Item #332 [ANIMAL FARM]


Item #332

Ferma zhivotnykh [i.e. Animal Farm]. [N.p., 1970s]. Typescript. 61 leaves. 30x21 cm. Owner’s cardboard binding. Fine.

The first page contains a short biography of George Orwell, taken from Big Soviet Encyclopedia, printed in 1974. Orwell’s satire on the totalitarian regime was too candid for Soviet censors, so the author was labeled as ‘trotskist’ in 1930s and was never published during Soviet era.

However it’s not widely known that Orwell corresponded briefly with ‘Internatsionalnaya literatura’ magazine [i.e. International literature], in 1937. The editor-in-chief of the periodical wrote him asking to send his new novel ‘The Road to Wigan Pier’ to Moscow because periodical was interested in publishing it. Orwell sent the book replying that he could even write something specially for the magazine but also that they should know he recently fought in Spain on the side of POUM, and that led to the abruption of all the contacts with Orwell from Soviet side. From that time on Orwell’s name was under taboo in official press, and his books were published only in late 1980s. Animal Farm was first published in USSR in Latvian periodical
‘Rodnik’ in 1988.

Certainly Animal Farm as well as 1984 was too significant and interesting reading material for an ordinary soviet man, the dweller of the actual 'farm', so it’s appearance in Samizdat was inevitable. According to Arlen Blum (‘Zvezda’, #6, 2003) samizdat versions of Animal Farm started to appear in USSR in late 1960s.


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