(1026) Mandelshtam, Nadezhda (1899 – 1980). “Vospominaniia”
Original typescript 1st copy. 444 pages + 1 photo de N. Mandelshtam. 21,5cm. Hardbound “à la bra del”. Pencil annotations and underlinings. Samizdat after the first edition of 1970. Typed in 1974. To our knowledge, there does not exist another samizdat as complete a copy of this one.
The story of Nadezhda Mandelshtam has been well documented. As the widow of a famous writer she made it her life’s work to preserve the genuine Russian culture that was unmentionable in the official press and unavailable in the bookshops and libraries. Her letters to famous American interlocutors portray her larger role and influence as the torch-bearer of a suppressed culture intended, like the deceased authors and artists, to remain disappeared. In the 1970’s she furthered her husband’s literary cause and had his archive smuggled to Princeton University.
The appearance in English of “Hope against Hope” captured the imagination of the western world; the memoir was in itself the evidence of a strange and alien world often heard of or were afforded mere glimpses where poetry and literature was dangerous enough to condemn the offenders to death. All of a sudden the vague political threat the Soviet Union offered became more terrifying on a much more personal level.
Although Nadezhda Mandelshtam was an accomplished translator and more than capable of writing her memoir in English the book was originally written in Russian.
When Nadezhda Mandelshtam died in 1980 her achievements of her autobiography and the championing of her husband would lead to expand the cause of Soviet literature throughout the world.