28 November 2018
TOLSTOY, Leo (1828-1910). Voennye razskazy. [War Stories.] St Petersburg: at the Press of His Imperial Majesty's Headquarter for Military Schools, 1856.
The first edition of Tolstoy's rare first book. The great collector Smirnov-Sokol'skii recalls the pleasure of finding this rarity: ' I searched for it for a long time and, having found one, I put it on the shelf with great satisfaction, as one of the highlights of my collection'. RBH and ABPC record just three copies having sold at auction in over 35 years. Tolstoy's short stories earned him considerable fame years before War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Voennye razskazy collects Tolstoy's Sevastopol sketches, 'Nabeg', and 'Rubka lesa'. 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. Smirnov-Sokol'skii 1190; not in Kilgour.
Twelvemo in sixes (175 x 113mm). (Mostly marginal spotting throughout.) Contemporary Russian green half leather, flat spine titled in gilt (small, expert repairs; extremities lightly rubbed).
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