18mo (132 x 95 mm). 310, , 10, , 24 pages. Letterpress half-title, engraved frontispiece and ornamental title, 12 hand-colored engraved plates, by and after V. G. Grüner, tissue guards. Part 2, separately titled (Neue Tanz-Touren sammt Tanz-Musik), entirely engraved, containing 10 pages of dance diagrams and 24 pages of music for piano. Original publisher’s lithographic pictorial boards, showing a Venice carnival scene on the front cover and a Roman bacchanalia on the back cover, backstrip with parallel lines and title, silk flap at top of lower cover, edges stained green (narrow stain to upper edges of covers, slight scuffing to joints, a corner bumped).***
Only edition of a beautifully preserved Carnival-themed literary almanac printed in Prague, illustrated with 12 hand-colored plates of costumed figures and delightful pictorial covers.
Two dozen authors, some well-known, contributed the almanac’s poems, short stories, and essays on Carnival. Responsible for the longest section, titled Carnivals-Spenden, was Austrian folklore historian and writer Julius Max Schottky (1797-1849), who prefaced his short history of Carnival, and comparative descriptions of Carnival customs in Venice, Florence, Rome, Naples, Paris, and German, with disapproving remarks on current dance styles, which he finds excessively restrained, comparing them to an unnamed Central American people who danced to express sadness. The energetic dances included in the almanac were evidently intended to improve this state of affairs.
The contributions include the first piece, “In defense of Carnival,” by Friedrich Nork (pseudonym of Josef Ferdinand Friedrich Korn); a long poem by the poet and novelist Eduard Duller, a memoir by the jurist, politican and writer Jodocus Temme, writing under the pseudonym H. Stahl; a story by the prolific writer Wilhelmine von Gersdorff; and a comical poem (Schwank) by the humorist August Friedrich Ernst Langbein. The choreographers of the ten diagrammed dances were the dance masters A. Küffel and M. Weininger. (Thanks to this almanac, apparently, they are occasionally still performed!) The composers of the piano pieces (a polonaise, a quadrille, a waltz, a mazurka, a galop ...) include the editor Schiessler, the bohemian Jan August Vitásek, Bed ich Diviš Weber, first director of the Prague Conservatory, and Carl Maria von Weber, whose final Eccosaise, composed in 1812, was printed from an album amicorum, “still in manuscript.”
Vincenz Raimund Grüner (1771-1832), a writer and engraver active in Vienna and Prague (immortalized by a fleeting association with Goethe), engraved the twelve colorful plates (Maskenbilder) and the frontispiece depicting a crowded and rowdy masked ball, flanked by columns with figures of Pierrot and Harlequin. Ranging from demure to fantastic, some of the plates show double figures (young girl and widow, worldly woman and peasant girl), one combines two women with the legs of two men, another is a semi-human parrot holding a double-headed jester’s bauble, others are simply indescribable — until one realizes that they are emblems, to be deciphered by the reader, with the help of “enigmatic explanations” (rätselhaften Erklärungen) provided on pp. 299-304, with the answers given on the last page.
OCLC gives 3 US locations. Lanckoronska & Rümann, Geschichte der deutschen Taschenbücher und Almanache aus der klassisch-romantischen Zeit, 215; H. Köhring, Bibliographie der Almanache, Kalender und Taschenbücher, 38; Goedeke VIII, 122.323; Krieg, Mehr nicht erschienen, Supplement, 149. On Grüner see Thieme-Becker 15:131. Item #4143