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Maugham, W. Somerset

The Letter. Ukrainian DP book.

The Letter. Ukrainian DP book.

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English literature / Translations / Ukraine / War
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Maugham, W. Somerset [The Letter: A novel]. Lyst: Novelia.

In Ukrainian
Series ‘Z chuzhoi literatury, ch. 2'.
Translation from English by B. Vasyl'.

Munich, 1946.
Oblong 12mo, 52 pp.

In original side-stapled pictorial wrappers.
In good condition, light wear to covers, small chips to spine.

Mimeographed copy. Unofficial DP camp edition (without any censor's notes).

The original text of 'The Letter' first appeared in 'Hearst's International' magazine in April 1924 and was later included in the short story collection 'The Casuarina Tree' (1926). This psychological detective story was based on the real case of Mrs. Ethel Mabel Proudlock, who shot the manager of a tin mine on the veranda of her house in Kuala Lumpur in 1911. Maugham subsequently adapted the story into a play with the same title. 'The Letter' was filmed twice in the USA, in 1929 and 1940.
This book was published in one of the displaced persons camps established after World War II in Germany, Austria, and Italy, primarily for individuals forced to leave their countries during the war. Between 1945 and 1951, thousands of books were printed in DP camps in various Eastern European languages. There were other publications of Ukrainian translations from English prepared in DP camps, including stories by Charles Dickens, Rudyard Kipling, Robert Louis Stevenson, Daniel Defoe, and Arthur Conan Doyle.
Possibly, the translator of the story was Vasyl Barka (1908-2003), a Ukrainian poet, writer, literary critic, and translator. During WWII, he was severely injured and caught in the occupation, subsequently sent to Germany. After the war, he lived there until moving to the USA in 1950, where he worked at Radio Liberty.

OCLC locates two copies of this edition: in the Bavarian State Library and the Saint Basil’s College Library (Stamford, US). 

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