Povesti i razskazy … v trekh chastiakh [Stories and tales … in three parts] …

Moscow, Stepanova, 1853.

3 vols., 12mo (with three half-sheets to a gathering); contents leaf at the end of vol. II; in Russian contemporary cloth, spines lettered gilt with the Cyrillic initials ‘I.P.’ at foot; spines a little faded, some wear, but overall in very good condition.

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Very rare first collected edition of the works of Pisemsky, including the first appearance in book form of many of his acclaimed early stories (Tiufiak (The Muff, translated into English as The Simpleton), Pitershchik (The Petersburger), Mr Batmanov, Brak po strasti (Marriage by Passion), and Komik (The Comic Actor), together with his first play, Ipokhondrik (The Hypochondriac).

Pisemsky (1821-81), together with Dostoevsky and Turgenev, was one of the founders of Russian realism. He ‘…was in his own time regarded as much more characteristically Russian than his more cultured contemporaries. And this is true, Pisemsky was in much closer touch with Russian life, in particular with the life of the uneducated middle and lower classes, than were the more genteel novelists. He was, together with Ostróvsky. and before Leskóv, the first to open that wonderful gallery of Russian characters of non-noble birth which is one of the greatest things in Russian literature yet to be discovered by the West. Pisemsky’s great narrative gift, and exceptionally strong grip on reality make him one of the best Russian novelists’ (Mirsky).

While French and German versions had already appeared by the end of the nineteenth century, much of Pisemsky’s work still awaits translation into English.

Not in Kilgour, although there is a copy at Harvard. OCLC adds two further copies, at Wisconsin and the British Library.

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