Mikhaïl Zwick

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Zwick, Mikhail (1895-1941). Braslet Tutankhomona. Douglas Enefer (1910-1987). Velikolepnaia Zapadnia.

Original typescript, 1st copy. 346pp & 184pp. 20cm. Bound in red morocco covered boards, black spine and corners, textile bookmark, gilt titling to spine. Samizdat circa 1970.

As unknown translations and bound as part of the collection that are all similarly bound from the same binding factory which we have nicknamed “The Red Samizdat” this samizdat is a perfect example of the range of literature covered by samizdat. Exemplary of the pulp genre Zwick and Enefer couldn’t be from more different backgrounds; Zwick a Soviet era journalist who died during the German occupation of Latvia and Enefer a Birmingham born writer who wrote under several pseudonyms and wrote the novelisation of the Avengers.
These detective samizdat is part of a collection all similarly bound from the same binding factory which we have nicknamed “The Red Samizdat”. In comparison to the below samizdat this production is luxurious and provides a new element and stark contrast illustrating the expansive reach of samizdat across Soviet citizens. It’s worth noting that this translation of Zwick’s “Braslet” is not the same as that in the below version.
In relation to the collection of “Red Samizdat” it is very well known that Leonid Brezhnev’s son was an immense fan of American popular and decadent culture, in particular Westerns and Tarzan. Given that he was beyond the grasp of the Secret Services he would have films and books purchased or copied in the West and have them smuggled to him by various means, usually a diplomatic pouch. Literature would also be copied in the embassies abroad to be sent back to Moscow on the premise that they needed to be reviewed. Usually the barely veiled pretence would result in copies being sent to high-ranking officials in the Politburo.

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(5067) Zwick (Zwik), Mikhaïl. “Braslet Tutankhamona” (“Tutankhamen’s Bracelet.)

Original typescript, 2nd copy. 272 pages. Red hardbound binding with cloth spine. 21cm. Samizdat dated between 1958-1962.

Playwright, novelist, poet and satirist M. Zwick was an author of pulp par excellence. Started his career being very noted in various publications in St. Petersburg before the events of the Revolution exploded. In reaction to the tumultuous events Zwick decided to relocate to Riga where he collaborated on several reviews where often his writings carried the pseudonym of M. Mironov. At the beginning of the twenties he left Riga for Berlin and it was there that he would publish his police thrillers to great success in Latvian, Russian and German. All of his works, prized by the Russian reading public, were strictly prohibited in the USSR as of 1938 (see chapter titled “The Proximity of Catastrophe” in “Russian Press in Riga” by B. Ravdin and Y. Abyzov published by the Dept. of Slavic Languages and Literatures, Stanford University).
This samizdat is a copy of the novel’s whose original we didn’t manage to find in any of the world’s libraries. It is, as well, absent from the National Library of Russia.

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