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AKHMATOVA, Anna (trans.)

Korean and Chinese poetry in Russian.

Tsiui Iuan. Stikhi. Perevod s kitaiskogo. [Tsui Yuan. Poems. Translated from the Chinese.]; Koreiskaia klassicheskaia poeziia. [Korean Classical Poetry.]

Moscow: Gos. izdat. khudozhestvennoi literatury, 1954 & 1956 Stock Code: 142729
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Inscribed by the "Queen of the Neva"

First editions, each inscribed by Akhmatova to the linguist and fellow translator Aleksandr Kholodovich, with whom she collaborated extensively on the translation of Korean poetry. This is a lovely set of Asian poetry in Russian and with a great association.

The inscription in the second work includes a quote from the Orthodox Eucharist reflecting their collaboration: "Tvoia ot tvoikh tebe prinosiashikh'" Yours from your own offering to you and dated 6 April 1956. Akhmatova worked on all 175 poems in this collection, translating Kholodovich's preliminary translation into appropriate verses.

Anna Akhmatova (1889-1966) was one of the most significant Russian poets of the 20th century, and was shortlisted for the 1965 Nobel Prize in literature. Already renowned in the early 1910s, her aristocratic manners and artistic integrity won her the titles "Queen of the Neva" and "Soul of the Silver Age," as the period came to be known in the history of Russian poetry. "She lived through the revolution and the Nazi siege, through hunger and disgrace and the murder of her closest friends. She lived through the terror of Stalin, mostly alone in a small room that is now a sad, perpetually empty museum. She lived to tell about it all by carefully committing her poems to memory and then burning the paper they were written on. ('It was like a ritual,' her friend the poet Lydiya Chukovskaya wrote. 'Hands, matches, an ashtray. A ritual beautiful and bitter.') Always grand in her restraint, lucid in the agony she was able to convey, Akhmatova was the bard of St. Petersburg. She managed to be everything the city has always been: elegant, expressive and laden with grief. She was, in her disciple Joseph Brodsky's unforgettable phrase, 'the keening muse'" (Michael Specter, "St. Petersburg Journal; If Poet's Room Could Speak, It Would Tell of Grief" in The New York Times, 28 June 1995).

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2 works, octavo. First work: original reddish-brown cloth embossed with cloud motifs, decorative titles in black on gilt cartouche to spine and front board. Second work: original black cloth, titles and decorations in gilt, blue, and red to spine and front board, red pictorial endpapers.


First work: monochrome frontispiece, title printed in blue and black. Second work: printed in blue and black.


A touch rubbed, the bindings firm and unfaded, faint marginal water stains to front endpapers of vol. 1, else internally clean; a fresh set.


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