Kiev: Izdanie Izd. podotdela Komiteta Iugo-zapadnogo fronta Vseros. Zemskogo Soiuza, 1917. Item #1040
140 pp. 23x15,5 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Some tears and soiling of covers, the first and last pages faded, otherwise very good.
Cover design and 7 vignettes were produced by artist Eugeniia Pribyl’skaia (1899-1938) who revived and developed folklore arts. Together with avant-garde artist Alexandra Exter, she held the exhibition of decorative arts in 1915. After the October Revolution, she engaged in the production of folk toys, rugs and was attracted to the activity of experimental textile and costume workshops.
This is the original Russian edition of notes written by Sofia Fedorchenko (1880-1959). ‘Frontline Notes’ became a kind of diary from the perspective of the ordinary soldier and included vivid remarks of everyday life. The work was soon adapted to English, German and French.
The materials were collected by Fedorchenko among ordinary soldiers between 1914 and 1917 while she was serving at the front near St Petersburg as a Sister of Mercy. She decided to write down what she remembered because she wanted to commemorate simple soldiers’ perceptions of the Great War. Her method was simple and unusual: she put together fragments of talks, sayings, conversations, and songs she had heard among soldiers in the front hospital. As Fedorchenko wrote, “I didn’t make notes <…>. It never occurred to me to write during the war. I was neither an ethnographer nor a stenographer <…>. I wrote down some fragmentary words, rather my impressions of what I saw and heard than the real words, but the meaning I kept strictly”.
These stories were highly appreciated by Max Voloshin, to whom Fedorchenko came to Crimea in the 1920s. Suffering from neurasthenia, she was consulted by Mikhail Bulgakov, who was also visiting Voloshin at that time.
The work became one of the early representatives of the ‘nonfiction novel’. Later it was continued by stories about the revolutionary year of 1917 and the Civil War.
Worldcat shows copies located in Universities of Chicago and North Carolina.