Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

[St Petersburg], “Otechestvo”, 1915.

Large 8vo, pp. 45 + advertisement leaf; light browning, some pages loose, in the original printed wrappers, worn and discoloured; pencilled notes on flyleaf in Russian, and the blind-stamped ownership mark of the Russian scholar and translator Robin Kemball.


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Stikhi o Rossii [Poems about Russia].

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First edition of a rare volume of poems, collected and published as a separate book by the patriotic journal Otechestvo.

‘This collection, although he did not altogether approve of Otechestvo’s tendency to make capital out of the patriotic theme (poems like On the field of Kulikovo, for instance, published without the date of writing, read very differently in 1915 than they had in 1908), “made” and “altered” Blok’s reputation for the third time. It confirmed the impression made by the “war poems” in Russkoye Slovo, setting him, finally and decisively, outside and above any particular school as a great “national” poet... The recognition of this quality in Blok’s verse at that particular time was, of course, fortuitous, yet it was important in that it confirmed him, in the eyes of others besides himself, as a man who wrote about his own country rather than a Europeanized “decadent” and, in the words of a later critic, as “the greatest and most exact recorder of the heartbeat of his decade”’ (Avril Pyman, The Life of Aleksander Blok, 1980, I, p. 219).

Ashukin p. 36; Kilgour 126; Tarasenkov p. 64.

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