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Goldsmith, Oliver

The Vicar of Wakefield. Rare Russian translation with illustrations.

The Vicar of Wakefield. Rare Russian translation with illustrations.

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Firsts London 2024 / Illustrated books / Irish literature / Translations
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Goldsmith, Oliver [The Vicar of Wakefield]. Vekfildskii Sviashchennik. 

Second edited edition.
With 187 illustrations [by George Dorrington].
Translation by Yakov Gerdt.

Sankt-Peterburg, D.F. Fedorov, 1872.
8vo, frontispiece, XX, 343 pp., ill.

In contemporary quarter leather, paper-covered boards. Original pictorial front cover preserved.
In good condition, lightly rubbed, fraying to spine extremities, some spotting to pages.

The novel 'The Vicar of Wakefield' (1766) by Oliver Goldsmith (1728-1774), an Anglo-Irish novelist, playwright, and poet was immensely popular among Victorians and is considered one of the most widely read 18th-century novels. It was mentioned in the works of many prominent writers, including George Eliot, Stendhal, Arthur Schopenhauer, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Mary Shelley, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, and others.
The first translation of 'The Vicar of Wakefield' into Russian was completed in 1786, but it was translated from a French version of the novel. Interestingly, in the beginning of 19th centaury Goldsmith's essay was translated into Russian by Nikolay Karamzin, an important historian, writer, and poet, while his poems were translated by Vasily Zhukovsky, who was the foremost Russian poet of the 1810s.
Yakov Gerd (1799/1800-1875), originally named James Arthur Heard, was born in England. He arrived in St. Petersburg in 1817 with the aim of establishing schools under the Lancasterian System in Russia. Later, he worked in the railway department. Gerd became so proficient in Russian that he was able to translate 'The Vicar of Wakefield', and his first edition of the translation was published in 1846. The translation was republished several times, and this second edition of Gerd's translation was edited by his son Aleksandr Gerd (1841-1888), who was a teacher and briefly served in a juvenile reform school. From 1878 until his death, Aleksandr Gerd taught Tsesarevich Alexander (future Emperor Alexander III), Grand Dukes Michael Alexandrovich and George Alexandrovich, and Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna.
The book was illustrated with images by George Dorrington (active 1838-1901), a British wood engraver and printmaker. These illustrations were originally published in London in 1841, and it is possible that they were used without permission.

We couldn’t trace any copy of this edition in the USA or European libraries via OCLC.

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