Vera Kryzhanovskaïa (Rochester)

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(4101) [Rochester] Kryzhanovskaia, Vera Ivanovna (1861 – 1924). “Zamok Rekenshtein” (“The Rekenshtein Castle”) Kniga pervaia. “Gabriel’”.

Original typescript, 2nd copy. 150 pages. Hardbound binding. 19,5cm. Samizdat dated 1958-60.

Vera Kryzhanovskaia was born into an old family of the gentry class from the region of Tambov. in the years of the 1880’s and 90’s she came to live in Western Europe. From an early age Kryzhanovskaia had been interested in occultism and ancient history and participated in séances as a medium. Her husband Sergei Semenov who was also a medium was at the time well known because of his work with His Imperial Majesty’s Own Chancellery and the Chamberlain’s office from 1904.
In following with longstanding tradition among mediums Kryzhanovskaia stated that her novels were dictated by the spirit of the seventeenth century English poet John Wilmot, 2nd Earl of Rochester (who himself believed in the existence of the soul on Earth after death). Her choice of pseudonym would stay with her for the duration of her life. “Rochester” would come to be considered, above everything else, to be one of the first authors of science fiction, which would lead to her works being banned in the USSR as of the Revolution of 1917. The re-publication of her works would only be undertaken after the Perestroika.
With no avenues of revenue open to her after the Revolution she would emigrate to Estonia where she worked for more than two years in a wood factory, much to the detriment of her health.
While Oclc records several books by Kryzhanovskaia we haven’t been able to find this one and we don’t have knowledge of another samizdat of this Book 1 (“Gabriel”) which would give the title to the Krasnodar edition of 1994.

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(4102) [Rochester] Kryzhanovskaia, Vera Ivanovna. “Bolotnyi tsvetok” (“Flowers from the Swamp”).

Original typescript, 1st copy. 239 pages. Hardbound binding. 20,5cm. Samizdat dated 1958-61.

This novel published for the first time in 1913 was also republished in Riga in 1929. Like the previous number we did not manage to find any copy of this text in any Western library. It’s worth noting at this point that, in spite of all the prohibitions suffered by Rochester’s works and the criminal penalties associated with the mere possession of any of her works, no history of samizdat makes mention of her whereas many Russian collectors of her works possess them or, at least, know that these samizdat were in circulation in the mid-fifties.

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