Item #336

Literaturnyi kvartet [i.e. Literary Quartet]. [N.p., 1930s]. 60 cards. Heavy paper, black and red ink. Very good. Some staining and pencil corrections, general wear.

A rare survival of the time.
The cards are supposed to resemble playing cards. Each card has a suite - it’s a name of Russian writer: Gorky, Andreev, Severianin, Kuprin, Kipling, A.N. Tolstoy, Sasha Chiorny, Merezhkovsky, Balmont, Sologub, Kellerman, Loti, Korolenko, Chekhov, Blok. The name is followed by a small drawing in sync with his work (boots for Gorky, skull for Andreev, mask for Blok, etc.) Each card has four literary titles, e.g. for Kipling they are Jungle, India, The light is Out, Brave Seamen. Each suit has four cards, they bear same titles but each card has a different title highlighted red.

The game starts when 6 or 8 cards are given out to each player without showing the contents. The purpose is to get as many literary quartets (all four titles of one author) as one can by exchanging cards with other players after addressing right person a right question. Game is played in turns. When one gets a full quartet it is laid aside. The game continues until all quartets are gathered. The winner is a player who gathered most quartets.

It’s hard to know where this Soviet game originates (it is mentioned in a book ‘‘Games and Entertainment’’ by N. Bolberg in 1935, and also such game was being sold in stores in 1930s) but it definitely stayed and was played by many generations to come. Only types of ink and names on cards changed which today is a sign of the era.


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