8vo, pp. 197, ; the odd page lightly spotted, but a very good copy in contemporary or early dark blue cloth; printed label pasted to the blank first recto: ‘This copy, no. , belongs to Vladimir Mikhailovich Shapiro'.
Added to your basket:
Neskuchnyi sad [Bare garden].
First edition, no. 38 of 150 copies, of a poetical collection by the émigré poet, satirist and feuilletonist Aminad Shpolyansky. A journalist during the First World War, Shpolyansky emigrated to Paris shortly afterwards. ‘With his poetry and prose … he continued the classical tradition of Russian humour with its compassion for the “small man” … Published in Paris in 1935, Don-Aminado’s book Bare garden assembled alongside poetical works, a cycle of aphorisms under the general title “The new Koz’ma Prutkov” [a fictional author invented by Aleksei Tolstoy] … brilliantly witty and wicked. He casts doubts on all moral values – brotherly love, friendship, kindness, justice’, in a manner reminiscent of both Koz’ma Prutkov and Oscar Wilde' (Literaturnaia entsiklopediia russkogo zarubezh’ia 1918-1940).
Nabokov included several characters with the name Shpolyansky in his work, and his short story ‘Zaniatoi chelovek’ (‘A Busy man’) features a sketch of ‘Don-Aminado’ under the name Graf It: ‘So here he is – a thirty-two-year-old, smallish, but broad-shouldered man, with protruding transparent ears, half-actor, half-literatus, author of topical jingles in the émigré papers over a not very witty pen name’. Others were more generous, and he was extremely popular among the Parisian émigré community, including Marina Tsvetaeva.
You may also be interested in...
L’Homme qui rit. Tome premier [- quatrième].
First edition of Hugo’s social novel set in late seventeenth-century England; the Brussels edition, which appeared simultaneously with the Paris printing.
ZAMIATIN, Evgenii Ivanovich.
Nechestivye rasskazy [Impious Tales].
First edition of a collection of eight short stories by the increasingly dissident Zamyatin, including ‘Iks’ [‘X’] and ‘Rasskaz o samom glavnom’ (‘Tale of the most essential thing’), ‘the single most important work of Zamjatin’s transitional period’ (Shane). ‘Iks’ tells the story of a deacon who joins the Bolsheviks – in love with a pretty girl called Martha, he is torn between Marxism and ‘Marthism’; the extraordinary ‘Rasskaz o samom glavnom’ depicts three worlds: that of a yellow-pink caterpillar Rhopolocera, that of peasants fighting on opposite sides of the Revolution, and that of a distant dying star.