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Cuckoo: Northern Tales. Illustrations by Natalia Basmanova.

Cuckoo: Northern Tales. Illustrations by Natalia Basmanova.

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Boston Book Fair 2023 / Children books / Illustrated books / Indigenous peoples
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[Cuckoo: Northern Tales]. Kukushka: Severnye Skazki.

Translated and edited by M. Voskoboinikov and D. Nagashkin.
Illustrations by N. Basmanova.

Leningrad, Detgiz, 1957.
8vo, 10, [2] pp., ill.

In original pictorial wrappers.
Near very good condition, very light wear to wrappers, minor stains to back cover and p. 3.

First edition of these illustrations.

The book consists of two fairy tales. The first tale is 'Cuckoo', a Nenets story portraying a mother who transforms into a cuckoo due to her children's neglect. The second tale is 'Aioga', a Nanai story depicting a beautiful girl who becomes so enamored with her own reflection that she ultimately transforms into a goose.
The translation and editing of 'Cuckoo' were accomplished by Mikhail Voskoboinikov (1912-1979), a folklorist and specialist in Northern Peoples. In 1952, he was arrested and endured two and a half years in a labor camp. Upon his release, Voskoboinikov taught at the Leningrad State Pedagogical Institute, translated Russian literature into the Evenki language, and compiled a collection of literature and folklore from Northern peoples in Russian translation. The adaptation of 'Aioga' was skillfully crafted by Dmitry Nagishkin (1909-1961), a renowned writer, journalist, and author known for his specialization in Amur fairy tales.
The illustrations in the book were skillfully crafted by Natalia Basmanova (1906-2000), a talented female book illustrator. She received her artistic education at the Leningrad Art School (Tavricheskaya Art School) and the Leningrad School of Painting. Natalia and her husband, Pavel Basmanov, had a close relationship with Vladimir Sterligov, an avant-garde painter and former student of Kazimir Malevich, who is regarded by art professionals as the last representative of the Soviet Avant-garde movement. Under Sterligov's influence, Basmanova underwent a transformation in her artistic style starting from 1962, adopting his original system. Basmanova also collaborated with her daughter, Marina (Marianna), who is a renowned artist and was the partner of Joseph Brodsky.
In 1962, a second edition of these stories was published, featuring Basmanova's illustrations, albeit with different covers.

OCLC locates one copy of this edition in the USA only: in the Stanford University Library. More copies are in the Monash University Library (Australia) and Schweizerisches Institut für Kinder- und Jugendmedien (Switzerland).  

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