”My dear Miss Glory, Robots are not people. They are mechanically more perfect than we are, they have an astounding intellectual capacity, but they have no soul... They learn to speak, write, and do arithmetic. They have a phenomenal memory. If one read them the Encyclopedia Britannica they could repeat everything back in order, but they never think up anything original. They'd make fine university professors...”
”Robots of the world, you are ordered to exterminate the human race. Do not spare the men. Do not spare the women. Preserve only the factories, railroads, machines, mines, and raw materials. Destroy everything else. Then return to work. Work must not cease...”
SCARCE FIRST EDITION IN ORIGINAL WRAPPERS OF ČAPEK’S SCIENCE FICTION CLASSIC, THE WORK THAT INTRODUCED THE WORD “ROBOT” TO THE WORLD.
“The first work to bring Čapek world renown was R.U.R.: Rossum’s Universal Robots, a ‘collective drama’ about artificial people, the robots of the title. This original play quickly circled the world, became the basis for film adaptations and, thanks to the play’s success, the word ‘robot’ (invented for Čapek’s by his brother) entered the world’s languages. It’s often considered a utopian work, but in fact Čapek merely used a utopian theme for a much more serious purpose... The fundamental message of the play is: estrangement between people and the products they create ends in catastrophe” (Ivan Klima, Karel Čapek: Life and Work).
The word “robot” - used here for the first time - was derived by Čapek and his brother from the Czech word “robota”, meaning “forced labor."
Note: This 1920 first edition in the original Czech precedes the play’s premier in Prague in early 1921. It was soon performed in New York (1922) and issued in an English translation in 1923. Although the colophon states that 2000 copies were printed, it’s scarcity suggests that the print run may not have been completed.
Pragus [Praha]: Aventinum, 1920. Octavo, original brown/lavender decorated wrappers; custom box. Some minor archival restoration at the extreme wrapper edges. Rubbing and creases to wrapper extremities; patches of foxing and fading to rear wrapper.
A VERY RARE FIRST EDITION OF AN EXTREMELY INFLUENTIAL WORK.
Price: $4,000 .