3 June 2009
NABOKOV, Vladimir Vladimirovich. Zashchita Luzhina. Roman. [The Luzhin Defence. A Novel.] Berlin: Slovo, 1930.
8° (215 x 140mm). (Lacking half-title, some soiling and staining.) 20th-century cloth, upper side titled in manuscript in blue ink. Provenance: an indistinct library (deleted stamps) -- Vladimir Nabokov (bookplate; drawing dated 21 September 1967) -- Vera Nabokov -- by descent to the consignor.
FIRST EDITION, PRESENTED BY THE AUTHOR TO HIS WIFE WITH A BUTTERFLY DRAWING, the colourful insect labelled 'Veraedes prelestna Nab.' -- this taxonomy formed by his wife's name and the Russian adjective for 'charming'. In his later years Nabokov actively sought to form a collection of his own works; a manuscript note on the title remarks: 'bought from a bookstand as dirty as it is, second hand'. 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'. RARE.
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