Item #2033 [FOLK SAYINGS FROM RUSSIA] Rus’ [i.e. Russia]. V. Knyazev.


Item #2033

Leningrad.: Giz, 1924. 116 с. 22.8×15,7 cm. In original publisher’s illustrated wrappers. Loss of the pieces of the spine, block slightly shattered, damp stain in the lower left corner throughout twelve pages at the rear, otherwise in a good condition.

Scarce. First edition. 1 of 5,000 copies. A remarkable lubok-style front cover design by the Soviet artist and children’s book illustrator Boris Pokrovsky (1900-1960).
One of the first comprehensive collections of Russian proverbs, sayings, and jokes assembled by Vasily Knyazev (1887-1937), a poet, ethnographer, and a victim of Soviet repressions. Vasily started collecting Russian folklore at the age of 14, continuing the passion ignited by his grandfather in the 1870s. Traveling from village to village, Knyazev
meticulously documented proverbs and sayings from the remotest corners of the Russian Empire. By the early 1920s, with the assistance of his wife, Evdokia Vanicheva-Knyazeva, he had gathered over 20,000 Russian proverbs and sayings. In this book, Knyazev selectively included “only those proverbs and quotes that are most suitable to the
requirements of the present time: on the one hand - a vivid depiction of the challenges of the tsarist past, national shortcomings and vices; and on the other - vigor, stamina, vitality, firmness, perseverance, energy, etc.” The edition alphabetically organizes hundreds of Russian proverbs under specific semantic themes. Notable proverbs include “If you want peace, get ready for battle” and “The poor man sings songs, but the rich man only listens.” Dedicated to Chairman Zinovyev, who aided in the publication, the book serves as a valuable reflection of the societal dynamics of its time.
Vasily Knyazev was a Soviet poet and author known for his verses, fables, humorous ditties, parodies, and rhymed feuilletons. An active contributor to the journal Satirikon, Knyazev worked for newspapers Izvestiya VTsIK [i.e. News of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee], Krasnaya Armia [i.e. Red Army], Zvezda Krasnoarmeitsa [i.e. A Red Army Star] (Voronezh), and several provincial periodicals. He also contributed to the unfinished Entsiklopediya poslovits [i.e. Proverbial Encyclopedia], some parts of which were published in the collections “Rus” (1924) and Knig poslovits [i.e. The Book of Proverbs] (1930). Knyazev was arrested in the spring of 1937 for alleged “counterrevolutionary
conversations” and sentenced to five years in labor camps. He passed away in the settlement of Atka during his transfer from the Magadan transit camp to the Kolyma region in a few months.

Worldcat shows copies of the edition at Harvard University, Yale University, Columbia University, New York Public Library System, Library of Congress, Ohio State University,
and University of Illinois.

Price: $750.00

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