21 May 2014
MANDELSHTAM, Osip Emil'evich (1891-1938). Kamen. [Stone.] St. Petersburg: Akme [but printed at the author's expense by Iu. Mansfeld], 1913.
8º (210 x 139mm).(Light staining on the title.) Original green wrappers printed in black and repeating the design of the title page (some fading near the edges, small dampstains on front wrapper, light wear at the spine fold). Provenance: Osip Mandelshtam (presentation title inscription to:) -- Aleksandr Vir (a.k.a. Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Popov, 1890-1957, poet; title signature dated April 1913, pencilled annotations) -- Emanuel Tsipel'zon (acquired from by the consignor).
FIRST EDITION OF THE FIRST BOOK BY RUSSIA'S GREATEST 20TH-CENTURY POET, INSCRIBED BY THE AUTHOR: 'Aleksandru Viru v god, kogda govoriat kamni i zhelezno. Avtor. 5 Sent. 1914' [To Alexander Vir, in the year when stones and iron talk. The author, 5 September 1914]; Mandelshtam's inscription alludes to the World War, which Russia had entered just a few weeks earlier. The first edition of Kamen is very rare, and inscribed copies exceptionally so: ABPC and AE record no other at auction. Vir, a fellow poet, published in Vesna in 1909 and Niva in 1912. Anna Akhmatova had inscribed a copy of Vecher, her first book, to Vir on 7 March 1914, and it may be through her that Mandel'stam and Vir came to know each other. Vir has annotated his copy with lightly pencilled impressions in six of the poems. The scholarly edition of Kamen published by Nauka in 1990 includes two photographs taken when Mandelshtam visited Vir on 31 October of the same year.
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Sarah van Welden
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