KHODASEVICH, Vladislav Felitsianovich (1886-1939). Three autograph letters signed ('Vladislav Khodasevich', 'V.K.'), one of these to Nikolai Volkovyskii ('Dearest Nikolai Moiseevich'), dated Dom Iskusstva [St Petersburg], 21 November 1921; the others two to Mikhail Froman ('Dearest Mikhail Aleksandrovich'), one of these undated but Paris, c. December 1925, and the other dated Paris, 14 April 1926.
In Russian, 10 pages in total, 182 x 182mm to 270 x 210mm (light soiling on the final leaf).
Khodasevich sends his poem 'Sorrento Photographs'. In his first letter to Froman, Khodasevich sends the first 68 lines, from 'Vospominan'e prikhotlivo' through to 'O chuzhdyi kamen spotykaias'. He remarks that he has never sought fame, though he appreciates knowing that his work endures in the memory of others; he notes having been very upset by Esenin's suicide, but suspected the possibility after reading Esenin's last book: 'his life was a chain of terrible mistakes [...] writing for him was not a matter of "literature" but a matter of life and conscience [...] to the end he was always truthful'. In the second letter, Khodasevich sends Froman the remaining 114 lines, from 'Mototsikletka strekotnula' through to 'Ten sorrentinskikh fotografii?' Khodasevich closes his second letter with an extensive listing of all his compositions since June 1922. 'Sorrento Photographs' was published in European Nights (1927), the poet's last collection of verse. Mikhail Froman (1891-1940) was a poet, translator, and admirer of Khodasevich. The two letters addressed to him are published in Khodasevich's collected works (Moscow: 1996-1997), volume 4, pp.495-497 and 500-501. The letter to Nikolai Volkovyskii appears to be unpublished; here Khodasevich writes to convene a meeting of the editorial board of Vsemirnaia literatura, the publishing house founded at the instigation of Maxim Gorky. In 1922 Volkovyskii was arrested and deported to Berlin. Khodasevich is a major figure of 20th-century Russian literature; Maxim Gorky raved that 'Khodasevich writes utterly amazing verse' and that 'Khodasevich, to my mind, is modern-day Russia's best poet' (quoted in Bethea, p.xv). Khodasevich eventually left Russia with Gorky's support, settling in Berlin and then Paris, where he became an important figure of Russian emigre literature. Nabokov was an enthusiastic supporter of this overlooked master, as was the critic Wladimir Weidlé who, following Blok's death, described Khodasevich as Russia's leading poet. Bethea, Khodasevich: His Life and Art, Princeton University Press, 1983.