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Wilde, Oscar

De Profundis. First Russian edition as a separate book.

De Profundis. First Russian edition as a separate book.

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English literature / First edition / Oscar Wilde / Translations
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Wilde, Oscar De Profundis.

Translation by the Princess A. Obolenskaia.

[Sankt-Peterburg, Parovaia skoropechatnia M.M. Gutzatsa, 1908].
12mo, 114 pp.

In owner’s mid–20th century cloth.
In good condition, lightly rubbed.

First and only edition of this translation. First Russian edition of 'De Profundis' as a separate book.

The first Russian translation of Wilde’s 'De Profundis' appeared in 1905, which was the same year as the original text. It was translated by Ekaterina Andreeva, who happened to be the second spouse of the symbolist poet Konstantin Balmont. A portion of her translation was published in the symbolist magazine 'Vesy' (#3), and it was followed by the release of a separate book. The following year, an anonymous translation was released as the third volume of Wilde’s complete works, but it was based on Andreeva’s translation, which was edited for the publication.
In 1908, there were two Russian translations of 'De Profundis' that came out: this edition and extracts in the magazine 'Vesy' by Wilde’s foremost translator, the journalist and secretary of 'Vesy' named Mikhail Likiardopulo, who had familiarity with Alfred Douglas and Robert Ross (separate edition appeared in 1909). 
It is possible that this translation was done by Princess Alexandra Obolenskaia (in girlhood Apraksina; 1852–1943), who was a close friend of Her Imperial Majesty the Empress Maria Feodorovna of Russia and her children. Obolenskaia maintained a correspondence with Grand Duchess Xenia Alexandrovna of Russia and other members of Romanov’s family. After the Russian Revolution Obolenskaia left Russia and eventually passed away in Paris. Given the difficulty of obtaining 'De Profundis' during that time and the complexity of the text, it is unlikely that the translation was made by someone else.
It is also known that Obolenskaia prepared two more translations: 'The Garden of Allah' (1914) and 'Egypt and Its Monuments' (1909), both written by English journalist and novelist Robert Hichens.
What’s intriguing about 'De Profundis' is that the majority of its translations into Russian were done by female translators. These include Andreeva, Obolenskaia, Maria Simonovich (Odessa, 1909), and Rita Rait-Kovaleva, who worked with her daughter Margarita (1976; first translation from the complete version issued in 1962).

Roznatovskaia. # 490.

Rare edition. OCLC locates only one copy of this edition: in the Stanford University Library.

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