Chita: Chitinskoe knizhnoe izdatel’stvo, 1953. 42,  pp.: ill. 20x14,6 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Few small stains, otherwise very good.
Rare Transbaikalian imprint of a 1951 Moscow edition. Designed by V. Dobrovol’skii.
This popular story tells about a little Black survivor rescued and welcomed by Russian sailors. It was first published in 1898 and presented the life of a Russian Imperial ship. The name of its author Konstantin Staniukevich (1843-1903) is inseparably tied with Russian naval fiction. He was born into an admiral’s family and was brought up among military vessels. During the Crimean War, Konstantin was a courier between admirals. Gradually, literature influenced him more than fleet. At the behest of his father, he was sent on a 3-year circumnavigation within a crew of the Kalevala corvette under command of V. Davydov. Over time, he quitted from naval service and dedicated himself to journalism. For liberal ideas and relations with revolutionaries, he was arrested and exiled to Siberia in 1884. The following period of his life became the most prolific in his literary career. In exile, Stanyukovich created a cycle of sea stories, which became an event in Russian democratic literature and brought him fame.
‘Maksimka’ also belonged to that cycle. It was first published in the magazine “Children’s Reading”. The work raised the issue of slavery in 19thcentury America and the suffering of African people in general. The main character is a Black boy who had been bought by an American captain in Mozambique a year before the start of the events described. He was his servant. Every day the captain beat him. The brig carrying African slaves crashed off the coast of Africa. The boy spent almost two days in the water until he was saved by a Russian ship. Sailors warmly welcomed him; the boy was named Maksimka because he was saved on the day of St. Maximus the Confessor. He found a patron among sailors and then was educated in Russia.
In the early Soviet period, ‘Maksimka’ was once published in 1928, along with other works by Staniukovich. After the Second World War, Staniukovich was remembered in the wake of
the popularity of military and naval stories – and because of the Cold War as well. ‘Maksimka’ was reprinted multiple times at various publishing houses across the USSR.
Not found in Worldcat.