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FIRST MANDELSTAM'S 'THE NOISE OF TIME'] Shum - Mandelstam, O.E - 1925. 
Vremia, Leningrad 1925 - 104 pp. 19,5x14 cm. Original illustrated wrappers. Near fine. Small tears at the top and bottom of the spine, damp stains on a few pages, Soviet bookshop's stamp on the back cover. First edition. One of 3000 copies. Rare. This is the first prose collection and an autobiographical work by Osip Mandelstam (1891-1938) from which most of the knowledge of his early years come from. It was written during the pause he took from writing poetry at the Crimean spa of Gaspra. The Noise of Time was written in 1923 but has not taken in publishing until 1925. It is a series of autobiographical sketches of the late 19th - early 20th century but strictly speaking it's not an autobiography: «My desire is not to speak about myself but to track down the age, the noise and the germination of time». At that time Mandelstam was trying to earn living with his literary work. All of his essays were commissioned. Isay Lezhnev, the editor of 'Rossiya' (i.e. Russia) commissioned The Noise of Time but after it was finished he was bitterly disappointed and rejected it - he was awaiting for a story similar to his or Mark Chagall's childhood stories but this story of St. Petersburg's jewish boy seemed dull for him. After that Mandelstam showed the work to Efros and Tikhonov (editor of 'Vsemirnaia literatura') but they also said they expected more from him. So he was left without fee when he badly needed it. Luckily his wife Nadezhda Mandelstam preserved the manuscript so it went from magazine to magazine. «Nobody would print a plotless thing without a class approach or social significance». Everybody including Nikolay Bukharin and Vladimir Narbut were saying the same: «I can't publish it - give me translations». Nadezhda Mandelstam later suggested that «there had probably been some decision at the top? wherever it is that ideology comes from - that divided writers into 'ours' and 'theirs'. Mandelstam and Akhmatova turned up in the extreme category of 'theirs'». (After Mandelstam's last book was published in 1928 his poetry was ostracized and almost banned). Only Georgy Blok, Alexander Blok's cousin, who held private press breathing its last became interested and published it. Even though critics found his perception of life 'potted' they appreciated his depiction and feature of 1880s-90s life and reaction period. Cover design by E. Kiliusheva who was an illustrator of children's books of publishing house 'Raduga' in the 1920s. [Attributes: First Edition; Soft Cover]
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