Tbilisi: Kavk. posrednik, 1919. Item #1541
68 pp. 12.1x17.4 cm. In original printed wrappers. Loss of the tiny piece of the spine. Otherwise fine.
Scarce. First edition. Text in Russian. Author’s ink inscription on the dedication page: To Elene Barnaveli. 23 March 1920. Wanderer.
The first book published by the leader of the Georgian symbolist movement and one of the most gifted expressionist writers Grigol Robakidze (1880-1962). The edition features 4 psychoanalytical portraits of the Russian writers: Pyotr Chaadayev (1794-1856), Mikhail Lermontov (1814-1841), Vasily Rozanov (1856-1919), and Andrei Bely (1880-1934). Robakidze personally knew the latter, whom he first met while visiting Russia in the late 1900s and had since developed a close friendship. The essays came out as a separate edition in 1919, when Tbilisi emerged as a meeting point of some of the most noted figures in Russian art and literature, including Andrei Bely. Robakidze became an active participant of the discussions and meetings organized by the Russian intelligentsia and befriended many of its representatives. Among them was the Russian poet Sergey Rafalovich (1875-1943) in whose publishing house, Kavkazskiy posrednik, Robakidze printed his first-ever book, the Portraits.
A leading person of Georgian symbolism, Grigol Robakidze, together with Titsian Tabidze, established the Blue Horns (1915), a group of Symbolist poets and prose-writers that dominated Georgian literature in the 1920s. The author revolutionized Georgian literary practices with the publication of the dramas, Londa, Maelstrom, and Lamara in 1919, 1923, and 1924 respectively. All three of them were successfully staged at the Rustaveli National Theatre by Kote Marjanishvili and Sandro Akhmeteli (design by Kirill Zdanevich/ Irakli Gamrekeli). In 1931, disillusioned with the Soviet regime, Robakidze left Georgia and moved to Germany, where he launched his anti-Soviet emigre activity. After his departure, the Communist censors prohibited all of his works and omitted his name from the history of Georgian symbolism.
Worldcat shows 2 copies of the edition in The British Library, St. Pancras and Columbia University in the City of New York.