27 November 2008
NABOKOV, Vladimir Vladimirovich (1899-1977). Grozd. Stikhi. [A Bunch. Poems.] Berlin: Gamaiun, 1923.
[And:] Stikhotvoreniia (1929-1951). [Verses (1929-1951)]. Paris: Rifma, 1952.
2 works in 1 vol., 8° (153 x 115mm). Original printed wrappers bound in 20th-century cloth (light spotting to wrappers of first work.) Provenance: Vladimir Nabokov (book label; gift inscriptions with small drawings in each of the works to:) -- Vera Nabokov -- by descent to the consignor.
FIRST EDITIONS, FINE PRESENTATION COPIES INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO HIS WIFE, each with his characteristic drawings of butterflies. Nabokov inscribed Vera's Grozd twice: 'luche pozdnovaten'ko ['better a trifle late'] than never! Dushenke moei [to my little angel]. 15. VI. 1948. Ithaca, NY. V.'; and 'I eshche luche ['and even better'], my darling. 5.I.1969. Montreux'. The inscriptions reflect Nabokov's playfulness with language, and acknowledge the late presentation. Although Vladimir and Vera married in 1925, it is very likely that Nabokov simply could not find a copy to present to his wife any sooner than 1948. It is known that Nabokov actively sought copies of early works he would have left behind during emigrations from Russia and Germany. But copies of Nabokov's early collections of poems are distinctly uncommon: neither ABPC nor the Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise record a copy of Grozd selling at auction. In Vera's copy, under the printed title of the poem 'Paskha' [Easter], Nabokov has also added in pencil 'na smerte otsa' [On the Death of Father]. Nabokov's had written this poem in the aftermath of his father death in March 1922, when Russian monarchists attempted to assassinate Pavel Milyulkov. The second work bound in this volume, Stikhotvoreniia, collects poems published in periodicals between 1929 and 1951. It is inscribed in the year of publication, with a colourful butterfly drawing: 'moei dorogoi dushenke [to my darling little angel]. V. 1952'. Nabokov has also corrected the table of contents, adding a missing title in pencil. Juliar A5.1, A27.1.
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