Leningrad: Izdatel’stvo pisatelei, 1933. 430 pp., 1 ill. 20,5x14 cm. In original full cloth with lettering on the front cover and spine. Good. No dust jacket. Foxing and soiling occasionally, p. 359-362 detached from block, tear of half-title, ink signature and private stamps on endpapers, ink signature on t.p.
First edition. One of 5500 copies. Scarce.
Cover design reproducing Pasternak’s signature was created by Soviet Jewish graphic artist and type designer Mark (Meer-Vol’f) Kirnarskii (1893-1942). He studied at Petrograd and Kiev Academies of Arts under I. Fomin and G. Narbut respectively, and joined an art group ‘The Community of Painters’ in 1924. The same year Kirnarskii was engaged in typography and twice participated in exhibitions ‘Book Art’ in Leipzig (1927) and Paris (1931).
A collection of verses by writer and poet Boris Pasternak (1890-1960) that were earlier printed separately. The late 1920s – early 1930s saw a short period of official recognition of Pasternak’s works. He took an active part in activities of the Union of Writers of the USSR and in 1934 N. Bukharin suggested naming Pasternak the best poet of the Soviet Union.
From 1933 to 1936, this poetry collection was reprinted annually but with different portraits of the author. The edition contains seven series of poems: ‘My Sister, Life’, ‘Themes and Variations’, ‘The Year 1905’, ‘Leytenant Shmidt’, ‘Over the Barriers’, ‘Spectorskii’, ‘Waves’. As a frontispiece, a portrait by artist Anatolii Iar-Kravchenko (1911-1983) was included. He became known primarily for series of portraits of pilots and writers.
Copies are located in Princeton, Yale, Harvard, Stanford, Indiana, Northwestern, Chicago, Washington Universities, Getty Institute, Amherst College and NYPL.