EDNote-- Unless there are more direct VN connetions to be explored, I
think the discussion of Evgeny Pasternak's death can be closed here.
-------- Original Message --------
Since I rarely know if anyone pays attention to anything I send to the
List, except on rare occasions when Jansy gets her dander up, I will
remind you all that not terribly long ago I posted information I
uncovered regarding the contempt in which VN appeared to hold BLP's
'Zhivago' (by the way, does anyone ever pronounce it 'Zhivavo'?).
Rather than re-state, I invite anyone interested to simply look it up
in the archives. VN does not come out very well, by the way, so
worshippers of the VN cult should be forewarned ... in a nutshell,
it's a case of Nobel envy, a rather ignoble and even ignominious case
of it if you ask my humble opinion. But some of you may have noticed
that I always have a jaundiced eye out for Nabokovian weaknesses ...
Dear Elena Danielson,
Is it possible I
know you, by the way, under your maiden name (i.e., were you in the
Slavic Languages Dept UCLA ca '68 to '72)? Whether or no - thank you
for your description of meeting with YBP. The Russian scholars of that
era, and I knew one of the best, Vladimir Markov, had that great
gentlemanly quality, unknown to me in any other nationality, with the
possible exception of the Spanish.
I am also
very proud to announce that last night I purchased what must be a
unique book, a copy of his prose works translated into English and signed
by B Leonidovich Pasternak. This must be the book YBP edited?
Here is the bookseller's description, headed by my query to
Allington Books: How could Pasternak possibly have signed this?
In other words, how do you know it is not forgery? Carolyn Kunin
Collected Prose Works [Signed] Pasternak, Boris
Publisher: Lindsay Drummond, Ltd.
Very Near Fine copy (modest corner bumping, light pushing at the spine
ends, expected age soiling to closed page block edges) of the first
edition, first printing of this important publication, in a Fine dust
jacket (some light toning to the recto and the verso, tiny edge
pushing, light soiling to rear panel edge, a tiny foxing spot to each
panel), SIGNED BY BORIS PASTERNAK on the front free endpaper; a
collection of selected prose from the great Russian author, winner of
the 1958 Nobel Prize in Literature -- which, after his initial
acceptance of it, Russian authorities forced him to decline; a
diminutive but important publication as the Russian authorities
suppressed Pasternak's writing, and, until the publication of this
volume, none of Pasternak's work had been published in English
translation. This inexpensively-produced World War II era book is
rather uncommon, is less common still when in the dust jacket, and is
remarkably uncommon when in a condition as nice as is this copy. (The
dust jacket to this copy in particular is considerably better than most
dust jackets seen on the few jacketed copies of this book.) Signed
copies of any of Pasternak's works, whether or not in English
translation, are extraordinarily scarce, and signed copies of his works
in English translation are absolute hen's teeth. (Our search of the
auction records reveals only one of his books signed by Pasternak
coming to auction in the last 25 years, and that being a Czech
translation.) A Very Near Fine copy of an extraordinarily scarce book,
Boris Pasternak's debut book in English translation, SIGNED BY BORIS
did not think such a thing could possibly exist but here is the
information I received from Allington Books which convinced me that the
book and signature are in fact genuine, and you will see my response,
again at the head:
On Fri, Aug 3, 2012 at 10:08 PM, Carolyn Kunin <email@example.com>
I must have this book.
On Aug 3, 2012, at 7:04 PM, Allington Books wrote:
Hello, and thank you for your inquiry about the signed Boris Pasternak
have over 30 years of experience in studying signatures (and, of
course, have seen many forgeries). Based on my decades of experience,
my careful examination of the signature, the examination of it by
others who are skilled in signature identification, and the book's
Provenance, I am quite certain of the signature. (Though the signature
is quite hard to obtain, there are known examples of it that we in the
trade use for reference.)
The book is from the Estate of Martha
Graham of dance fame. She had a large number of books signed by famous
authors in her collection. I and others skilled in the trade have
examined a number of her other books as well and the signatures were
the only explanation for this book's existence is that Martha Graham,
as a celebrity, probably invited by the Soviets to perform in the old
CCCP (SSSR) was not given the usual shlock soviet treatment; she
succeeded in bringing the book into the Union with her; she was
introduced to Pasternak by some mutual friend, perhaps (I shall enjoy
doing the research); and again managed to smuggle this precious relic
back out to the West and Life.
Was this a
nail-biter situation? or did she know she would get a 'pass' from the
customs? I have no idea, but hope to find out. My favorite
choreographer of that generations was MG's great friend, Agnes de
Mille, all of whose books I own, but I must now acquire books by and
about Graham to see if this book is mentioned in the literature.
In such a way are great (if small) book collections built!