Small 8vo, pp. 97, ; an excellent, clean copy; in the original pink printed wrappers, minor wear to spine, a couple of small stains to upper wrapper; in a red folding cloth box with printed label; neat contemporary ownership note to title.
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О Поэзии: СборникСтатей [O poezii: Sbornik statei; ‘On poetry: A collection of essays’].
First edition of this collection of essays on poetry and the arts, by the prominent Acmeist poet Osip Mandelstam (1891–1938). ‘[Mandelstam] regarded the period during which he wrote these articles (1922-26) as the worst in his life. It was a period of decline, and in repudiating it altogether, M. took no account of the many good and genuine things he wrote at that time – notably the passages in a number of articles where he attacks the general tendency toward stagnation’ (Nadezhda Mandelstam, Hope against Hope, p. 176).
Increasingly disillusioned by the Bolshevik regime, in 1934 Mandelstam was arrested and sentenced to internal exile with his wife, the writer Nadezhda Mandelstam. Released in 1937, he was re-arrested the following year and sentenced to five years in a correction camp, but died of typhoid fever in a transit camp near Vladivostock.
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Spisok blagodeianii … [List of blessings].
First edition of the writer’s only original play. Olesha (1899–1960) is best known for the short novel Zavist’ (Envy, 1927), which was fêted by both Soviet and émigré critics and established the young writer’s reputation almost overnight. ‘A writer of great distinction, … as subtle – and sometimes as elusive – as the best representatives of that Western psychological school with which he had so many affinities, … Olesha wrote comparatively little …, and when the volume of his collected works was published in 1934, it contained all his fiction. Yet his one novel and the several short stories and plays are a more remarkable and lasting phenomenon of modern Russian literature than the many bulky tomes of more fortunate and more popular Soviet writers’ (Slonim, Soviet Russian Literature, p. 124f).
'DON-AMINADO' [pseudonym for Aminad Petrovich SHPOLIANSKII].
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).