Chernets, kievskaia povest [The Monk, a tale of Kiev].[St Petersburg: National Education Department Press,] 1825 Stock Code: 129707
The poem that established his reputationFirst edition of Kozlov's Byronic poem, the work that established his literary reputation, and which spread Byronic ideals among the Russian literary scene. Kozlov (1779-1840) lost his sight in 1821 and had to forgo his successful military and civil service career. He instead took to writing, learning English and German to add to his Russian and French, and began his career as a poet and translator. Through translating Scott, Moore and Byron he was introduced to romantic literature, and fell under the sway of Byron especially. His poem The Monk "is a Byronic confessional poem, a tale of love, death, and revenge shrouded in an atmosphere of mystery" (Terras, p. 234). Initially travelling in manuscript across Russia, its publication in 1825 spawned numerous imitators. Kozlov was soon compared to Pushkin, and indeed some felt he surpassed him: Pyotr Vyazemsky wrote to Alexander Turgenev in 1825 that "there is in Chernets more feeling, more thought than in Pushkin's poems". The work is highly rare - WorldCat shows only five copies, in Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Columbia and the Library of Congress. Only one copy is known to have appeared at auction, in 2009, which indeed is possibly this one.
Octavo (188 x 121 mm). Contemporary quarter cloth, green manuscript label to spine, marbled paper sides.
19th-century shelf mark to title and bookseller's ticket to rear pastedown, inscription dated 1830 to divisional half-title and a couple of other minor contemporary annotations and jottings. Minor rubbing to extremities, discreetly reinforced at inner margin throughout, tear to pp. 13-14 repaired with slight loss to text, marginal repairs to 2 other leaves not affecting text, a few minor nicks at page extremities, light patches of staining and foxing throughout, last leaf soiled. Still a good copy of this rare work.
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