SOVIET SCI-FI SATIRE

Iprit. Roman. Vypusk I [– IX] [Mustard Gas. A novel. Parts I–IX].

Moscow, Gosizdat, [1925].

Nine parts, as issued, small 8vo; each part uncut in the original illustrated wrappers by Boris Titov; leaves a little browned, spines chipped, but a very good set; private ownership stamps to a few pages; preserved in a cloth box.

£2500

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Iprit. Roman. Vypusk I [– IX] [Mustard Gas. A novel. Parts I–IX].

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First edition, a complete set of a rare satirical science fiction novel, issued serially. Ivanov (1895–1963) and Shklovsky (1893–1984) both had connections to the literary group the Serapion Brothers, who upheld the creed that art must be independent of political ideology. Iprit is a parody of Soviet science fiction, involving a deadly new gas designed for use in a future world war. Ivanov and Shklovsky both later capitulated to the Soviet demands of realistic art.

‘In the 1920s [they] were young, talented and angry. The new aesthetic, morality and philosophy were likewise young and uncompromising. Ivanov and Shklovsky believed the Kremlin to be the source of the scarlet, life-giving blood which could renew the world, but it was being drained away by the City of London … They did not like this, and they blamed it on the world revolution’ (from the 2005 edition, the first to be published in Russia since 1929).

Getty 274 (part 5 only, misattributing the cover design to S. B. Telingator); Hellyer 157; not in MoMA.

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