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O’Flaherty, Liam

The Tent and Other Stories. Rare first and only Russian translation.

The Tent and Other Stories. Rare first and only Russian translation.

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Firsts London 2024 / Illustrated covers / Irish literature / Translations
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O’Flaherty, Liam [The Tent and Other Stories]. Palatka i Drugie Rasskazy. 

Translation from English by V. Tsederbaum.
Cover design by R. Kh.

Moskva, Izdatel’stvo “Nedra”, 1928.
8vo, 178, [2] pp.

In original pictorial wrappers.
In good condition, overall wear, wrappers very faintly spotted, small losses along spine, fraying and splitting to spine.

Rare first and only Russian translation. One of 3 000 copies printed.

In 1927, Liam O'Flaherty (1896-1984), a founding member of the Irish Communist Party, made his literary debut in the Russian language with the publication of four books. Interestingly, it is believed that Russian was the first language into which O'Flaherty's work was translated.
This prolific streak, however, came to an abrupt end in 1931. It is likely that the publication of O'Flaherty's book 'I Went to Russia' during the same year played a significant role in this discontinuation. The book documented his trip to the USSR in the spring and drew sharp criticism for what was perceived as justifying British imperialism. It was described as 'replete with base cynicism and deceitful assaults on the USSR'.
The translation was prepared by Vladimir Tsederbaum (1883-1938), a prominent social democrat, Menshevik, and translator. Tsederbaum, who was also the elder brother of Menshevik leader Julius Martov, did not support the 1917 revolution and faced multiple arrests and imprisonments as a result. Although he was liberated in 1928, he was not allowed to reside in Moscow or Leningrad. Tsederbaum eventually settled in Sverdlovsk (now Ekaterinburg) and served as the Head of the Planning and Economic Bureau of the Ural Branch of Orgmetall. However, he was arrested again in 1937 and tragically died in prison. Despite his difficult life, it is known that besides some political works, until 1931 Tsederbaum also translated three more books: Carl van Vechten’s 'Nigger Heaven', C.N. Williamson's 'The Shop Girl', and, together with his brother Sergei, G.D.H. Cole’s 'The Life of Robert Owen'.
This collection of stories comprises 29 of O'Flaherty's works translated into Russian - most likely based on the 1926 book 'The Tent'. Interestingly, another O'Flaherty's Russian collection titled 'Blackmail', published the year before this book, includes 14 stories that were retranslated and published in this edition ('Milking Time', 'Blackmail', 'The Conger Eel', 'Civil War', 'The Terrorist', 'Offerings', 'The Fireman’s Death', 'Stoney Batter', 'The Wounded Cormorant', 'Poor People', 'The Outcast', 'A Red Petticoat', 'Your Honour', and 'The Reaping Race'). This collection also includes the following stories: 'The Foolish Butterfly', 'The Wild Goat's Kid', 'The Old Hunter', 'The Jealous Hens', 'The Inquisition', 'The Tyrant', 'The Lost Thrush', 'Trapped', 'Mother and Son', 'The Stolen Ass', 'Charity', 'The Sensualist', 'At the Forge', and 'The Wing Three-quarter'.
The cover design was most likely crafted by Rafael Kherumian (1903/1907-1983), an Armenian painter and graphic artist. He studied painting and icon painting in Moscow under Pavel Korin. Since 1931, he lived in Paris and participated in the Society of Independent Artists until 1975.

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

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