Olivia Wadsley

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(4106) Wadsley Olivia. “Pokhishchennye”. (“Stolen hours”)

Original typescript, 1st and only copy. 263 pages. Hardbound, cloth spine. 21cm. Samizdat dated 1960.

Copied from the Riga edition published in 1929 (Oclc: 33203997). Wadsley was immensely popular in her day writing a number of serialised novels and countless feature articles for the London newspaper, “The Star”. Heavily inspired by the art-deco style and gliterati Wadsley portrayed the glamour and languorous nature of the stylish upper-class. Several of her novels served as the basis for feature-length films during the silent movie period and indeed Stolen Hours was made into a five-reel film in 1918 of which three have been preserved at the archives of the Library of Congress.
This type of samizdat adds more dimension to the argument that even during the Soviet period in Russia there was an unending appetite for sentimental and glamourous literary material. Nevertheless the tight control exercised at the State level by the censors usually made access to the genre impossible and so readers resorted to older translations and distributed well worn copies in samizdat and, of course, being discovered in possession of one of these samizdat led to immediate repercussions. Fascinatingly enough the continued existence of this sort of popular novel from the early part of the twentieth century was assured by samizdat to well after the fall of the Soviet Union where in the West the authors were largely forgotten. Today online forums in Russian with dedicated readers have cropped up and discuss these authors that are unheard of today in the West and their Russian translations just as easily accessible.

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