First edition in Russian of Pasternak's epic, its international success helping to cement his Nobel Prize win of the same year.
Near fine in very good plus dust jacket.
До́ктор Жива́го [DOCTOR ZHIVAGO]
"It is hard to believe that the Soviet authorities might seriously envisage forbidding its publication in the land of its birth." – Anders Österling in the STOCKHOLMS-TIDNINGEN
The true first edition of DOCTOR ZHIVAGO was published not in Boris Pasternak's native Russian, but in Italian. Pasternak's original manuscript was famously smuggled out of Russia into the hands of Milanese publisher Giangiacomo Feltrinelli after it was rejected from the NOVY MIR literary journal for its perceived anti-Soviet sentiment. Hoping to use the 1958 Brussels Exposition as an opportunity to undermine the Soviets, the CIA paid Dutch publisher Mouton to quickly print "over a thousand" essentially pirated copies. American agents then used the Vatican City pavilion at the Exposition to surreptitiously circulate the CIA-sponsored edition. Fearing official retribution, many of the Russians who received copies "ripp[ed] off the cover, divid[ed] the pages, and stuff[ed] them in their pockets to make them easier to hide" (Finn and Couvée). For this reason — as well as the fact that the copies that made it back to Russia "were passed from hand to hand as avidly as a copy of FANNY HILL in a college dormitory" — the Mouton edition rarely appears on the market (Finn and Couvée). Mouton, however, published in Italian from an uncorrected manuscript, much to Pasternak's chagrin; "it abounds with errata," he complained in a letter to Feltrinelli (Finn and Couvée). The present "Feltrinelli Edition," however, met his high standards and introduced Pasternak's classic novel in his native tongue. In 1965 the tale also became a classic of cinema, when the Hollywood adaptation by David Lean and Robert Bolt and starring Omar Sharif and Julie Christie became one of the highest-grossing films of the year. It went on to be nominated for ten Academy Awards, of which it won five. A literary flashpoint with a publication history nearly as intricate as its plot.
Read more: Peter Finn and Petra Couvée, The Zhivago Affair.
Milano [Milan]: Giangiacomo Feltrinelli Editore, (1957) [but 1958]. 8.5'' x 5.5''. Original green boards with black lettering. Original color pictorial dust jacket (with blank flaps) designed by Ampelio Tettamanti. 568 pages. Pencil annotations throughout. Jacket with some edgewear, a few small chips; light toning to spine. Binding spine ends mildly bumped, with a slight lean; a few tiny spots of soil to margins. Shows well. In custom red cloth clamshell box.
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