9th ed. Moscow: Typ. I.N. Kushnerev i Ko., 1893. [2 - t.p.], 367 pp., 2 port. 25x16 cm. In contemporary half leather with art nouveau decorations, gilt lettering and floral decor on the spine. Moire boards and endpapers. Near fine. Occasional foxing, small margin tear on p. 353 (text not touched).
Canonical Tolstoy’s trilogy “Childhood”, “Boyhood”, “Youth” with author’s inscription on the title page: ‘‘To Dmitry Vasil’evich Nikitin. Leo Tolstoy. 28 March 1903’’. Original photograph depicting Tolstoy in wheelchair with his doctor Nikitin next to him is pasted next to the title page by the relatives of the doctor.
The autograph is inscribed to Dmitry Nikitin (1874-1960), his family doctor. '‘A very attentive person and knows everything that medicine knows now’’, Tolstoy who didn’t like doctors very much respectfully wrote about him. For many years Nikitin was close friends with the Tolstoy family. Son of the the priest from a small village, Nikitin became the first family doctor of Lev Nikolaevich, and later treated M. Gorky. Beginning in the 1850s, Lev Nikolaevich had to turn to doctors both about his illnesses and about the illnesses of his children. But at the same time he believed that medicine does not see the essence of the problem, is engaged in the study of bacteria, but it is necessary to pay attention to the person himself, his soul. The writer did not differ in good health, but resisted the diseases, relying on the spiritual and natural defenses of the body, tried to dispense with medicines, and be treated with folk remedies. But in 1902 Tolstoy fell seriously ill with pneumonia. Since the writer’s life was in danger and he needed vigilant medical supervision, his family decided to invite a permanent doctor and found Nikitin. He quickly became involved with the Tolstoy family. They characterized him in letters to friends as a nice, pleasant person, a competent doctor.
Dr. Nikitin, thanks to Tolstoy, met many famous writers, cultural figures of the time. Even in the Crimea he treated Gorky and his family members, met with A.
Chekhov, S. Elpatievsky, S. Petrov (Wanderer), F. Shalyapin, L. Andreev. Returning from the Crimea, the young doctor settled in Yasnaya Polyana. For the Tolstoy family, he was more than a doctor - he served as a secretary, copied the manuscripts of Lev Nikolaevich, communicated with his children.
When Nikitin came to inspect the writer on his deathbed in 1910, Tolstoy addressed him with these words: ‘‘I want to give you a good advice. Do not go away from people and serve them. No need to study bacteria, to study infinitesimal quantities: after a while they will start to study even smaller ones and so on - to
infinity. All this for the sake of vanity. Do not leave people’’.
Provenance: from Nikitin’s family archives.