“THERE WASN’T MUCH FISH, JUST A FEW STRAY BITS OF BARE BACKBONE”: FIRST EDITION IN ENGLISH OF SOLZHENITSYN’S ONE DAY IN THE LIFE OF IVAN DENISOVICH; INSCRIBED BY HIM
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich.
Solzhenitsyn, Alexander. Translated by Ralph Parker (Solzhentizyn).$9,800.00
Item Number: 95841
New York: E. P. Dutton & Co., Inc, 1963.
First edition in English, preceding the first British edition, of the Nobel Prize-winner’s first published work. Octavo, original cloth. Presentation copy, inscribed by the author on the half-title page, “To Mr. Jon Fox A. Solzhenitsyn June 8, 1991.” Accompanied by a photograph of the author signing this book with a business card on which Solzhenitsyn practiced spelling the recipient’s name (completely in his hand), which is also visible in the photograph. Introduction by CBS newsman Marvin Kalb with a special forward by Alexander Tvardovsky, Editor-in-Chief of Novy Mir, the leading dissident literary journal during the late years of the Soviet Union. Near fine in a near fine price-clipped dust jacket with light rubbing and wear. Jacket design by the Duquesnes. Jacket photograph by Sovfoto. Housed in a custom half morocco clamshell box. A nice example, rare and desirable signed and inscribed and with noted provenance.
“The speech denouncing Stalin at the 22nd Communist Party Congress in 1961 emboldened Solzhenitsyn to submit One Day for publication to… the Moscow literary journal Novyi Mir. Premier Nikita Khrushchev piloted a special resolution through the Central Committee authorizing its publication; it appeared in November 1962, and Solzhenitsyn found himself catapulted to literary fame by his first published work, not only for its intrinsic merits but for the very fact that the government was allowing fictional treatment of a formerly forbidden topic, life in Stalin’s forced-labor camps” (Handbook of Russian Literature). The novel was based on Solzhenitsyn’s eight-year incarceration in a Kazakhstan labor camp. It is the first and perhaps the best example of this Nobel laureate’s belief in “the indivisibility of truth and ‘the perception of world literature as the one great heart which beats for the concerns and misfortunes of our world” (Solzhenitsyn, Nobel prize acceptance speech, 1970). This, the first English translation, was faithful to the Russian original and necessarily included the “deliberately muted themes” resultant from Solzhenitsyn’s self-censorship required for publication in the Soviet Union in 1962.