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Slavonic Special Collections: 20th century

20th century


The early years of the twentieth century produced an extraordinary flowering of art journals such as Mir Iskussva (S.-Peterburg) (1899-1904) (O.VET.PG2904.M542),  Zhar Ptitsa (Berlin) (O.VET.PG2904.Z646 (1921-1927).  The Slavonic Library is one of the few libraries in the UK with complete runs of these important and lavish journals.

The turbulent history of revolutionary Russia and post-revolutionary Russia but also of other East European countries means that many important works were published in tiny runs often in pamphlet form.  Many short-lived  literary journals sprang up and withered.  The result is many 20th century bibliographical rarities and we have a good selection of them in the special collections of the Slavonic Library. 

An example of one of these short-lived journals is Nedra (1923-1931) (PG2904.L778 (1924-1925)) a journal published by Uzel.  The Uzel co-operative publishing-house owed its existence to the literary circle which gathered in 1925 at Petr Nikolaevich Zaitsev's house in the small Starokoniushennyi side-street and Zaitsev was the publisher of Nedra - at that time a well-known journal. Many poets who are well-known today were published in flimsy booklets.  One example would be Sofia Parnok (a member of the Uzel co-operative).  We have one of her books of poetry Muzyka: stikhi published by Uzel in 1926 (VET.PAMPH.PG3476.P264.A6.M97). 

Some of these booklets could be of startling artistic originality.  Mayakovsky's Razgovor s finispektorom o poezii (1926) (VET.PAMPH.PG3476.M3.R2) has a striking paper cover in colour designed by Varvara Rodchenko. 

In the 1930s with Soviet power firmly established we see lavishly illustrated editions of the classics produced on fine paper by the Academia publishing house.   Academia's 1933 edition of Evgenii Onegin: roman v stikhakh (VET.PG3343.E8) illustrated by N. Kuz'mina  is a case in point.      Also, at this point we begin to see the rise of samizdat editions.

Highlights of 20th century collections

Vesennīĭ salon poėtov. Akhmatova, Anna Andreevna, 1889-1966 ; Balʹmont, Konstantin Dmitrievich, 1867-1942 ; Blok, Aleksandr Aleksandrovich, 1880-1921 ; I͡Akulov, Georgiĭ, 1884-1928 1918 | Moskva : Knigoizdatelʹstvo "Zerna" | 190 p. ; 19 cm. | book VET.PG3233.V4.1918