18 November 2014
SOMOV, Konstantin Andreevich (1869-1939) -- [BLEI, Franz (1781-1942) and others.] Le Livre de la Marquise. Venice [but probably St. Petersburg]: Cazzo and Coglioni [perhaps Golike and Vilborg], 1918.
Quarto (240 x 185 mm). Illustrated additional title, frontispiece, 30 plates, 13 of these printed in colour, and vignettes throughout, 15 printed in colour. (Occasional spotting, some offsetting from the colour plates.) 20th-century Russian dark brown half leather, signed 'B.V.' at the spine foot, brocade covered sides, spine in compartments tooled in green, contrasting brocade doublures, matching slipcase (minor wear, green on spine lightly faded). Provenance: 'Ia. B.' (Cyrillic initials on spine foot, perhaps Iakov Bogatenko).
FIRST EDITION OF SOMOV'S EROTIC MASTERPIECE, AND THE MOST DESIRABLE 20TH-CENTURY RUSSIAN EROTIC BOOK. One of only 200 copies of the unexpurgated 'large' Marquise; a 'small' Marquise, shorter by about 60 pages and with none of the explicit plates, was published simultaneously. Somov was able to publish during the brief interruption in censorship caused by the 1917 revolution and before the Soviet government began to clamp down once again in 1918. Eros invaincu 98; Pia Enfer, 815.
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