21 November 2012
TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). Voennye razskazy. [War Stories.] St. Petersburg: at the Press of His Imperial Majesty's Headquarter for Military Schools, 1856.
12° in sixes (181 x 115mm). (Half-tile with an early repair, some marginal spotting, bifolium 18* a little loose, a few leaves browned in the margin, occasional light soiling.) Contemporary Russian green half leather, green pebble-grained cloth sides, flat spine titled in gilt within a large gilt cartouche (corners and extremities rubbed, sides scuffed). Provenance: '7A90' and '7A25' (shelf-marks on or under small over-slips in the margin of the first three leaves).
FIRST EDITION OF THE GREAT RUSSIAN AUTHOR'S FIRST BOOK. RARE. ABPC records just one copy sold at auction in over 35 years (Christie's, 30 July 1980, lot 22). Voennye razskazy passed the censor on 11 May 1856, two weeks before Detstvo i otrochestvo [Childhood and Boyhood], licensed on 28 May but sometimes incorrectly described as Tolstoy's first book. Tolstoy's short stories earned him considerable fame years before War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Voennye razskazy collects Tolstoy's Sebastopol sketches, 'Nabeg', and 'Rubka lesa'. Smirnov-Sokolskii 1190; not in Kilgour.
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