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Zhukovsky, V.A., Poems, Part I-III, Opyty V Prose, p. IV, Edition 2nd, Saint-Petersburg, M., 1818, 8°

Part 1: SPb., the Foster Care Printing House, 1818, [6], 1 sheet - portrait

Part 2: SPb., the Foster Care Printing House, 1818, [8], 207 pages

Part 3: SPb., the Foster Care Printing House, 1818, [2], 232 pages, 1 l. front.

Part 4: Works by Vasily Zhukovsky. Opyty V Prose. M., S.Selivanovsky Printing House, 1818, [6], 234 pages.

The portrait made by Sokolov & Frolov and the frontispiece in the 3rd part of the work by I.Ivanov and M.Ivanov who made the frontispiece also for the first book of A.S. Pushkin «Ruslan and Lyudmila», 1820. In 4 identical bindings in board of the time, with gold embossing on case bindings and backs. Three owners have changed:

1. At the bottom of the front case binding the raised letter embossing in gold appears: «Bib. Luisy Sytinoy» («The library of Luise Sytina»)

2. The book plate on all 4 front endleaves and the signet on all titles appear as : Aristyun Vasilievich Myasnov.

3. A gothic ligature impression of his daughter’s name: Elizaveta Aristionovna Myasnova.

Collection copy! Rarity! Smirnov-Sokolsky, Kilgur and Lesman do not have it!

Vasily Andreyevich Zhukovsky was of a very unusual origin: an illegitimate son of a Belevo landowner Afanasy Ivanovich Bunin and a young Turkish slave Salha from the Pasha’s harem in Bendery who was converted into orthodox religion under the name of Elizaveta Dementievna Turchaninova. The relationship between the owner and the young Turkish woman was obvious and everything was happening in the eyes of his own wife. The boy was born in January 1783 and was christened in the local Pokrov Church of the Holy Virgin and was named Vasily. According to the customs of that time, the illegitimately born boy was recorded as a son of a poor landowner Andrey Grigorievich Zhukovsky, a friend of Bunin, who had lived with his family in his estate. Andrey Grigorievich was educating his adopted son himself. Since 1790, Vasya was taken to Tula where he was enrolled the Christofer Rode boarding school. In 1792 the school was closed and Vasya was enrolled at the Tula Central Public School where he did not stay long and was expelled for his academic inaptitude: Vasya would often forget how much it makes two by two and where the Volga river runs into. His further education was home-based and easy. In November 1795 he was enrolled as a Warrant Officer in Narva Regiment, at only 12 years old. The young warrant officer was not allowed to be admitted to the regiment. The Tsar Pavel I in 1796 banned the admittance of underage officers to active service. Vasya had to return to Tula and took off his uniform without any slightest regret. There he met A.T. Bolotov, a person of encyclopedic knowledge. It was him who suggested that the relatives should bring Vasya to Moscow University Noblemen’s Pension, which happened in January 1797. The young man had at last started to live a life he needed, surrounded by educated and literary bohemia. In June 1800 Zhukovsky graduated from school with a silver medal. Although his first poems appeared at the end of the 18th century, his actual entrance to literature occurred in 1802 when one of the books of the Vestnik Evropy released his free translation of the Thomas Gray’s famous «Elegy Written in a Country Church Yard» (The curfew tolls the knell of parting day). That was the time of his self-education: he settled in his countryside house. While in Mishcheno he was studying passionately the ancient and new history, the history of fine arts and religions, literature, translated a lot from foreign poets. So, eventually he did become a person of encyclopedic knowledge. It was about him that A.S. Pushkin wrote:

«The captivating sweetness of his poems

Will overcome the distance of the centuries...»

The entire Golden Pushkin’s Era of the Russian literature is very closely linked to the name of Zhukovsky. An influential member of the Arzamas, a literary society, and its irreplaceable secretary. His literary friends dubbed him a «master of coffin affairs» for his mystical ballads. In 1814, Zhukovsky began publishing his 1st edition of his poems, certainly considering to release them with as much splendour as possible. Batyushkov suggested that he should go to Olenin if he really wanted it to be a splendid edition. Olenin invited a pair of famous artists: the drawer I. Ivanov and the engraver M. Ivanov. Zhukovsky’s «Poems» were released in Saint-Petersburg in1815-1816 in 2 parts at the Medical Printing House, and the poet was himself a publisher. Ours, 2nd edition of «Poems and other works» was released after two years, in 1818. The people who made the design of the book were the same plus a new pair of artists: Sokolov & Frolov. Remarkable is the allegorical frontispiece picture depicting a singer who fell asleep, the poet himself with a lyre. Shadows in the air, Svetlana and the Aeolian harp and other poet’s creatures. Yet there was one problem: the edition was divided, and the 4th part had to be printed in Moscow at the S. Selivanosky’s printing house. The «bomb of rarity» was laid, and the countdown started. Fame and glory came to him, and Zhukovsky became maître, father of the Russian Sentimentalism. He celebrates «sweet melancholy», dreaminess, a silverish moon, ramshackle tombs, and finally death as a way to the land of eternal bliss. However, the same was done by all other surrounding poets who were imitating Byron, Goethe and Schiller… In 1871 the Zhukovsky’s career was at its peak: he was appointed a teacher of the Great Princesses and a tutor of the prince Alexander Nikolaevich. And that lasted for 25 years up until 1841:

I was destined to follow an unknown path,

Be a friend to peaceful villages, and love the beauty of nature,

Breath under the twilight of oakery stillness,

And glancing at the foam of water

To sing about the Creator, friends, love and happiness.

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