[BALMONT'S BEST BOOK OF POETRY] Budem kak solntse: Kniga simvolov [i.e. Let Us Be Like the Sun. The Book of Symbols].
Moscow: Knigoizdatelstvo Skorpion, 1903. Item #102
, 290 pp. 8vo. The copy is in exceptionally fine contemporary half-leather with marbled boards and endpapers and gilt lettering on the spine. Original front wrapper illustrated by Fidus (the famous German symbolist artist Hugo Hoppener) preserved. A fine copy.
This is the sixth book of poetry by Russian symbolist poet Konstantin Balmont (1867-1942). The book was being written in 1901-1902. In March 1902 the first version of it has been read by the author to the members of G.G. Bakhman's literary circle. The book, notably its erotic section, "Enchanted Grotto", has been severely cut by censors. Decades later scholar V.N. Orlov was the first to have made an attempt to publish it in the original form as an academic edition.The censor Sokolov committed his report to the Saint Petersburg Publishing Department, writing: "Konstantin Balmont's book consists of 205 poems [...] From the censorship's point of view all of them are worthy of attention, since they belong to the so-called symbolism, too many of them being erotic, cynical and even sacrilegious." On March 4 there came the resolution demanding the withdrawal of the book, already pressed and sending it for further examination. The latter's verdict was more favorable even if it demanded several cuts being made in already pressed pages. Budem kak solntse had a great success and in retrospect is seen as his strongest collection. Alexander Blok called it "unique in its unfathomable richness."