8vo, pp. –71,  blank; old ownership stamps to title, and another page; rust marks to a couple of pages; later boards, cloth spine, MS shelfmark to upper board.
US $341 €280
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Starik. P’esa. [The old man. A play].
First edition, written 1915, but not premiered until New Year’s Day 1919.
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[ERENBBURG, BAL’MONT, BLOK, LERMONTOV, PUSHKIN, TOLSTOY, TURGENEV, et al.]
Izbrannye stikhi russkikh poetov. Seriia sbornikov po temam. Rossiia [Selections of verse by Russian poets. A series of collections by theme. Russia].
First edition of a patriotic anthology of poems on the theme of ‘Russia’, organised chronologically from Odoevsky to Kliuev. The theme is religiously adhered to, with contributions from both dead and living authors, including, as well as those listed above, Aksakov, Bely, Soloviev, Fofanov, Sologub, Briusov, Vyacheslav Ivanov, Sasha Cherny, etc. Ehrenburg was then in exile in Paris, and the two poems by him here (written 1912-3) appear for the first time in Russia.
First edition of Kundera’s first novel, The Joke, which gives a satirical account of the political atmosphere in Czechoslovakia in the 1950s. It tells the story of a young Communist whose life is ruined because of a harmless, joking reference to Trotsky in a postcard to his girlfriend. The Joke, together with all Kundera’s books, was banned after the Soviet invasion in 1968. A film adaptation by Jaromil Jireš with Kundera’s approval, also 1968, was similarly banned.