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Shum Vremeni [i.e. The Noise of Time].

Leningrad: Vremia, 1925 Stock Code: 132476
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His first prose work, in the original wrappers

First edition, first printing, of Mandelstam's first prose work, a series of autobiographical sketches which provide an important source for Mandelstam's childhood, despite not formally being an autobiography: "my desire is not to speak about myself but to track down the age, the noise and the germination of time". The work was commissioned in 1923 by Isay Lezhnev, the editor of Rossiya (i.e. Russia), and Mandelstam wrote it while taking a pause from poetry in the Crimean spa of Gaspra. However, Lezhnev rejected the work, as did other editors. Mandelstam later stated he felt these decisions were due to him being out of favour with the Soviet literary authorities. Mandelstam was finally able to have the work published in 1925 by Georgy Blok - the cousin of the poet Alexander Blok - at his private press Vremia, then still operating with the last vestiges of press freedom before total Soviet control. The book is rare, partly due to its fragility, but also perhaps due to Mandelstam's ostracism under Stalin (he was exiled to the Gulag, where he died, in 1938). Only a couple of copies have appeared at auction, one of which was rebound, the other repaired. This copy, in the original wrappers and unrestored, is a particularly nice example.

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Octavo. Original printed paper wrappers. Housed in a dark brown flat-back cloth box by the Chelsea Bindery.


Slight wear to spine ends, faint staining and early stamp to rear cover, contents toned with some light staining. A very good, well-preserved example of this fragile work.


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