27 November 2008
NABOKOV, Vladimir Vladimirovich (1899-1977). Zashchita Luzhina. Roman. [The Luzhin Defence. A Novel.] Berlin: Slovo, 1930.
8° (215 x 140mm). Mostly unopened. (Stamp of the 'Controle des Informations' department on the verso of the last leaf.) Original black wrappers with yapp edges, sides and spine printed in gold (small chips at edges and spine ends). Provenance: Vladimir Nabokov (bookplate; cancelled gift inscription and gift inscription to:) -- Vera Nabokov -- by descent to the consignor.
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR TO HIS WIFE: 'Vot tebe, moia liubov, ot avtora ['Here for you, my love, from the author']. Berlin IX 1930'; and with a card of manuscript notes by the author for the French translation of this early novel. In the foreword to his 1964 English translation, Nabokov wrote 'of all my Russian books, The Defense contains and diffuses the greatest "warmth", which may seem odd seeing how supremely abstract chess is supposed to be'. Nabokov, a keen player, found inspiration for Luzhin in the German master Curt von Bardeleben, whom Nabokov knew personally. RARE: ABPC and Jahrbuch der Auktionspreise do not record a copy selling at auction.
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