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The Fairy Tales of Melpomene. Six stories by A. Chekhonte. Moscow, 1884.

The Fairy Tales of Melpomene. Six stories by A. Chekhonte (pen-name by Anton Chekhov), Moscow, A. Levinson Printing House, 1884, 96 pages, 12°. In a full morocco binding with gold lettering and in a beautiful case, slight foxing throughout. On the title page is the author’s autograph for the Russian Courrier editorial staff. Printed only 1200 copies. First Russian Edition and the author’s debut. A. Chekhonte was the pseudonym used by Chekhov at the beginning of his literary career, when he published his short stories in comic periodicals. Extremely rare!

 

 

 


The Fairy Tales was released early summer, and that same summer proud Antosha gave out over 100 copies to his friends and loved ones, and especially to his colleagues journalists. A copy from the library of Grigory Ivanovich Dobronravov. The first prehumous collection of A.P. Chekhov’s stories. Six stories included in this book are connected by one topic – theatre: its façade and stage curtains, weekdays and holidays. The A.A. Levinson’s Moscow printing house printed 1200 copies early June 1884. Publishing costs were 200 roubles which were given to the author as a loan to be repaid within 4 months by the editor A.A. Levinson himself. Chekhov wrote to Leykin about the Melpomene’s Fairy Tales, «The edition costs 200 roubles. Whether this money is lost, I do not care… Even Amurs would spend more on drinking, so why not spending all money on a literary pleasure?» As it is known, the book was sold out during six months. Extremely rare! (See Smirnov-Sokolsky, Vol. 1, No. 1225; «Currently, very few copies remained»).

Bibliography:

1. Letopis’ zhizni i tvorchestva A.P. Chekhova. Vol. 1 (1860-1888). Moscow, Neslediye Edition, 2000, p. 156.

2. The Kilgour collection of Russian Literature (1750-1920). Harvard & Cambridge, 1959, No. 225.

3. N. Smirnov-Sokolsky. Moya biblioteka, Vol. 1, M. Kniga Edition, 1969. No. 1225 4. I.F. Masanov «Bibliografiya sochineniy A.P. Chekhova», M., Univ., Printing House, 1906, p. 21.

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