FIRST OFFICIAL EDITION IN RUSSIAN OF DOCTOR ZHIVAGO
Item Number: 4184
Milan: Feltrinelli, 1958.
Scarce first authorized trade edition in Russian, published in Milan, Italy. Octavo, original pale green paper-covered boards. In very good condition, lacking the rare dust jacket.
Giangiacomo Feltrinelli of Milan published the true first edition, an Italian translation, in 1957. He then obtained a court order to prevent the publication of the work in Russian by Mouton. "It was well known that Pasternak was under serious consideration for a Nobel Prize in Literature and because of complications involving whether or not the novel itself would be considered part of his Nobel achievement and candidature, publication in the Russian langauge had to be no later than August 1958. Since Mouton was ahead of him in preparedness for the press, Feltrinelli allowed Mouton to go to press, but over his imprint. This edition of a few hundred copies was published on August 24. Some copies of this printing were pirated without the Feltrinelli imprint title page and were available at the Vatican Pavilion of the Brussels World Fair until October, some say with the connivance of the CIA and perhaps the British Secret Service, MI6. Within a few months of the Mouton edition over the Feltrinelli imprint, Feltrinelli issued his real edition in Milan, but with a 1957 date and a slug line securing his copyright through the precedence of his Italian version. Thus, Feltrinelli secured his position as publisher of the Nobel candidate" (Biondi).