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CONSTRUCTIVIST GLANCE ON LENINGRAD AS THE MODEL CITY] Za obraztsovyi sotsialisticheskii Leningrad [i.e. For the Exemplary Socialistic Leningrad]

Maliuga, E. 80 pp.: ill. 15,5x23 cm. In original photomontage wrappers. Near fine, neatly restored. One of 15000 copies. Extremely rare. One of the main books on constructivist architecture of Leningrad. The book is the lesser known masterpiece of constructivist design, with multiple photomontage illustrations, the variations of fonts and uneven layouts. The designer responsible is Leningrad-based Nikolai Muratov (1908-1992), who is better known for his caricatures in 1930s and anti-fascist posters during the war. Photographs are taken by Semen Magaziner (1886-1940), the classic of Leningrad photography, in 1912 he became the first person to bird's eye view photos of St. Petersburg . This edition shows the process of Leningrad becoming the socialist city. The phenomenon of the socialist city itself intended to be the collective living area which made daily pursuits easier and safer because everything was well-organized and based on the technical progress. Called after the first party leader, Leningrad was one of the key cities in industrialization changes. The city dwellers obtained the kitchen factories with mechanized bakery-machines and dishwashers, mechanized laundries, bathhouses, new schools, kindergartens and nurseries. The systems of water supply and filtering, sewerage, electric power and gas supply were organized as well as the new areas for leisure time. All changes are neatly put in order one by one, reflected in the text and photographs. Also, the book gained the constructivist-style laconic chapters, some of them are named 'The City Wants to Drink', 'Leningrad Is Having Lunch', 'The City Transport Outdrives the Industry'. Worldcat doesn't track this edition.
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LISSITZKY] Vladimir Mayakovsky : (“Misteriia” ili “Buff”) [i.e. Vladimir Mayakovsky : (“Mystery” or “Bouffe”)]

Ivanov-Razumnik, R. 56 pp. 22,5x15 cm. In original illustrated wrappers with letterpress design. Restored spine, copy faded, otherwise very good. First separate edition. A stunning letterpress design on the front cover was created by El Lissitzky in Berlin period. The crossword motif appeared on several book covers he produced. Here the artist put the vertical line of alphabet cross the horizontal lines of author's name and title. Later the book 'For the Voice' (1923) featured the crossword design on the cover and the vertical line of the index on inside. This is devastating criticism of the Russian futurism and his creator, blaming Mayakovsky in primitive performing of ideas he announced. Occasionally the author complimented Mayakovsky and called him "a heavy truck of the Russian poetry" for the hard work on the truly machine, realistic rhymes. The book was written by the critic Razumnik Ivanov-Razumnik (1878-1946), Tiflis born leader of the pre-revolutionary literary group 'Skify' (Scythians) that were close enough to the Left Socialist Revolutionaries. A little earlier he published this work in the collection 'The Old and New Art' (1921), printing it among the theatre criticism articles. MoMA 412. Worldcat shows the copies in Library of Congress, Yale University, Getty Institute, University of California, University of Kansas, Indiana University, Harvard College, University of Colorado Boulder, Duke University, Syracuse University, Yivo Institute for Jewish Research, Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
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LEARNING TO FANTASIZE LIKE CHERNIKHOV] Iskusstvo nachertania [i.e. The Art of Graphic Representation]

Chernikhov, Y.G. 77, [3] pp.: ill. 18x13 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Near fine copy. Tiny tear of the spine. First edition of the first book. Yakov Chernikhov (1889-1951) was one of the most unusual and innovative talents of the time, known for his Architectural Fantasies, and here are these fantasies in the making. This is a textbook on a special subject developed Chernikhov himself, which he called «the art of graphic representation». It was not a drawing textbook, as one might understand from the title. Under the old-fashioned title Chernikhov meant something very modern. It is about graphic, spatial, and abstract compositions, and seeks to encourage students to use lines, planes, and solid to express beauty and movement without depicting anything known or recognizable, experimenting with all the boundless possibilities open to them. This book was designed for beginners, for people who had not so far been involved in drawing, and not burdened with education at all. It was this kind of youth that filled the Soviet secondary and higher educational institutions in the 1920s. The more amazing is Cherninov's task that he brought up on himself. His architectural fantasies have not lost their nutritive power to this day and serve a powerful source of inspiration. Publications like this were very unusual, since for the previous fifteen years, modern art had been used to express slogans, manifestoes, and statements of principle. The essence of Chernikhov's first book, as well as the remaining unnoticed by critics, was revolutionary in relation to the academic school of architectural drawing, which he himself passed. Not recognized by contemporaries, a unique textbook on the development of spatial thinking has not lost its significance even today. Later, he was reproached in the formalistic approach, the poor presentation of the theory but the graphics were always praised. Worldcat locates copies at Cleveland Library, Getty Research Institute, NYPL.
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IZORAM] Izo ?rabochei? molodezhi ?Leningrada: (Katalog) [i.e. The Art of Leningrad’s Working Youth. Catalogue]

68, [3] pp.: ill. 16?14 cm. In original wrappers. Few tears of the spine, otherwise a very good copy. First and only edition. One of 2000 copies. Very rare. Illustrated with 11 photogravures. Two-color avant-garde wrappers attributed to Ilya Chasnik. This catalogue was published on the occasion of an art exhibition at the Tretyakov Gallery in 1929 that displayed works by young artists of Izoram coalition. Exactly in 1928 Izoram (Art Workshops of Proletariat Youth) was created, a coalition included nearly 80 amateur art groups. The ideologist and the official head of the movement, which envisioned the search for a new realism and the creation of the ''art of the workers'' - Moisei Brodsky. "Izoram was closely associated with the left avant-garde. Suprematists and students of Kazimir Malevich, E. Krimmer, K. Rozhdestvensky, I. Chashnik, L. Yudin took part in the group's activities. Belonging to the Left circle, this group was focused not so much on Fauvism, Expressionism and Cubism, , as on the painting of purists" (Savitsky). Introductory essays include "Izoram and Amateur Art" by A.A. Fedorov-Davydov, "A Bit of History" by S.K. Isakov, "Our Experience and Achievements" by Moisei Brodsky. These articles serve as a great source of information about that unique formation. Articles are followed by the catalogue itself which includes 186 titles. A list of illustrations is given at the end. Overall, a very interesting and insightful edition of not only a catalogue of the art exhibition but also information about one of the art groups of the most dynamic period of Russian avant-garde. Worldcat locates a copy at Getty Research Institute.
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RODCHENKO DESIGN] Chudesa stroitel’nogo iskusstva / per. c fr. s dop. Pod red. E.V. Blizniaka [i.e. Wonders of Construction Art / Translated from French with Additions. Ed. by E.V. Blizniak

Fournier, L. 230 pp.: ill. 17x11 cm. In publisher's photomontage wrappers. Very good. Spine is restored, front cover is rubbed, contemporary owner's marking on the title page. First and only edition. One of 7080 copies. Very rare. Constructivist cover design by Alexander Rodchenko. The book describes various structures built in Western countries: bridges, canals, dams, tunnels, subways and other gigantic structures, as well as bridge construction and tunneling in the USSR. It consists of nine chapters each dedicated to one kind of structure. Last chapter by professor P.A. Velikhov was dedicated to bridge and tunnel construction in USSR. The information is general but provides many names of people involved in bridge engineering of the time. It also interesting to see a pretty poor state of the infrastructure on the brink of the first pyatiletka (five-year plan), especially in comparison with described in the book infrastructures of other countries. To show materials which may be helpful for engineers was one of intentions of this publication by the editor Evgeny Bliznyak (1881-1958), Russian and Soviet professor, hydrologist and hydro technician, head of Volga-Don Canal project and construction. He was also a compiler of GOELRO plan. Pavel Apollonovich Velikhov (1875-1930), Russian and Soviet scientist in the field of structural mechanics and bridge construction, professor. He was executed in 1930 during the Stalinist repression. WorldCat locates one copy at Yale University.
TWO DRAWINGS DEPICTING "ONE OF THE GREATEST INSTANCES OF STUPIDITY"]

TWO DRAWINGS DEPICTING “ONE OF THE GREATEST INSTANCES OF STUPIDITY”]

1835. 16.5x22.6; 15.6x22.3cm. Two pencil drawings mounted on plain paper with date and title captioned in English. A very good condition. Unidentified artist (signature E.C. in the left bottom corner). Rare historical evidence of one of the most famous fires in the 19th century England. The views of the destruction of both Houses of Parliament from Abington and Surrey side on the night of the 16th October 1834. One of the most disastrous fires in the history of England was caused by the unsupervised burning of two large cartloads of wooden tally sticks (a form of medieval tax receipt) in the heating furnaces. Warning signs were persistently ignored by the Housekeeper and Clerk of Works, and the Prime Minister would later declare the catastrophe, 'one of the greatest instances of stupidity upon record'. A huge fireball exploded out of the building at around 6.30pm, immediately attracting hundreds of thousands of people. The conflagration was fought by parish engines, insurance companies and the private London Fire Engine Establishment. Hundreds of volunteers, including MPs and Peers, staffed the pumps on the night, and were paid in beer for their efforts. The fire lasted for most of the night and destroyed a large part of the palace, including the converted St Stephen's Chapel - the meeting place of the House of Commons - the Lords Chamber, the Painted Chamber and the official residences of the Speaker and the Clerk of the House of Commons. The damage to the wrecked Palace was estimated at £2 million. No-one however was prosecuted, though the public inquiry found various people guilty of negligence and foolishness. The fire ultimately resulted in the establishment of the first public London Fire Brigade and the creation of a National Archives for the United Kingdom. Interestingly, at the time people perceived the blaze as a judgement from God for the passing of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834 which completely abolished the system of providing support to the poor. The Palace was rebuilt in the Neo-Gothic style by the architects Charles Barry (1795-1860) and Augustus Pugin (1812-1852) in the mid-19th century.
ATLAS OF BORIS DORN'S SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION] Atlas k puteshestviyu B.A. Dorna po Kavkazu i Yuzhnomu poberezh'yu Kaspiyskogo moray/ Izdaniye Imperatorskogo Russkogo Arkheologicheskogo Obshchestva [i.e. Travels of B.A. Dorn around the Caucasus and Southern Coast of the Caspian Sea/ Produced by the Russian Imperial Archaeological Society]

ATLAS OF BORIS DORN’S SCIENTIFIC EXPEDITION] Atlas k puteshestviyu B.A. Dorna po Kavkazu i Yuzhnomu poberezh’yu Kaspiyskogo moray/ Izdaniye Imperatorskogo Russkogo Arkheologicheskogo Obshchestva [i.e. Travels of B.A. Dorn around the Caucasus and Southern Coast of the Caspian Sea/ Produced by the Russian Imperial Archaeological Society]

[2], 9 pp., 44 ill. 42x29.8 cm. Period half-leather with gilt lettering on the spine. Slightly worn, but generally in very good condition. Scarce. First edition. This album of monochrome lithographs displays views and linguistic material collected during one of the most important expeditions to the Caucasus and the Southern shore of the Caspian Sea at the time. In 1860 the Imperial Academy of Sciences decided to send Boris Dorn (1805-1881) - a German orientalist specializing in the history and the languages of Iran, Russia and Afghanistan - on a scientific trip to Southern Caucasus. Primary objective of the expedition was to collect information about oriental languages, culture, manuscripts, coins and other rarities: "Many secrets that cannot be explained here will be uncovered during the expedition.and many riddles that seem inexplicable will finally be solved" (B.D). Dorn left St. Petersburg on the 17th of August 1860 and embarked upon a 10-month journey to Azerbaijan, Georgia, Persia, Uzbekistan and Dagestan. A scientific report of the expedition was first published in German in a Bulletin de l'Ac. Imp. Des Sciences de St. P., 1861. The Russian translation was printed as a separate edition (A Report on a Scientific Trip to the Caucasus and the Southern Coast of the Caspian Sea) the same year. In spite of Dorn's multiple attempts to issue an atlas illustrating scientific results of the expedition, the endeavor could not be completed during his life and the atlas was published posthumously under the supervision of the Russian Imperial Archaeological Society in 1895. The first section of the edition features 20 positions produced by the artist Karl Gippius (he was accompanying Dorn during the expedition) and showing rare views of Baku, Madzhalis (Dagestan), Derbent (Dagestan) and Kubachi (Dagestan). The lithographs depict cemeteries in Derbent and Baku, a number of caravanserais and gravestones in Azerbaijan and Dagestan, Siniggala and Bibi-Heybat mosques and Pir Mardakan monument in Azerbaijan. There is also a lithograph displaying one of the biggest discoveries of the voyage, a grave of the German explorer Samuel Gmelin (1744-1774) who tragically died during an expedition to the Caucasus (Gmelin died of fever and starvation when his expedition was captured by the Nogai Khan Usmey-Asmir-Amzy). Dorn's intention to "erect a monument on the forgotten grave of a worthy person who fell victim to science" was fulfilled in 1861, when he managed to find the lost grave and erected a wooden cross over it. The first section of the atlas, among other interesting materials, offers 45 Kubachian reliefs depicting figural subjects, floral ornaments and fantastic beasts. The second section of the atlas comprises Arabic and Persian inscriptions found in Persia and Dagestan: "On our way we (Dorn and Gippius) examined Islamic monuments and wrote down inscriptions from them. The most wonderful ones my companion transferred to paper". The dates of the inscriptions range from the 12th century to the 18th century with the earliest one of them being an Arabic inscription on the gravestone of Qadi Abu-l-Qassim in Amol, Mazanderan (1120). Majority of the inscriptions come from caravanserais and tombs and mention builders or cite excerpts from Koran. The second section of the atlas also features 8 Arabic inscriptions from Kubachi. The third and final section of the atlas presents 14 inscriptions (in Sanskrit/Punjabi) found in the Zoroastrian Fire Temple - Ateshgah (Baku). A surviving proof of the ancient relationship between India and Azerbaijan, the old monastery traces its origins to Zoroastrianism which was practiced in Azerbaijan from the first millennium BC. The current temple was built in the 17th-18th centuries in the place of a Zoroastrian sanctuary (which existed until the introduction of Islam) by the Indian pilgrims who visited Azerbaijan for the Silk Road Trade and erected the temple as a site for practicing religious ceremonies. The inscriptions in the temple in Sanskrit and Punjabi identify the site as a place of Hindu and Sikh worship, and state it was built and consecrated for Jwala Ji, the modern Hindu fire deity. The inscriptions were sketched by Doctor Kirsten who assisted Dorn during his expedition. Overall the atlas provides a vivid insight into the scientific outcomes of Dorn's expedition.
HOMOPHOBIA VS PHILANTHROPY] Puteshestviye miss Marsden v Yakutskuyu oblast' i poseshcheniye yeyu prokazhennykh [i.e. Miss Marsden's Journey to Yakutia and Her Visits to Lepers]

HOMOPHOBIA VS PHILANTHROPY] Puteshestviye miss Marsden v Yakutskuyu oblast’ i poseshcheniye yeyu prokazhennykh [i.e. Miss Marsden’s Journey to Yakutia and Her Visits to Lepers]

XII, 77 pp., 10 ill., map. 22.3x16cm. Period half-leather binding. Worn, lower part of the spine lacks a fragment, pre-revolutionary private library stamp (The Library of Prokhorov) on the title-page and p.12. Otherwise in a very good condition. Extremely scarce first edition of the first account of Kate Marsden's travel to Yakutia. Her own book came out in English in 1892. The book tells a story of Kate Marsden (1859-1931), a British missionary, explorer and nursing heroine who trekked thousands of miles across Siberia to find a cure for leprosy. This, at the time, unprecedented journey for a European woman was made 13 years after Kate's first encounter with the disease in Bulgaria (Marsden was sent there to take care of the Russian wounded during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877/1878): "The emotions aroused by the sight of two poor, mutilated, and helpless Bulgarians cannot be fully described. my mission in life is to minister to those who received the smallest attention and care of all God's creatures". Kate decided to focus her missionary work on Yakutia (and particularly Viluisk) when she heard about the existence of an unspecified herb that was rumored to help treat leprosy and the horrific conditions under which Russian lepers were compelled to live: "Once a man is known to be tainted with leprosy he is thrust out from his people, and driven away, as if he were some noxious animal, into a lonely spot in the forest, or on the marshes, where he is doomed to a living death". Arriving to Moscow in November 1890, Marsden managed to arrange an audience with the Tsaritsa who gave her a letter encouraging all to assist Marsden with her plans to investigate leprosy in the region and find a medical relief to Russia's forgotten wounded. Marsden set off on a journey to Siberia with a Russian-speaking friend, Ada Field on 1st February, 1891. At the time, the trans-Siberian railway was still in the planning stage, and Kate (ill-health forced Ada to give up the journey in Omsk) had no other choice but to travel on sledge and horse. An 11-months journey to the "coldest place in the world" proved to be extremely challenging for the 31 years-old nurse: "When constant pain brought on fits of depression, I felt that I should never live to carry out any of my cherished plans, but that was only in times of weakness". In her journey from Yakutia to Viluisk, Kate was accompanied by a cavalcade of fifteen men: "It was absolutely necessary to employ them . as a means of protection against the dangers to be encountered, not the least amongst them being the bears". After reaching her destination Marsden visited more than 80 lepers in their shacks and checked various settlements in search of a place where the future hospital could be erected. She also managed to find out that the herb for leprosy did not prove to have a curative effect, though it provided certain relief in some cases. Having received all the necessary information, Marsden returned to St. Petersburg in December, 1891 where she reported her observations and collected money for the sufferers (a total of 20000 rubles). On her arrival to England, Marsden continued raising funds and support for further work in Siberia. With the aid of a London committee, she succeeded in raising £2400 for a leprosy hospital, which was opened in Viluisk in 1897. In spite of Marsden's immense contribution to the study of leprosy, both before and after her journey to Siberia she was beset by campaigns to discredit her. She was accused of being a political spy and embezzling from the funds she raised for charity. The committees investigating Marsden were unable to find any true improprieties in the finances of her Siberia trip. Instead, the authorities chose to sanction her for the disclosures about her personal life - specifically that some of her relationships with women had been sexual. The controversy surrounding Marsden was not resolved and she finished her life suffering from dropsy and senile decay in 1931. After her death, the Bexhill Museum, which Marsden co-founded in 1914, refused to place her portrait in the building under the claims of her not being "a fit person". The book features 10 illustrations by O. Renar depicting Kate Marsden and various episodes from the travel: departure from Yakutia, Kate Marsden with her cavalcade camping out at midnight in the forest, tent life among the lepers, etc. There are also interesting illustrations showing lepers and the woeful conditions they lived in. A map featured in the edition displays leprosy dissemination around the world. Aimed at raising funds for the construction of a lepers' hospital in Viluisk, Miss Marsden's Journey to Yakutia was written by an unknown author. Yet, it can be suggested that the edition was ordered by the Irkutsk or Yakutian Leprosy Committees that were formed by Marsden and intended to "evoke sympathy for people whose woeful condition was almost unknown". The book also features 5 letters addressed to Kate Marsden (from the Irkutsk Bishop (1); Ivan Prokofiev - a man who accompanied Kate from Irkutsk to Viluisk (1); a Viluisk official - Griorgiy Eremtiev (2); V. Paromonov (1)) and an article "What is Leprosy?" by A. I. Pospilov.
MAYAKOVSKY'S CRY OF THE SOUL] Razgovor s fininspektorom o poezii [i.e. Conversation With A Tax Collector About Poetry]

MAYAKOVSKY’S CRY OF THE SOUL] Razgovor s fininspektorom o poezii [i.e. Conversation With A Tax Collector About Poetry]

Mayakovsky, V. 14 pp., 1 ill. 17.6x13cm. In original photomontage wrappers by Alexander Rodchenko. Tear of the spine, four pages are detached, soviet bookselling stamps on the rear wrapper. Otherwise in a good condition. First edition. 1 of 5000 copies. An epitome of Mayakovsky's inner struggle that had reached its peak in the mid-1920s. Conversation with a Tax Collector about Poetry is the first in a series of works publicly criticizing the new Soviet philistinism, according to which poets became compelled to pay taxes and submit annual declarations of income. Financial problems had always been an integral part of Mayakovsky's daily life: numerous trips around the country (which he often financed himself), his "lavish personality", and financial support he provided for his mother and sisters demanded large amounts of money: "I earn less, . than I should. I can't keep up with my expenses". Yet, it was not the new law and additional levies it implied that enraged the taxpayer, but the problem of defining a poet's role in society: "My work is like any other work" - he wrote in the poem. The author's ironic manner in which he, step-by step, explained to a tax collector the difficulties of being a genuine poet (including financial ones), culminated at the end of the piece (.Comrades, here's my pen. Take a crack at it yourselves!) and became his first, but not the last expression of disillusionment with the Soviet regime. In the following years, Mayakovsky completed two satirical plays: The Bedbug (1929), and The Bathhouse, both lampooning bureaucratic stupidity and opportunism. Interestingly, after the publication of the Conversation poem, the state made a decision to reduce tax rates for Mayakovsky. Yet, the problem of defining a poet's heavy burden persisted: "It's necessary to stop considering a poet's "easy" task, as something less important than any other form of human labour", - wrote the author in his famous literary critic, How Verses are Made (1927). Although Mayakovsky devoted a number of pieces (What are You Writing? (1928), At the Top of My Voice (1929), etc) to the painful subject of the importance of poetry and its qualification, Conversation with a Tax Collector is up to date considered one of his most vibrant works. Design of the edition is a classic example of Mayakovsky-Rodchenko revolutionary collaboration that inspired the book and advertising industry of the 1920s Soviet Union. The rear wrapper design can be seen as an adaptation of Vladimir Mayakovsky's line from the book - "All poetry is a journey into the unknown". A more conventional portrait of the author adorns the front cover. The "tax inspector" seated at the table is Fyodor Raskolnikov (1892-1939), an Old Bolshevik, commander of Red fleets during the Russian Civil War, and editor-in-chief of the literary magazine "Molodaya Gvardiya".
PHOTO DOCUMENTATION OF THE NOVEMBER 7

PHOTO DOCUMENTATION OF THE NOVEMBER 7, 1938 MILITARY PARADE IN TBILISI] Diadi okt’omberi. 1917-1938 [i.e. The Great October. 1917-1938]

Tbilisi, 1938. In original full-cloth with gilt lettering and two small photographs (ca. 3.3x3.4cm) mounted on the front cover. Date "7 November 1938" printed on the label and mounted on the front pastedown. Twenty-five vintage prints ca. 9x14.3cm. Minor wear to the edges of the covers, a couple of photos with the loss of tiny fragments at the edges. In a very good condition. Images by an uknown photographer. An interesting and rare collection of photographs bringing to life the 21st anniversary celebration of the October Revolution in Tbilisi - a traditional military parade that took place on November 7 and was held in all of the Soviet republics from 1918 onwards (except 1942,1943,1944). Apparently, the album belonged to Valerian Khatiashvili (1906-1955), a member of the Central Committee of the Georgian SSR who at the time worked as a deputy editor-in-chief of the Komunisti magazine. He was later appointed the role of the Deputy Chairman of the Organizing Committee of the Republican Olympiad for Artistic Activities. The collection of 25 vintage photographs offers a vivid documentation of the nationwide festivity held on the Rustaveli avenue. According to the images the 7 November celebrations were divided into three different parts: official ceremonies (such as the military parade), processions, and various forms of entertainment, including sports and festive activities. The photographs show female volleyball players in their costumes (2 photographs), pioneers playing trumpet/drums and girls holding flowers at the background (1 photograph), a Soviet official standing at the tribune and making a speech (1 photograph), a procession of people waving banners/posters and leaded by few men in laz chokhas (1 photograph), a woman holding a gun and standing on a construction carried by men (1 photograph), festive procession of dancers and musicians in national clothes of different Soviet republics, playing trumpet and most likely, zurna (1 photograph), two men holding a poster Steam-Engine and Railway Wagon Repair Stalin Factory demonstrating plan achievement statistics for the past four years (1935-88.7%; 1936-90.7%; 1937-93.1%; 1938-110.6%) (1 photograph), children wearing Georgian national clothes (3 photographs), mounted militsiya (2 photographs), red army soldiers (1 photograph), male Komsomol members wearing Voroshilov Sharpshooter badges and holding guns in their hands (1 photograph), and two buildings with Stalin's images photographed at night (2 photographs). Other photographs primarily depict parade participants wearing either casual, national or athletic clothes and holding various Communist flags, posters and banners. Overall an interesting documentation of one of the most important events in Georgia in 1938.
RUSSIAN FEMALE DOCTOR IN JAPAN] Ocherki sovremennoy Yaponii [i.e. Accounts of Contemporary Japan]

RUSSIAN FEMALE DOCTOR IN JAPAN] Ocherki sovremennoy Yaponii [i.e. Accounts of Contemporary Japan]

Cherevkova, A. [4], 219 pp., 12 ill. 22.8x16.6cm. Period half-leather. Pale stamp of the private library "Pkhakadze" on the front endpaper, previous owner's ink inscription on the front endpaper and title page, stamp of "Stavropol Spiritual School" on the title page. Otherwise good. Scarce first edition. Second edition published in 1903. This book, with 12 charming engravings, provides a unique vision of Japan at the end of the nineteenth century. The author Anna Cherevkova - a Russian doctor of Ukrainian origin - traveled around the world as a naval surgeon on the "Khabarovsk" vessel in 1895-1896. Her first visit to Japan was on the steamship "Petersburg" in 1888. Cherevkova returned to Japan in 1889 and stayed there for almost two years, going back to Russia on April 26, 1891. Her next trip to the country was in 1895. The timing of Cherevkova's voyage is in itself quite interesting. Following the Treaty of Shimoda (1855) which effectively meant the end of Japan's 220-year-old policy of seclusion, by opening the ports of Nagasaki, Hakodate and Shimoda to Russian vessels, the number of Russian visiting Japan increased rapidly. Their gaze was broader and better informed, and the "contact zone" became ever larger as the nineteenth century progressed. Accounts of Contemporary Japan was written during a warming of relations between the two countries and just a couple of years before the outburst of the Russo-Japan War (1904-1905). In the book Cherevkova describes her voyage to the different cities of Japan (Nagasaki, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Osaka, Yokohama, Nikko, etc.), giving interesting notes on the nature, architecture and customs of the country. Accounts of Contemporary Japan consists of 19 chapters, with each chapter focusing on a specific area of Japanese culture and daily life: Japanese theatre, Buddhist funerals, Japanese prison, Feast of snakes, etc. The narrative is marked with an abundance of Japan/Russia and Europe comparisons: "How big is the difference between this cheerful picture and that dreary desert, which is called Russian Far East", "Japanese children, in my opinion, are far from attractive and, of course, cannot stand any comparison with little Europeans", "The city is obviously large, yet it seems like something is missing, there isn't enough noise, that indefinite hum that is heard from afar when approaching every European settlement". The travel writing unveils at the time relatively unknown features of the eastern country and gives a hint about the relations between the people of the two empires: "The host greets us with kind bows and, recognizing right away that we are Russians, starts a conversation in Russian". Cherevkova's comments on various aspects of Japanese life are especially engaging: "Japanese music and singing, in my opinion, are so torturous that, having heard them once, you do not feel the slightest desire to undergo this torment again". The book includes 12 engravings depicting children-nannies, Suwa Shrine, traditional Japanese dinner, geisha, tea-picking, tea house, rice planting, K?toku-in, a part of Nikk? T?sh?-g? shrine, grave of Ieyasu, Lake Ch?zenji, and a hotel. The engravings were made in A.S. Suvorin typography (1877-1917) established by the noted Russian book publisher and journalist Aleksey Suvorin (1834-1912). Overall, a very interesting firsthand account of the female-doctor's voyage to the Land of the Rising Sun. Cherevkova issued a number of publications based on her travels: "With the Mormons" (ib., 1901); "Marriage and Divorce in Japan" (1900); "Chicago, Niagara, and New York" (1902); "Boston and Public Education in America", etc.