Moscow: Published by the translator, 1930. Item #275
, 46 leaves. 23x19 cm. Original front cover is preserved, spine and rear cover of modern paper. Some light restoration to the front cover, lacking staples so leaves are not bound, some soiling, previous owner’s pencil drawing on the last page and corrections in the text. Otherwise good.
One of 150 copies. Extremely rare.
The cover (in Russian) and text (in French) were handwritten by the translator and lithographed on glass to rectos only. Overall 4 poems: For the Voice, Six Monks, Christopher Columbus, Left March.
This edition is made in a tradition of Russian futurist books - hand-lithographed manuscripts and handwritten hectograph publications. Unlike the expensive and elevated art books, futurist books were ‘rough, cheap, small, load out and inside’. A lot of them were made by Aleksei Kruchionykh (1886-1968), regarded by many as the father of Russian futurism. He was ‘a kind of a chronicler of the futurists’ and quite a number of his works were illustrated by famous artists such as Goncharova, Rodchenko, Rozanova, Malevich, et al. The only cheaper books were the popular series aimed at the lowest social classes. By putting such low prices on their works (50 kopecks versus ten rubles for a typical livre d’artiste) futurists were able to create an audience, mostly of students. Mayakovsky was one of the futurists and was among authors of the first futurist manifestos. However taking a lot from futurism Mayakovsky went far away from it and created his own unique style.
This book published the year Mayakovsky died is interesting because it builds a bridge between the poet and Parisian avant-garde of 1920s for which he never had affection, but it was Paris where a lot of his former comrades from 1910s worked. In this light the figure of Andrey Gippius who is responsible for the production of this book seems curious. We don’t know anything about him and it’s unclear who the audience for this edition was supposed to be.
No copies at the Worldcat.