Anna Akhmatova

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(2020) AKHMATOVA, Anna (1889-1966). “Vospominaniia ob Osipe Mandelshtame”   28 July 1957

Original typescript, 2nd copy. 9 pages. 29.8 cm. Sheets bound by a contemporaneous paper clip.

An article by the illustrious Akhmatova which appeared in a New York journal in 1965 and for which only the microfilm still exists listed on worldcat under OCLC: 55190325.
The article which was first published with the title “Mandelstam: listki iz dnevika” details Akhmatova’s dynamic friendship with Mandelshtam in a very lyrical and poetic prose, full of reverence for the tragic fate of a man caught in the wheel of history. We don’t know of another samizdat example of this text to have circulated in the USSR from its first publication to the creation of the Russian Federation.

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(3159) Akhmatova, Anna. “Stikhotvoreniia i Poemy” (Poems) Moskva 1982.

+ various erotic texts

Collection computer printed. 148 pages. 31cm. Red hardbound binding. Samizdat dated 1982.

“Ob Anne Akhmatovoï”. (On Anna Akhmatova) 37 pages.

The major interest of this samizdat rests on two exceptional aspects. Firstly it was printed by computer and dated 1982, an extremely rare occurrence in the face of Andropov’s very public hatred of both the author of “Requiem” and samizdat. Secondly, Akhmatova’s poetry is followed by pornographic texts (see below) issued from the same printer and bound in the same volume.
Pornography was prosecuted as a crime against Soviet society. We know of no other copy of this samizdat even if we cannot be certain that the same computer file was used to produce only a single example. Nonetheless when chasing copies of the books proscribed during these years it is not inconceivable that the other copies were destroyed so as to escape the vehemence of the sanctions that would result from ownership of one.
This samizdat is also a surprising piece insofar as the person who made the samizdat used the poetry of a censored author to mask pornographic texts which were considered as revolting and punishable by psychiatric sentence in an asylum.

The Akhmatova poems are followed by:

+ ”Vatia-Sana Kama-Sutra”
Perevod s indiiskogo angliiskogo uchenogo aufekta, s rekomendatsiiami Shankara. (translated from the indian by an aufekt with              recommendations by Shinkara)
     Indiiskii eroticheskii traktat (11 vek do nashei ery). (Erotic Indian treatise (11th century before ours)
14 pages.

+ A.S.Pushkin “Tsar’ Nikita i Sorok ego Docherei” (Tsar Nikita and his 40 girls).
8 pages.

+ A.N.Tolstoi. “Vozmezdiie”
16 pages.

+ A.N.Tolstoi. “Bania”
4 pages.

+ I.S.Barkov. “Biograficheskaia Spravka” (A Biographical Note).
“Luka Mudishchev”
 “Stikhotvoreniia iz tsikla “Devich’i Shalosti” (Poetry from the cycle “The Frolics of Girls”)
“Korol’ Bardak Piatyi” (“The King of Bordello 5”)
“Grigorii Orlov”
1 + 35 pages.

+ “Eleonora”.
5 pages. An extremely pornographic and shocking text!

+ “Vospominaniia Molodoi Zhenshchiny” (Memories of a Young Girl).
13 pages. Also an excessively pornographic text.

+ Alfred de Musset. “Galiani”.
perevod s frantsuzskogo (Translated from French) izdatel’stvo “Valiu”.
15 pages.

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(3160) Akhmatova, Anna. “Belaia Staia” stikhotvoreniia.

Original typescript, 2nd copy. 43 pages. Printed recto-verso on 22 sheets, bound with original binding, sheets in excellent sheets and perfect readability. 28,5cm. Samizdat dated 1966 from Belagorsk

Copy after the third “Alkonost” edition from St. Petersburg 1922. The edition considered as being more rare than the 1917 edition which had a print run of 20,000 copies.

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(5216) Akhmatova, Anna. Rekviem.

Original typescript, 1st copy. 20cm. 10 looseleaf pages printed recto only, held by paperclip.

Given the explicit commentary about the Stalinist purges and the delicate official tolerance for Akhmatova’s existence the full text of “Requiem” would only be published while perestroika was in full swing. Easily the best known of Akhmatova’s poetic works in the West as it was also inside the borders of the USSR. While the subject matter of the poem refers to the events of 1934 Akhmatova worked on the lyrical cycle in the late thirties but, with her son in a Soviet labour camp and her own freedom teetering on the precipice of the State’s feigned indifference to her, she decided not publish and would eventually return to the cycle in the 1960’s. During those twenty-some years “Requiem” would take on its own importance in select literary circles, first through word of mouth and then through the only clandestine means any notion of freedom of expression then had; samizdat.
The first edition in Russian consisted of a palm sized volume printed in Munich in 1963 but the whole work would not be published in Russia until well into the perestroika in 1987. ”Requiem” has, in many ways, come to represent in the West the definitive samizdat; the struggle between reluctant acceptance of the State’s strong control over liberty of expression and the desire for the limits of creative expression to be self-determined. Nevertheless the very well documented history of the “Requiem” cycle (which, due to the universally acclaimed importance of its author, is possibly the best recorded of all samizdat) goes a long way to illustrating the necessity of samizdat, the popular demand for samizdat and the power samizdat had in preserving essential literary and social landmarks in Communist Russia’s history.

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