their correspondents or influences, or the output of the Gaberbocchus Press, in particular text-image relations. Proposals for papers (200-300 word abstract) should be sent to the organisers by 24 February 2012. Proposals from post-graduate students are welcomed. The selected speakers will be encouraged to visit the Themerson archive, London (http://www.themersonarchive.com).


Professor Elza Adamowicz (Queen Mary, University of London ) 

Dr Barnaby Dicker (University for the Creative Arts, Farnham)

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