Tbilisi: S.s.m.u.s. p’oligrap. ganq’. lit’ograpia, 1924. 32 pp. 26.8x18 cm. In original illustrated wrappers. Soiling and foxing occasionally, tears of the spine with small fragments lost, small tears of edges, blurred signature on the front cover.
First edition. One of 5000 copies.
The book is a collaboration between Galaktion Tabidze (1891–1959) and Irakli Gamrekeli. A “hymn to the revolution” by the leading Georgian Symbolist, Galaktion Tabidze.
Traveling to Petrograd in 1917, the poet was one of the few Georgians to witness the Revolution first-hand. It was there that Tabidze fell under the spell of John Reed (1887–1920), an American journalist and poet, who later achieved popularity as the author of “Ten Days That Shook the World” (1919) (his first-hand account of the October Revolution). Highly impressed with the work, Tabidze responded with a poem named after the American socialist activist in which he described the Russian Revolution and his own emotional response to it. “John Reed” was first printed in a weekly magazine, “Mnatobi” (Luminary), in 1924, and in the same year, owing to its great success, it was published in a standalone volume.
In 1921, a group of Georgian poets announced a competition to find the title of “The King of Poets”. Contestants, including Sandro Shanshiashvili (1888–1979), Ioseb Grishashvili (1889–1965), Titsian Tabidze, and others, presented their verses to the judges. On June 25, 1921 Galaktion Tabidze was announced as the winner. As a sign of his deep appreciation, “The King of Poets” dedicated “John Reed” to the judges who voted for him, namely Ia Ekaladze (1872–1933), Irakli Kancheli, Grigol Oragvelidze, Gorbon Agareli, Terenti Graneli (1897–1934), Alexander Kalandadze (1916–?), Grigol Zodeli (1903–1975), Gion Saganeli, Artem Gabunia (1896–1940), Polio Abramia (1899–1975), Mikel Rabiani, Simon Chikovani and Ioseb Imedashvili (1876– 1952).
This “Georgian John Reed”, as Galaktion was often called because of his thorough account of the Revolution, suffered an unhappy life: the loss of his friends and his beloved wife during the Great Purge made him prone to depression. Seriously ill, he was eventually placed in the Tbilisi psychiatric hospital where he ended his life in 1959 by jumping from the window.
New Georgian Book Design, 26.
Not in the Worldcat.