Rare Book Monthly

Book Catalogue Reviews - February - 2020 Issue

Russian Literature from Shapero Rare Books

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Russian Literature from Shapero Rare Books.

Shapero Rare Books has published a catalogue of Russian Literature. There are names here that will be recognized even by those not terribly familiar with Russian writers – Tolstoy, Gogol, Pasternak, Solzhenitsyn, Pushkin, Nabokov, Gorky, Dostoevsky, Chekhov. Other names may not be familiar to most in the West but will be known to those more acquainted with the genre. There are also some books here by well-known Western writers in Russian editions, as well as English or French translations of Russian works. As a note, the majority of books are in Russian, that is, they are written in the cyrillic alphabet, which we cannot duplicate. Here are a few selections among these works of Russian literature.

 

Vladimir Nabokov was a multilingual writer, though not one who would occasionally write in a second language. Rather, for half his life he wrote in one language, and the second half in another. There is a logical explanation. He was a Russian native, but after the revolution, he moved to England, then Germany, then for a short time France, and finally to America to avoid the Nazi invasion. During his years in Russia, and still in Germany, he wrote in Russian. After he moved to the United States, he switched to English, in which he wrote for the remainder of his life. He produced many respected works in both languages, though his most famous one is the English novel Lolita. Item 45 is (translated to English) The Gift. Nabokov wrote it in the 1930s in Berlin, but it was censored from the Russian emigre journal. It was published, in Russian, in New York in 1952. This was the last novel he wrote in Russian and is considered a farewell to the world he left behind. Shapero notes it is “an ode to the greats of Russian literature. Each chapter follows the style of a Russian author, including Pushkin, Gogol, and Saltykov-Schedrin.” Item 45. Priced at £500 (British pounds, or approximately $658 in U.S. dollars).

 

Next is one of the great masterpieces of Russian literature that had the misfortune of being written during the Soviet and Cold War era. The title is Dr. Zhivago, the author Boris Pasternak. It follows the tragic love affair of the title character and Lara Guichard through the period of World War I and the Russian Revolution. It was many years in the writing, finally completed in 1955. Pasternak submitted it for publication in Russia but was turned down by Soviet authorities. It did not portray the Revolution and Soviet government in the properly fawning manner. Pasternak had previously been in tense situations with the state, but had been left alone because of his reputation as a great writer. At the urging of a visiting Italian communist, he turned over a manuscript of Dr. Zhivago for publication in Italy. Item 51 is the first UK edition, published in 1958. The book became an enormous popular and literary success, winning a Nobel Prize for literature. Khrushchev and the Soviet authorities were not amused. They could not readily send such a prestigious writer to the gulag, so instead, they threatened him with deportation. This was almost the same to Pasternak whose whole life and family were in Russia. He was forced to decline the Nobel Prize. The affair put great pressure on Pasternak's health and he died in 1960. In the days of the falling of the Soviet Union, Dr. Zhivago was finally published in Russia, his descendants allowed to accept his Nobel Prize, and the book is now read in Russian schools. Item 51. £1,200 (US $1,554).

 

Following up on the story of Pasternak's difficult last years, item 53 is a samizdat of Pasternak's new poetry written from 1945-1957. A “samizdat” is a hand-prepared writing of material that could not be published in the Soviet Union because of censorship. Creating or reading such banned material put the possessor at great risk. Known as the “Green Notebook,” this could only have existed in a small number of copies. This one was given by Pasternak to Georges Nivat, a French student studying in the Soviet Union who was engaged to Pasternak's adopted daughter, Irina Ivinskaya. After Pasternak's death, Soviet authorities dealt harshly with his family. Nivat was deported two days before the planned wedding and prevented from returning for many years. Irina and her mother were sent off to a labor camp, Irina for three years, and she married a man she met there after their release. Nivat loaned his copy of the Green Book to a cousin of Vladimir Nabokov, who wanted to compose romances based on Pasternak's poetry, but he died before the book could be returned. Nivat thought it had been lost until recently told by Shapero that they had it. You can read the complete history in this catalogue. £27,500 (US $35,762).

 

Next we have a look at Russia through the eyes of a Frenchman. Astolphe Marquis de Custine traveled to Russia for four months during the summer of 1839. He was a monarchist and expected his visit to Nicholas I would confirm his views. Instead, it did just the opposite. He was appalled by the government's behavior. He reports that “the Russian government is an absolute monarchy tempered by assassination.” Custine instead supported a constitutional monarchy. He also predicted that the nation would see a revolt as a result of its behavior. It took a long time for that revolution to come, but when it did, it was on a scale beyond anything the Tsar anticipated, changing the world order for almost a century. The book's title is La Russie en 1839 (Russia in 1839) and was published in 1843. It was enormously popular, going through numerous translations and 18 editions, some counterfeit, between 1843-1855. Offered is a copy of the rare first edition. It was composed as 36 letters sent back home. However, he did not send them for fear they would be seized, carrying them back instead. That was a reasonable fear as his book was banned in Russia until the 20th century. For this work, Custine is frequently called the Tocqueville of Russia. Item 20. £3,250 (US $4,271).

 

We return now to another of the greatest Russian writers, Fyodor Dostoevsky. Dostoevsky also spent years in a Russian prison camp, but this was in tsarist rather than Soviet times. Russia has never been a safe place to express your thoughts, any more than it is again today. Item 24 is Crime and Punishment, the 1886 Vizetelly edition published in London. This is a first edition of the first translation to English of Dostoevsky's novel, preceding the American edition by six months. It is a tale of a poverty stricken young man who kills a pawnbroker for her money, and then proceeds to reap the consequences, not so much the legal ones as the psychological and moral ones from his guilt. £9,000 (US $11,831).

 

Shapero Rare Books may be reached at +44 (0)20 7493 0876 or rarebooks@shapero.com. Their website is www.shapero.com.

Rare Book Monthly

  • <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Harriet Tubman Cabinet Card by H.S. Squyer, Auburn, NY, 1892. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Scarce <i>Events of the Tulsa Disaster,</i> First Edition, 1922. $4,000 to $6,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Unpublished CDV of Frederick Douglass by Benjamin F. Smith, 1864. $3,000 to $5,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> California Imprint of <i>President Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation</i> Broadside, 1864. $10,000 to $15,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> John C.H. Grabill Cabinet Card of Buffalo Soldier Wearing Buffalo Coat, ca 1886. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare <i>What Mrs. Fisher Knows About Old Southern Cooking,</i> 2nd Cookbook Published by African American. $6,000 to $8,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Frederick Douglass Walking Stick, 1888. $3,000 to $5,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Only Known Slave Narrative Published Independently in California, <i>Life and Adventures of James Williams.</i> $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Rare First Edition of History of Black Literature, Abbé Grégoire <i>De La Littérature des Nègres</i>. $2,500 to $3,000
    <center><b>Cowan’s Auctions<br>The Road West: The Steve Turner Collection of African Americana<br>February 20, 2020</b>
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> African American Soldier and Medal of Honor Winner Christian A. Fleetwood CDV, PLUS. $8,000 to $10,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Jack Johnson vs. Jim Jeffries Pennant, 1910 Reno, Nevada. $2,000 to $4,000
    <br>Cowan’s, Feb. 20:</b> Joe Gans Photograph at 1906 Goldfield, Nevada Fight by Percy Dana. $600 to $800
  • <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Sense and Sensibility: A Novel, By a Lady,</i> 3 volumes, London, 1811. $30,000 to $40,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Virginia Woolf, <i>Kew Gardens,</i> limited edition, signed by Woolf & Bell, London, 1927. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> <i>[Arabian Nights],</i> Calcutta II version, 4 volumes, Calcutta & London, 1839-1842. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 ALS to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor, anticipating Christie’s sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Jane Austen, <i>Emma,</i> first edition, London, 1816. $15,000 to $20,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Hirohito & Nagako, Emperor & Empress of Japan, 2 photographs signed, showing Nagako in kimono & obi bearing the imperial seal. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Princess Diana, 6 autograph letters signed to <i>Harper’s Bazaar</i> editor Elizabeth Tilberis, anticipating Christie’s announcement of a sale of her dresses for charity, 1995-97. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Sarojini Naidu, complete galley proof of <i>The Broken Wing</i> signed with several holograph pages & an autograph letter signed to writer Edmund Gosse, 1916. $6,000 to $9,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Fernando Pessoa, <i>Mensagem,</i> first edition, presentation copy, signed & inscribed, Lisbon, 1934. $5,000 to $7,500.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Graham Greene, <i>The Basement Room,</i> first edition, Greene’s personal copy, signed with annotations throughout, London, 1935. $4,000 to $6,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b> Abraham Lincoln, partly-printed document signed, call for troops issued during America’s first national draft just days before the NYC draft riots, 1863. $15,000 to $25,000.
    <b>Swann Auction Galleries Feb 20:</b><br><i>Les Chansons de Bilitis</i> by Pierre Louÿs, illustrated by George Barbier & F.L. Schmied, Paris, 1922. $8,000 to $12,000.
  • <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Helvelius. Two Autograph Letters Signed to Francis Aston, Royal Society Secretary, noting his feud with Robert Hooke, 5 pp total, 1685. $70,000 to $100,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Newton, Isaac. Autograph manuscript on God, 4 pp, c.1710, "In the beginning was the Word...."?$100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. First edition, first issue. Untrimmed copy in contemporary boards. $30,000 to $50,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Lincoln, Abraham. Signed photograph, beardless portrait with Civil War provenance. $80,000 to $120,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> IMPEACHMENT. Original engrossed copy of the first Andrew Johnson impeachment resolution vote. $120,000 to $180,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Mucha, Alphonse. 11 original pencil drawings for?<i>Andelicek z Baroku,</i> "Litte Baroque Angel," Prague, 1929. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Einstein, Albert. Annotated Galley Proofs for <i>The Meaning of Relativity.</i> 1921. $25,000 to $35,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Silverstein, Shel. Original maquette for <i>The Giving Tree,</i> 34 original drawings. $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Roth, Philip. Typed Manuscript with substantial autograph corrections for an unpublished sequel to <i>The Breast.</i> $10,000 to $15,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> Taupin, Bernie. Autograph Manuscript, the original draft of lyrics for Elton John's "Candle in the Wind," 2 pp, 1973. $100,000 to $150,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> HARVEY, WILLIAM. <i>De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis in Animalibus Anatomica Exercitatio.</i> Padua: 1643. $12,000 to $18,000.
    <b>Bonhams, Mar. 6:</b> CESALPINO, ANDREA. <i>Peripateticarum Quaestionum Libri Quinque.</i> Venice: 1571. $30,000 to $40,000.
  • <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Leon TOLSTOÏ. <i>Anna Karenina.</i> Moscou, 1878. First and full edition of the Russian novel, in the author’s language.<br>Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Mark TWAIN. <i>Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (Tom Sawyer's comrade).</i> New York, 1885. First American edition.<br>Est. 5 000 / 6 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Walt WHITMAN. <i>Leaves of Grass.</i> Brooklyn, New York, 1856. Second edition gathering 32 poems. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Karen BLIXEN. <i>Out of Africa.</i> Londres, 1937. First edition in the UK, before Danish translation and American release.<br>Est. 1 500 / 2 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Ernest HEMINGWAY. <i>A Farewell to Arms.</i> New York, 1929. First edition with $2.50 on the dust and A on the copyright page.<br>Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Ulysses.</i> Paris, Shakespeare and Company, 1922. First edition published by Sylvia Beach. Est. 3 000 / 4 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> James JOYCE. <i>Dubliners.</i> Londres, 1914. First edition. Nice copy in publisher’s cardboard. Est. 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> Franz KAFKA. 8 novels in German first edition, published in München, Leipzig and Berlin 1916-1931. Est. from 300 / 400 to 2 000 / 3 000 €
    <b>ALDE, Feb. 26:</b> David Herbert LAWRENCE. <i>Lady Chatterley's Lover.</i> Florence, 1928. Privately printed first edition. Est. 4 000 / 5 000 €
    John STEINBECK. <i>The Grapes of Wrath.</i> New York, 1939. First edition. Nice copy with $2.75 on the cover. Est. 1 000 / 1 200 €

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