Moscow: Krasnaya Nov’, 1924. Item #1543
40 pp.: ill., music sheets. 31.5x24.5 cm. In original publisher’s illustrated wrappers by Boris Efimov. Soiling of the wrappers, pp. 17-24 detached, loss of a fragment of the lower left corner throughout the most part of the copy. Otherwise good.
Extremely scarce. First edition. 1 of 3,000 copies. The edition includes music sheets by the noted Soviet composer Klimenti Korchmarev (1899-1958).
Black and white photomontages by V. Savelyev. Wrapper design by Boris Efimov (1900-2008), a Soviet cartoonist and propaganda artist noted for his political caricatures targeting American Capitalism. Efimov studied at the Kyiv National Economic Institute and the Kyiv State University in the late 1910s. He published his first professional cartoons in the magazine Zritel’ [i.e. Viewer] in 1918, a year before he was appointed secretary of the People’s Commissariat of Military Affairs of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1920, he moved to Odessa to serve as head of the Department of Visual Agitation for UgROSTA (Southern Department of the Russian Telegraph Agency). Soon after, his cartoons appeared in such newspapers as Bolshevik, Kommunar [i.e. Commune Resident], and Visti [i.e. News]. Upon moving to Moscow in 1922, he began contributing to the newspapers Izvestiia [i.e. News], Pravda [i.e. Truth], and Trud [i.e. Labor], as well as the satirical magazines Chudak [i.e. Oddball] and Krokodil [i.e. Crocodile]. In 1939, Efimov’s brother Mikhail, (a journalist with the Comintern during the Spanish Civil War) was arrested as part of the Great Purge and was executed the following year. After his brother’s arrest, Boris was prohibited from publishing artistic work. He struggled to find employment until the Nazi invasion embroiled the Soviet Union into the Second World War. He was permitted to return to work as an illustrator for TASS, the Soviet Telegraph Agency, producing a short series of posters between 1941 and 1945. After the war, he traveled to Nuremberg, Germany and produced sketches, portraits and caricatures of persons accused of war crimes. In 1966, he became editor in chief of Agitplakat, serving until 1990.
The book was reissued several times in the USSR -the first two editions came out in 1924 (the first edition with the print run of 3,000 copies; the second - 12,000 copies), the third edition was printed in 1927, the subsequent editions came out in 1928 (with Solomon Telingater’s design), 1929, 1930 (two editions), and 1934 (three editions) without Leon Trotsky’s foreword and different designs.
An extremely scarce first edition of Alexander Bezymensky’s poem Komsomoliya [i.e. Komsomol]. The edition opens with a fragment from Leon Trotsky’s preface to Bezymensky’s collection of poems Kak pakhnet zhizn’ [i.e. How Life Smells], published earlier the same year. From the late 1920s, when Trotsky was declared a Soviet enemy, his foreword was ripped out of Bezymensky’s 1924 and 1927 editions of Komsomoliya. In the 1930s, the book was transferred to Spetskhran (Special Storage Section with limited access in libraries and archives of the Soviet Union, as part of the system of censorship in the Soviet Union) and remained there until 1989. The book includes V. Savelyev’s numerous photomontages. The illustrations are built upon the technique of photo staging, showing young Soviet communists engaged in the «typical circumstances» proposed by the author: in a workers’ club, at a meeting, on vacation, etc. From the early 1930s, with the advent of Socialist Realism, the use of photomontages in Soviet editions was reduced to a minimum.
Alexander Bezymensky (1898-1973) was a Soviet poet, screenwriter, and journalist. He graduated from the gymnasium in Vladimir and entered the Kiev Commercial Institute in 1916, becoming a member of the Bolshevik Party the same year. He participated in the October Revolution and the organization of the Vladimir Union of Communist Youth. At the beginning of 1921, on a call from the Central Committee of the RKSM, Bezymensky arrived in Moscow and started working as an editor of the central Komsomol newspaper “Krasnaya Youth.” His first book of poems «October Dawns» (1920) was published in Kazan. From 1922, he contributed to the creation of the literary groups Young Guard and October. In the 1920s, Bezymensky developed satire in various genres - epigrams, captions for caricatures, satirical feuilletons, poems, etc. In the 1920s and early 1930s, the circulation of his books amounted to one million copies, but his popularity declined in the late 1930s.
No copies found in Worldcat.