Christ and Anti-Christ.
(1) The Death of the Gods. Translated by Herbert Trench.
First edition in English, originally published in Russian in 1895. The first part of the Christ and Antichrist trilogy which was completed in 1905 with the publication of Peter and Alexis. One of the founders of the Russian Symbolist Movement, Merezhkovsky was nominated for the Nobel prize on nine occasions, coming close to winning in 1933. Deeply controversial, he was twice exiled from Russia, Yevtuschenko describing him as “universal kind of a dissident who managed to upset just about everybody who thought themselves to be responsible for guarding morality and order”, while Checkov defended him against charges of atheism with the statement, “A believer he is. A believer of the apostolic kind”. This copy with an intriguing provenance, ownership inscription of “Irene, Guilsborough Hall” to the title page. Irene Osgood (1875-1922) was an American novelist, poet and dramatist, who spent most of her life in England. She began her literary career by writing “a passionate, slightly scandalous autobiographical novel, The Shadow of Desire” (1893), latter marrying the English novelist Robert Sherard, a friend of Oscar Wilde, and impassioned defender of Wilde’s reputation, who in their acrimonious divorce proceedings claimed that he had been the true author of his wife’s work, also revealing that their Persian cat, of which he was seeking custody, was the only thing that made life with Irene tolerable (O’Brien, “Irene Osgood, John Richmond Limited and the Wilde Circle” in Publishing History, XXII, 1987). Osgood’s novels, with titles such as To a Nun Confessed, Servitude, Behind the Fan, The Garden of Spices, The Indelicate Duellist, An Idol’s Passion, and The Chant of A Lonely Heart, have been described as “sensual, maudlin and overwrought”.
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Octavo. Original green cloth, title gilt within decorative panel of darker green and gilt to the spine and front board. Just a touch rubbed. corners bumped, some foxing, but overall very good.