"Poet of the Cosmos"

This image appears alongside a story about a poet who abandons political parties for the vast, boundless space of the cosmos. Frustrated with his country and its politics, he uses his imagination to fly into space, the natural domain of poets, where the stars and planets listen to his words in amazement. Suddenly, however, the devil appears and kidnaps the poet, bringing the planets’ reverie to an end. The unfortunate poet is compared to a bat, and at the story’s end we learn that his fate was to become a “singer” for the journal Nishaduri.

Nishaduri was a Georgian journal of political satire that launched in 1907 and was closed in 1908 on order of the Governor-General of Tbilisi.The caricature and the story depict the journal’s publisher, Valerian Gunia, a public figure who made great contributions to the development of Georgian theater, journalism, and publishing. In this way, the story and the image suggest that Georgian talent is victimized by censorship.

The bat is a reference to the Georgian poem "The Bat"  by Akaki Tsereteli, a writer, publisher, and public figure. The poem tells the story of a mouse who wished to become a bird. The wish came true, and the mouse was given wings and started to fly. However, the birds were afraid of such an unusual creature and drove it away. When the bat returned home, it was also rejected by the other mice..At the end of the poem the bat’s misfortune is generalized: anyone who decides to leave their homeland will wind up ignored, rejected and unworthy.

Image: The National Parliamentary Library of Georgia