St. Petersburg, 1876-1881. 2 vols. 26,4x17,5 cm. Contemporary quarter-leather bindings. Spine of Vol.1 is slightly restored.
[Volume 1]. Dnevnik Pisatelia za 1876 [i.e. Writer’s Diary for 1876]. , 336 p. January-March. 2nd edition (1879), April to December - 1st edition (1876).
[Volume 2]. Dnevnik Pisatelia za 1877 [i.e. Writer’s Diary for 1877]. , 326 p. Edinstvenniy Vypusk na 1880 [i.e. The only issue of 1880]. 44 p. 1881. 32 p. All issues in 1st edition, except for 1880, which is 1st edition, but 2nd printing.
Provenance: the library of Nikolay Chervinov (1857-1912), general major, with his ex-libris on the t.p. and several pencil notes.
The rare complete set of Dostoevsky’s publishing project ‘The Writer’s Diary’. There’s no obvious definition that can be used to describe the project as it has the elements of journalism, fiction, essays on philosophical and sociological issues. The publication was prepared by Dostoevsky himself and also distributed by himself and his wife.
As one of the modern researchers of the Diary has put “According to its own concept, a wide range of topical issues, the «Writer’s Diary» can rightfully be called the encyclopedia of Russian life» (I.Volgin. Poverkh barierov, 2011).
The idea behind the periodical was to reflect on life through the writer’s eyes. The author didn’t associate this ‘writer’ with himself completely, but rather imagined the abstract writer for the purpose.
The ‘Diary’ was printed monthly for 2 years, then it stopped because the work on ‘The Karamazov Brothers’ occupied all of Dostoevsky’s time. However, one issue came out in 1880 and another one in 1881, the latter came out the day Dostoevsky passed away.
The set of all issues printed is extremely rare, because at the time they all were coming out in different typographies and were treated like periodicals. It’s worth noting that ‘The Diary’ was overlooked by Dostoevsky researchers for decades: the first study dedicated to it was produced in the 1970s in Melbourne. However, this set was assembled at the time by the first owner general Nikolay Chervinov, who has added in content of volume 2 issues of 1880 and 1881 in hand at the end of table of contents.
Some of the best known works by Dostoevsky that has appeared in ‘The Diary’ for the time were a dystopian story ‘The Dream of the Ridiculous Man’, ‘A Gentle Creature’, ‘Bobok’, ‘The Beggar Boy at Christ’s Christmas Tree’ and the essay on Pushkin that was printed in the last issue in 1881.