In the service of socialist realism — illustrated literary books for adults as propaganda tools
In the first post-war decade the doctrine of socialist realism was mandatory in literature and all spheres of art — including book illustrations. Literature was to educate advocates of the new system. New tasks were also set for illustrations. They were to represent the most important issues and problems in Poland at the time, and present workers — the builders of socialism. Such postulates were present in articles dealing with book graphics published in the press at the time. They were successfully implemented in popular editions of literature published in the “Biblioteka Żołnierza” (“A Soldier’s Library”) and “Książka Nowego Czytelnika” (“New Readers’ Books”) series, and in some special editions. Drawings included in those publications illustrated operating factories and agricultural cooperatives, workers and farmers and work, bricklayers rebuilding the country after the havoc wreaked by war, fight against class enemies, peace demonstrations, as well as happy families and happy children. These were typical and unequivocal representations, imposing preconceived interpretations on the readers. The illustrations, closely linked to the literary text, were to strengthen its impact. The book functioned as a whole, as a new form of transmission of ideas promoted by the authorities at the time.