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PIE # 69 - 120 K duplicator hours--underground printing in communist Poland 1976-1990

(14.04.2012) Gwido Zlatkes


What began as pages typed on onionskin with carbon paper and passed around among friends by the end of 1980s evolved into a sizable underground industry. Printers, "black revolutionaries," are the unsung heroes of this revolution. Whereas virtually all historical writing on Poland under communism pays tribute to (and abundantly quotes from) underground publications, there is very little information on how they came about, their actual production. My presentation will concentrate on mundane and technical aspects of independent publishing: printing techniques, equipment used, access to the equipment and supplies, organization and conditions of work, innovations and inventions, distribution networks, security measures, etc. During the 1970s and 1980s Gwido Zlatkes was involved in alternative "student" theater, and in the "Solidarity" movement as a journalist for underground press. He is presently a reference librarian in Special Collections & Archives, University of California, Riverside, where he also teaches letterpress printing and the history of the book.

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