28 November 2018
PASTERNAK, Boris Leonidovich (1890-1960). Doktor Zhivago. Milan [The Hague]: Feltrinelli [Mouton], 1958.
The rare CIA-sponsored first edition in Russian. The Library of Congress Copy. RBH and ABPC record only one copy having been offered at auction. Declassified documents revealed that the CIA sought to embarrass the Soviet government by facilitating the publication of this edition and by distributing copies to Russian visitors via the Vatican Pavilion of the 1958 World Fair in Brussels (see: Finn & Couvee). Feltrinelli had spirited the manuscript out of Russia and published the first edition in an Italian translation in 1957. He began discussing a Russian edition with Mouton, but before negotiations were completed Mouton proceeded to print 1000 copies for the CIA's sole use. 365 of these were sent to the Vatican Pavilion, 200 were sent to the CIA in Washington, and the remainder was distributed among CIA offices in Europe. According to Finn & Couvee, many of the Brussels copies were damaged: 'the book's blue linen covers were found littering the fairgrounds. Some who got the novel were ripping off the covers, dividing the pages, and stuffing them in their pockets to make the book easier to hide' (p.142). A small proportion of the edition, about 100 copies, does not credit Feltrinelli on the title. Finn & Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book (New York: 2014).
Octavo (220 x 141mm). (Margins faintly yellowed.) Original blue cloth, spine lettered in gilt (some staining, mainly on the back cover). Provenance: The Library of Congress (deaccession stamp).
Contact Client Service
New York +1 212 636 2000
London +44 (0)20 7839 9060
Asia +852 2760 1766
+1 212 636 2661
+44 (0)20 7389 2151
No VAT on hammer price or buyer's premium.
This is one of only three such historic newspapers confirmed to still exist — and it is the first time that one of them has ever been offered at auction
A 360-degree view of important works from the Renaissance to the 20th century ahead of our four auctions in Paris this May, including a drawing from Tiepolo’s Punchinello series, illustrated books by Picasso and an 18th-century equinoctial sundial
Mark Wiltshire, Associate Specialist in Science & Books, walks us through the history of Christianity’s most influential printed text
Our Books and Manuscripts specialists advise on a richly rewarding and ever-evolving collectors’ market
The library of the novelist included a translation by a brilliant young mathematician that foresaw the age of computing
Offered in the ONE sale on 10 July in New York, Annie epitomises the genre that made the artist one of the most celebrated of his generation