Moscow: Nauka, 1970. Item #841
808 pp.: ill., 12 ills. 22x18 cm. In original full cloth with lettering on the front cover and spine, in original dust jacket. Few minor tears and pale stains on dust jacket, otherwise near fine.
One of the best illustrated editions of Dostoevsky in Russian.
Twenty four black and white drawings were produced for this edition by the Russian and American sculptor Ernst Neizvestnyi (1925-2016) which sculptures Khrushchev characterized as “degenerating art” in 1962. These independent, not realistic interpretations of ‘Crime and Punishment’ caused displeasure of the Communist Party and critics' outrage as well. The drawings were blamed as subjective, modernist, surrealistic. The works, dedicated to Dostoyevsky himself and his masterpiece, were printed in a fundamental edition of the well-known ‘Literary Monuments’ series. The print run was arrested but the drawings were already inside the complex book design - the captions were published on other pages. Finally, the submission was accepted and the book was highly appreciated by the Soviet and foreign press.
Neizvestny himself remembered: “I didn’t try to illustrate Dostoevsky, I researched him in a way that was possible to me as the graphic artist. And that was why these works were included in ‘Nauka’ (i.e. Science) edition. It was intended not for the general public but specialists”. That was the first work by Neizvestny in the book design, he made more than 600 drawings related to Dostoevsky and selected a little part of them for publication.
The edition also contains comprehensive commentary, facsimile of Dostoevsky’s handwritten notes and drawings, analysis of text variations.
The only copy located in Library of Congress.