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PY Rare Books

Sketches in the Crimea.

Sketches in the Crimea.

HALFORD, Captain Charles Augustus Drake. Very rare and lovely album comprising views of Sebastopol, Balaklava, Kadikoi, the Tchenaya river and others. The plates also include, unusually, a view of the interior of a wooden hut, which in the spring of 1855 began to replace tents, as these had proved inadequate against the elements during the previous winter. The plates were lithographed after original drawings, which did not repeat what other artists may have published at the time, but which bring a different perspective to the "seat of the war". The drawings are due to Captain Charles Augustus Drake Halford (1831-1907), who served in the 5th Dragoon Guards during the Crimean War. Roger Fenton took a number of photographs of Captain Halford that can today be found, among others, in the collections of the Library of Congress and the Royal Collection. The work was published by Dickinson Brothers, a leading Victorian printing and publishing firm based in London. They added, the same year, to the fashion of views and reports from the Crimean War and issued another series of views in the same format, after drawings by Sir Henry James Warre (1819 - 1898). Both titles are very rare, Halford’s even more so: we could trace no records of this title at auction in the past 35 years. Only three copies were traced in public institutions: in the collections of the Brown University library, Ohio University and the British Library. It was also absent from the comprehensive Abbey collection. Description: Landscape 8vo. (19.5 x 27.7 cm). Lithographed title and 13 tinted lithographed plates; light soiling and spotting, small marginal repairs. Publisher’s brown cloth, gilt lettering to upper cover, a bit rubbed, more towards extremities.
Piesy [Plays].

Piesy [Plays].

Chekhov, Anton FIRST EDITION OF CHEKHOV'S FIRST COLLECTION OF PLAYS. The first collection of Chekhov's plays that brought to the readers 'Uncle Vanya'. The first collection of Chekhov’s dramatic works includes seven plays: Medved' (The Bear), Predlozhenie (A Marriage Proposal), Ivanov, Lebedinaia pesnia (Kalkhas) (Swan Song), Tragik ponevole (A Tragedian in Spite of Himself), Chaika (The Seagull), Diadia Vania (Uncle Vanya). P’esy was the first book edition of five plays (except A Tragedian in Spite of Himself and Ivanov): before that, they were published as lithographic editions or in periodicals. Chekhov meticulously edited all of his plays specifically for this edition, partly because of the pressure from the censors: the first version of The Seagull was forbidden for staging in amateur theatres. The Seagull's first performance in 1896 turned out to be a complete disaster, after which Chekhov swore never to write plays again. Encouraged by the publisher Suvorin, he re-wrote several of his plays, including Leshii (The Wood Demon, 1889, which became the future triumph Uncle Vanya. On 2 December 1896, Chekhov wrote to Suvorin, ‘The press is sending me proofs at an astonishingly slow speed. They still need to put together the proofs of Chaika, the play you know, and of Diadia Vania, the play yet unknown to the world.’ "Uncle Vanya and The Seagull are a new kind of dramatic art in which realism rises to a spiritualized and deeply thought out symbol" (Maxim Gorky). "Uncle Vanya is Chekhov’s best play. Yet, it still remains largely misunderstood" (Mark Rozovsky). Provenance: ‘V.G.’ (initials at foot of spine); Mikhail Krasnov (acquired from Bernard Quaritch). Description and Bibliographic reference: Octavo (17x11.1cm). Half-title, title, 334pp., table of contents; very occasional light spotting, small closed tear in the gutter of a few leaves, restored, one leaf slightly creased and reinserted. Contemporary Russian half-calf, spine with raised bands and lettered in gilt; slightly rubbed, spine a bit faded. Kept in a modern cloth solander box. Kilgour 235.
Vyorsty [Versty; Mileposts]

Vyorsty [Versty; Mileposts]

TSVETAEVA, Marina Ivanovna Second edition, following the first in 1921 in Kostry, more complete than the first. The first collection of poems by Tsvetaeva, "The Evening Album", was released in 1910. The next one, "The Magic Lantern" (1915), marked the discovery of Tsvetaeva's poetic skills. In 1922, after a seven-year hiatus, the third compilation, "Versts", devoted to Russia and Russian poets, was published by the Kostry private publishing house. It contained only 35 poems written from January 1917 to December 1920. The Versts collection that was published by the State Publishing House became the most complete of the two lifetime editions of Versts. It includes 84 poems, among which those devoted to Blok and Akhmatova, the cycle "Daniel" of 1916-1918, addressed to Tsvetaeva’s friend Nicodemus Akimovich Plutser-Sarna, who supported her in difficult life circumstances of post-revolutionary years. The collection also includes the famous cycle of poems about Moscow. Initially, Tsvetaeva wanted to name the edition "Kitezh-grad". The note made in 1921 read: "Poems about Russia. Kitezh-grad or Versts". And a later postscript: "How nice that it is not Kitezh-grad! There seems to be such a book shop in Paris, and perhaps a gastronomic Russian shop - 1932. " The cover of the book is designed by Nikolai Nikolaevich Vysheslavtsev (1890-1952), the Russian artist who became famous for his works in the field of portraiture and book illustration. Poets, musicians and artists of the beginning of the 20th century were often the heroes of his works. He painted famous portraits of A. Bely, V. Ivanov, S. Prokofiev. In 1920, Vysheslavtsev met Tsvetaeva and made an incredible impression on her. He was grandiose in her perception. In her diary she wrote: "Oh, Pushkin! - Oh NN!". Tsvetaeva and Vysheslavtsev shared fantasies, a penchant for poetic imagery, and the surreal perception of the world. In the first few months of their acquaintance, Tsvetaeva devoted 27 poems to Vysheslavtsev, included in the general cycle "N.N.V.". 8vo (13x17.5cm). 122pp. including first blank, half-title and title; very light marginal staining to the first few leaves. Original wrappers, very lightly soiled, spine lightly rubbed. Provenance: "Nikolai Matveevich Korolev" (owner's ink stamp to flyleaf); "P. Rubin[stein?" (owner's pencil inscription on flyleaf); Eden Martin, American collector.
Kamen. [Stone.]

Kamen. [Stone.]

Mandelshtam, Osip "The first edition. Kamen, or Stone - Mandelshtam’s first book of poetry - is in itself a symbol of the pre-revolutionary Russia. Poetry lines printed in the pre-revolutionary alphabet, seemingly traditional, yet brewing with premonition of something cosmic and tragic. Commenting on the centenary of ‘Kamen’ in 2013, the famous Russian poet and critic Mikhail Aizenberg described the collection as ‘poetry of the future’ – the future that keeps moving further away from us as the time rolls on. Mandelshtam was not a futurist poet, like Kruchenyh or Burlyuk: he cherished traditional beauty of words and syntax, referring in ‘Kamen’ to gods of classical myths (Orpheus, Aphrodite). However, the sense of the unknown, mysterious future is important to him, as it gives a certain poignancy to the fleeting, disappearing present. Two of the poems in ‘Kamen’ – ‘Dyhaniye’, or ‘Breathing’, and ‘Nevyrazimaya pechal’, or ‘Inexpressible Sorrow’ – Mandelshtam wrote in 1909, when he was eighteen. They contain early examples of Mandelshtam’s love for tangible imagery – the feature that united him with other Acmeist poets. Acmeism, or the Guild of Poets, was a poetic school established in 1912 in Russia by Nikolai Gumilev and Sergei Gorodetsky. The Acmeists, who also included Akhmatova and Ivanov, used language to help the reader feel the texture, the painful beauty of everyday objects: in ‘Kamen’, crystal becomes liquid, the autumn twilight cuts ‘like a piece of rusty iron’, stone is transformed into lace and webs. Someone has taken bells out of the bell tower covered in mist (s kolokolni otumanennoi kto-to snyal kolokola) – Mandelstam’s book seems to be prophesying the approaching spiritual tragedy of the nation. The last poem in the collection, ‘Notre Dame’, has acquired a particular resonance with the modern reader.
Sestra moya zhizn [My Sister Life].

Sestra moya zhizn [My Sister Life].

Pasternak, Boris Second edition of Pasternak's poetic manifesto, following the first edition in the previous year. ‘This important poetic cycle circulated widely before its publication in 1922 and earned Pasternak acclaim as a major modern poet’ (Terras). The poems were inspired by Pasternak's love for Elena Vinograd, intensified by his revolutionary fervor in the summer of 1917. The collection had a profound impact on many of his contemporaries, including Mandelshtam and Tsvetaeva. "Mayakovsky read with incredible enthusiasm, from the first page to the last, the whole "My Sister Life". This made a completely stunning impression" (Roman Yakobson, "Budetlyanin nauki: vospominaniya, pisma, stati, stikhi, proza", pp. 73–74). "My Sister Life" is revolutionary in the best sense of this word" (Pasternak to Briusov, 15 August 1922). "My Sister Life"! - My first reaction, having endured it all: from the first blow to the last - arms wide open: so that all joints cracked. I fell under this book like under a torrential rain" (Tsvetaeva, "Svetovoy liven", in Epopeya. 1922. December, no3, p.13). 8vo (19.5x13cm). Frontispiece portrait of Pasternak by Yurii Annenkov. 115pp. including half-title, title, and dedication; light creases. Uncut in original publisher's wrappers with publisher's title label; lightly worn, minor closed tears, glue traces inside lower wrapper. Provenance: 'V. Sergeev' (booklabel to front wrapper); Eden Martin, American collector.
Iz Evreiskih poetov [From the Jewish Poets].

Iz Evreiskih poetov [From the Jewish Poets].

Khodasevich, Vladislav A well-preserved example of the first edition of this collection containing translations of poetry in Hebrew. The use of Hebrew as the language of modern secular literature at the turn of the 20th century was a new phenomenon. In the Jewish cultural environment, which sought to revive national roots and language, there were two conflicting tendencies: Yiddish creativity (the national spoken language) and Hebrew (the language revived as a language of everyday communication and literature based on biblical vocabulary). The collection reflected the new trends in the cultural Jewish environment and became one of the first manifestations of the revival of Jewish national identity and the cosmopolitant tendencies in the Russian culture of the time. The book presents the best poems of Jewish poets - H.N. Byalik, A.Frishman, S.Chernikhovskii, J.Fihman, Z.Shneuur, A.Shimonovich, Abraham Ben Itzhak. Khodasevich used the subscripts compiled by LB Yaffe, with whom in 1918 he had already published his first collection of Jewish poetry. He also used Latin transcription of Hebrew texts, to preserve the sound characteristics of the originals, the meter, the construction of stanzas and rhymes. At the end of the book there are brief notes for Russian readers. Khodasevich wrote: "The work of poets who are currently writing in Hebrew has turned out to be the most valuable and close to me. I devoted most of my time and labor to translations from Hebrew". The book enjoyed absolute success with readers who were not familiar with the originals. The Russian writer R. Ghul noted about these translations: "They are musically subtle, they convey, in a truly biblical way, sadness of Jewish lyricism". 8vo (19.4x14.6cm). 76pp. including half-title and title; light foxing. Uncut in original wrappers; edges lightly soiled and dusty. Provenance: Eden Martin, American collector.
Mysli Mudrykh Lyudei Na Kazhdyi Den’ [The thoughts of Wise Men for Every Day]

Mysli Mudrykh Lyudei Na Kazhdyi Den’ [The thoughts of Wise Men for Every Day]

Tolstoy, Lev First edition. The book presents wise thoughts about a man, his purpose, soul, God, ways of dealing with the temptations and evil inside and out, expressed by the best representatives of all religions and cultures. Among the authors are ancient philosophers and politicians, representatives of rationalism and other directions of European thought, the wise men of the Talmud, Chinese and Indian thinkers. Leo Tolstoy combines Western and Eastern wisdom and religious traditions of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and a number of other moral and ethical teachings. Tolstoy gives a clear advantage in favor of the East, allowing some critics to define him as one of the most prominent Russian followers of Buddhism. The largest number of quotations cited in the publication is taken from the Talmud, the works of Lao Tzu, Confucius, one of the fundamental Buddhist treatises - the Dhammapada, the works of Ramakrishna, John Ruskin, Blaise Pascal, Epictetus. There are a lot of Tolstoy's own thoughts in the book. The collection is a typical example of the third period in the life and literary work of Leo Tolstoy, associated with desperate religious quests, creating his own eclectic doctrine, reducing into almost all world religions and secular ethical philosophy, which was called "Tolstoyanism". The writer himself considered the writings of this period the most significant of his works. During this period, L.N. Tolstoy, among other things, tried to study the original sources of Christianity and Judaism in the original. He took lessons in ancient Greek. IV, 871, [13]p. 189 x 130mm. In a modern semi-leather binding. Provenance: Eden Martin, prominent American collector. First edition. The book presents wise thoughts about a man, his purpose, soul, God, ways of dealing with the temptations and evil inside and out, expressed by the best representatives of all religions and cultures. Among the authors are ancient philosophers and politicians, representatives of rationalism and other directions of European thought, the wise men of the Talmud, Chinese and Indian thinkers. Leo Tolstoy combines Western and Eastern wisdom and religious traditions of Buddhism, Taoism, Hinduism, Judaism, Christianity and a number of other moral and ethical teachings. Tolstoy gives a clear advantage in favor of the East, allowing some critics to define him as one of the most prominent Russian followers of Buddhism. The largest number of quotations cited in the publication is taken from the Talmud, the works of Lao Tzu, Confucius, one of the fundamental Buddhist treatises - the Dhammapada, the works of Ramakrishna, John Ruskin, Blaise Pascal, Epictetus. There are a lot of Tolstoy's own thoughts in the book. The collection is a typical example of the third period in the life and literary work of Leo Tolstoy, associated with desperate religious quests, creating his own eclectic doctrine, reducing into almost all world religions and secular ethical philosophy, which was called "Tolstoyanism". The writer himself considered the writings of this period the most significant of his works. During this period, L.N. Tolstoy, among other things, tried to study the original sources of Christianity and Judaism in the original. He took lessons in ancient Greek. 8vo, IV, 371, [13]p. 189 x 130mm; text within printed border; occasional light browning, but a very good copy in contemporary blue cloth, spine faded, some light staining to boards, green patterned endpapers. Provenance: Eden Martin, prominent American collector.
Khadzhi-Murat: Roman [Khadzhi-Murat: A Novel. Edited by V.G. Chertkov. Authorised Edition].

Khadzhi-Murat: Roman [Khadzhi-Murat: A Novel. Edited by V.G. Chertkov. Authorised Edition].

Tolstoy, Lev First uncensored edition of Tolstoy’s last novella; a fictionalised account of the Caucasian war and the tragic fate of the Avar leader Hadji Murad. Vladimir Chertkov, Tolstoy’s follower and the legatee of his posthumous copyright, organised the publication of Khadzhi-Murat almost simultaneously in Moscow and Berlin. As he expected, in the series of ‘Posthumous Writings of L.N. Tolstoy’, Khadzhi-Murat appeared with censorial omissions of the scenes depicting the brutality of the Russian army in the Caucasus. This first complete edition allows the reader to see exactly which parts of the novella were suppressed by the Imperial censor: Chertkov notes on the final page of the Berlin edition that ‘Everything that is omitted by the censor in the upcoming Russian addition appears here in square brackets’. This 1912 edition of the novella was used by Aylmer Maude in 1912 and by the later generations of English translators. Hadji Murad, to use the English spelling of his name, was initially a supporter of the Daghestani chief Imam Shamil. Due to inter-tribal conflicts, Shamil captured Hadji-Murat’s family and held them hostage, forcing Hadji-Murat to seek help from the Russians. The story ended tragically, after Tsar Nicholas I thwarted the initial plan. As Tolstoy himself wrote, he created this ‘long-standing Caucasian history, part of which he saw, heard part from the eyewitnesses and imagined part of himself’. Tolstoy was serving in the Caucasus himself, when in 1851, he heard about ‘Shamil’s number two, a certain Khadzhi Murat’ defecting to the Russian government. In July 1896, he remembered Khadzhi Murat after seeing a burdock bush on ‘a twice-ploughed, black-earth fallow field’: he recorded the incident in his diary, and later made a thistle bush a symbol for Khadzhi Murat’s strength. The official work on the novella began in 1902, when during his time in the Crimea, Tolstoy made a chance acquaintance with the Grand Duke Nikolai Mikhailovich, the grandson of Tsar Nicholas I. ‘Upon returning to Yasnaya Polyana, Tolstoy quickly contacted the Grand Duke, requesting research assistance with his newest project [ ]. The Grand Duke proved extremely helpful, offering Tolstoy even more than he expected, including materials from the Tiflis Archives on the Caucasus. Simultaneously, Tolstoy also came in contact with Anna Korganova, the widow of an officer who had personally guarded Khadzhi Murat during his captivity. Tolstoy frequently corresponded with Korganova, asking extremely detailed questions regarding Murat’s behavior and overall demeanor. Korganova’s responses proved vital to Tolstoy’s novel, and within two more years, Tolstoy had completed Khadzhi Murat. Tolstoy requested that all proceeds from the novel would go to the peasants at Yasnaya Polyana’. (Eric Souder). Provenance: Eden Martin (the prominent American collector). Description: 8vo; 164 p. Softback; front cover repaired at the binding; library stamp on half-title; internally clean; well-kept and well-preserved pages; some pages in the middle detached from the binding.
Gavriliada. First complete edition printed in Russia

Gavriliada. First complete edition printed in Russia

Pushkin, Aleksandr The first complete Russian edition. The Gavriiliada (in some early editions, including the first complete Russian ones, 1918-1922, erroneously: Gavriliada) - Pushkin's poem, a parody of the part of the Gospel about the Annunciation; the main character is the archangel Gabriel. From a Christian point of view the poem is blasphemous. "Gavriiliada" was written by 22-year-old Pushkin in April 1821 in Kishinev. The autograph of the poem has not survived. Only a plan of some episodes, written by Pushkin in Bessarabia on April 6, 1821, was preserved: "The holy spirit, calling upon Gabriel, describes his love to him and appoints him as a pimp. Gabriel in love. Satan and Mary. " In Russia, until 1917, only excerpts from the "Gabrieliada" were printed, not related to the Gospel storyline and under the changed names. This edition is anonymous, the article is not signed. The full text of the poem with the article "The Author of Gavriliada". 29pp. Soft publisher's cover. 160x210mm. Provenance: Eden Martin, prominent American collector. The first complete Russian edition. The Gavriiliada (in some early editions, including the first complete Russian ones, 1918-1922, erroneously: Gavriliada) - Pushkin's poem, a parody of the part of the Gospel about the Annunciation; the main character is the archangel Gabriel. From a Christian point of view the poem is blasphemous. "Gavriiliada" was written by 22-year-old Pushkin in April 1821 in Kishinev. The autograph of the poem has not survived. Only a plan of some episodes, written by Pushkin in Bessarabia on April 6, 1821, was preserved: "The holy spirit, calling upon Gabriel, describes his love to him and appoints him as a pimp. Gabriel in love. Satan and Mary. " In Russia, until 1917, only excerpts from the "Gabrieliada" were printed, not related to the Gospel storyline and under the changed names. This edition is anonymous, the article is not signed. The full text of the poem with the article "The Author of Gavriliada". Small 4to, 29pp; lightly browned, and with some off-setting from the wrappers to title and last leaf; generally in very good condition in the original decorated printed wrappers with printed paper label to front cover, rubbed and worn, spine restored. Provenance: Eden Martin, prominent American collector.
Bliznets v tuchakh [A Twin in Storm Clouds].

Bliznets v tuchakh [A Twin in Storm Clouds].

Pasternak, Boris "First edition of Pasternak’s first book. RARE FIRST EDITION OF THE NOBEL'S WINNER'S FIRST BOOK, ONE OF 200 COPIES. When ‘Bliznets v tuchah’ came out on the cusp of 1914, the Russian critics, especially the futurists led by Vladimir Mayakovsky, were sceptical. An ascetic looking cover (Pasternak refused to add any illustrations, which would appear in his later collections), and a preface by the then little known poet and friend of Pasternak Nikolai Aseev: the futurists labelled the whole project as ‘sucking on a squeezed out lemon and nibbling on tiny sugar crumbs’ (‘The First Magazine of the Russian Futurists’). Valerii Bryusov, the maître of the Russian poetry, perceived, however, the birth of something big in Pasternak’s volume, the promise of the writer’s future successes. ‘Bliznets’ formally opens Pasternak’s career in literature: having searched for his true vocation for many years, first training as a musician, and then as a philosopher in Marburg, Germany, he finally accepts his calling as a ground-breaking poet. In his preface to the volume, Aseev presents Pasternak as a knight with a flaming sword, whose poetry will break ‘the entranced silence of the Russian Symbolism’. Poems in ‘Bliznets’ appear without dates of composition, which was unusual for Russian poetry collections of the time. Nevertheless, it is possible to establish that scenes of the countryside (poems II, XVIII) were inspired by Pasternak’s life at the estate Molodi outside Moscow during summer 1913 - the last peaceful summer of the tsarist Russia. In August 1913 Pasternak came back to Moscow, where he met Nadezhda Sinyakova and fell in love with her: it is likely that some of the love poems in ‘Bliznets’ are addressed to her (‘Vse nadenut segodnia pal’to’; ‘Grust’ moya, kak plennaya serbka’). In 1912 Pasternak and his family visited Venice, which inspired his poem about the city, where palaces are torn from the ground ‘like a strip of unravelled lace’ (‘Venetsia’). ‘Bliznets’ is exploring an array of poetic possibilities and directions. The opening poem, ‘Edem’, declares an allegiance to the poetic tradition, according to which poetry is a divine matter. The poem that follows, ‘Lesnoye’, is more innovative, with its naturalistic images of trees, mosses and ‘moist grass’. Poem III is probably the first example of Pasternak’s unique poetic voice – a blend of visual household details seen in the revelatory emotive key: ‘Mne snilas’ osen’ v polusvete stekol’. Accused by the futurists of excessive mannerism, Pasternak, in fact, was attempting the seemingly impossible – applying poetry to the modern, increasingly urban and prosaic, life. In some poems in ‘Bliznets’ he succeeds, for example, when describing the telephone conversation between the two lovers in ‘Nochnoe panno’: the quiet suburbs by the motorway are able to communicate with the lights of the city centre, as the speaker reaches for his lover through the celluloid of the phone’s receiver. In many of the poems in ‘Bliznets’, it is their opening lines that are most striking: they possess a quality of independent one-line exposures, the power and the beauty of a stand-alone poem. This, and the musicality of Pasternak’s first book of poetry, are the main features of ‘Bliznets’. In 2005, the prominent Russian literary historian, member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Mikhail Gasparov, together with K.M. Polivanov, published the first extensive study of ‘Bliznets’, revealing hidden meanings in Pasternak’s poems: "Bliznets v tuchakh" Borisa Pasternaka: opyt kommentariya". Provenance: S. Pavlukhin (title inscription dated 15 September 1925 to:) – Arsenii Grigor'evich' [?Ostrovskii] (perhaps the translator and literary critic, 1899-1987); Eden Martin, American collector. Description: Octavo (170 x 127mm). Original brown card wrappers printed in black (minor wear to the edges).