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Slavonic Special Collections: Highlights of the Taylor Institution Library Slavonic special collections

Slavonic Special Collections - 17th century

Heinrich Wilhelm LUDOLF (1655-1712), Grammatica russica. Oxford: e Theatro Sheldoniano [Oxford University Press], 1696, 8°. The first printed grammar of Russian. The Cyrillic matrices, bought from an Amsterdam printer, were rarely used by the University Press thereafter, but were preserved. A facsimile edition of Ludolf’s Grammar was produced by the Clarendon Press in 1959, edited by Boris Unbegaun (1898-1973), Oxford’s first Professor of Comparitive Slavonic Philology. Arch. Morf. G268.

Fedor POLIKARPOV (c. 1670-1731), Leksikon treiazychnyi. Moscow: Tsarskaia tipografiia, 1704, 8°. Polikarpov was one of the first students at the Moscow Slavo-Greek and Latin Academy, at which he taught between 1693 and 1701. This is the first trilingual dictionary (Church Slavonic, Greek and Latin) to be printed in Russia. Ownership inscription of Nevill Forbes (1883-1929). Forbes was Oxford’s second Professor of Russian. Nevill Forbes bequest. Arch. NF. R257.704

Slavonic Special Collections - 18th century

Opyt o cheloveke [Essay on Man, translated by Nikolai Popovsky (d. 1760)]. Moscow: Moscow University Press, 1757, 8°. Popovsky used a French prose version (Amsterdam, 1736) by Etienne de Silhouette, but rendered it into Russian syllabic-accentual verse. The work was completed in 1754, but publication was prevented by the Orthodox hierarchy who objected to its rationalistic spirit and the Copernican plurality of worlds. Arch. Morf. R257. 757

79.Aleksandr Sergeevich GRIBOEDOV (1795-1829), Gore ot uma [Woe from wit]. 1824. [Manuscript copy, second quarter of the nineteenth century]. One of the great classics of Russian literature. The text of the play was completed by June, 1824, but due to censorship it was not published during the author’s lifetime. However, manuscript copies of the play circulated in large numbers throughout Russian from 1824 until the publication of the first complete text in the 1860s. Bookplates of R. Gordon Wasson and J. S. G. Simmons on front paste-down. Presented to the Library by J. S. G. Simmons in 1983. Arch. Z. A. 1

Slavonic Special Collections - 19th century

85.Jan KOLLÁR (1793-1852), Sláwy dcera. [The daughter of Sláva]. Úpelná wyd. Budapest: Trattner & Karoly, 1832, 8° Although a Slovak, Kollar wrote most of his work in Czech, and the sonnet cycle Sláwy dcera is regarded as the masterpiece of early modern Czech literature. The first edition (1824) included 151 sonnets. This second edition revision contains 615 sonnets. Robert Auty bequest 1978. Vet. PG5534.K5.S6.1832

87.Aleksandr PUSHKIN (1799-1837), Istoriia pugachevskogo bunta. 2 vols. St. Petersburg: Tipogr. II Otdeleniia sobstvennoi E. I. V. Kantseliarii, 1834, 4° Although less well known as a historian than as poet and novelist, Pushkin produced a pioneering study of the Pugachev revolt of the 1770s based on archival material made available to him by Nicholas I. Vol. 2 consists of documents and eye-witness reports, and both volumes are indexed. First edition. N. Siniavsky, N. Tsiarlovsky, p. 115. Presented to the Library by V. Glasberg 1968. Vet. PG3343.I6

94. Ivan Sergeevich TURGENEV (1818-83), Dvoriianskoe gnezdo [A nest of the gentry, in] Sovremennik [The Contemporary], January 1859. St. Petersburg, K. Wul’f, 1859, 8°. The first publication of Turgenev’s novel. The Library’s strong periodical holdings contain a number of works in pre-book publication form. Turgenev was awarded an honorary doctorate by Oxford in 1879. Bought 1957. PG 2904. S736

96.Fedor Mikhailovich DOSTOEVSKY, Besy [The devils]. St. Petersburg: K. Zamislovsky, 1873, 4° Dostoevsky’s novel was first published in instalments in the journal Russkii vestnik (1871-72). This is the first book edition. Nevill Forbes bequest. REP. SLAV. 9579

103Henryk SIENKIEWICZ (1846-1916), Potop [The deluge]. Warsaw: 1886, 4° Most widely known for his novel Quo vadis?, Sienkiewicz was awarded the Nobel Prize for literature in 1905. Potop is the second novel in his historical trilogy. First edition. The Library’s Polish holdings were greatly reinforced in 1983 by the gift of the Danilewicz Zielinska collection. PG 7160.S5.P7

Slavonic Special Collections - 20th century

108.Lev Nikolaevich TOLSTOY (1828-1910), Voskresen’e [Resurrection]. 2-e izd. St. Petersburg: A.F. Marks, [1900], 8°. This is the second St. Petersburg edition, illustrated by the artist Leonid Pasternak (1862-1945), father of the poet. Presented to the Library in 1917 by Nevill Forbes. REP. SLAV. 10278

114.Shalom Yakov Abramovich, calling himself MENDELE MOYKHER SFORIM (1835-1917), Ale verk. 17 vols. Cracow, 1911-12, 8°. The complete works of the “grandfather of Yiddish literature”. Yiddish studies have developed considerably at Oxford in recent years and the Library’s holdings have come in large part through the gift of the Whitechapel Public Library Collections, which was for a large part the library associated with Jewish emigration to England in the early years of this century. Acquired 1983. Vet. Y III B.1

116. Franz KAFKA (1883-1924), Der Heizer, ein Fragment. Leipzig: Kurt Wolf, 1913, 8°. Oxford – and the Taylorian – have a particular interest in Kafka since a large part of his manuscript archive is now in the Bodleian. This is the first edition of one of the few works published by Kafka in his lifetime, constituting the first chapter of the unfinished novel Der Verschollene (later published as Amerika, 1927). Dietz 21. Acquired in 1986. Arch 8° G. 1913

118.Anna Andreevna Gorenko, calling herself AKHMATOVA (1889-1966), U samogo moriia [“At the very edge of the sea”, in] Apollon. St. Petersburg: Golike e Vil’borg, 1915, 4°. One of the finest modern Russian poets, Akhmatova’s first book appeared in 1912. She received an honorary doctorate from Oxford University in 1965. Bought 1970. Vet. PG 2904. A663

120.Aleksandr Aleksandrovich BLOK (1880-1921), Dvenadtsat’ [The twelve]. 3-e izd. Petersburg: Alkonost’, 1918, 4° This is the third edition, illustrated by Yury Annenkov. Nevill Forbes bequest. O. PG 3455. B6. D8

121.Maksim GORKY (1868-1936), Vospominaniia o L’ve Nikolaeviche Tolstom. Petersburg: Z. I. Grzhebin, 1919, 8°. First edition, inscribed by the publisher and giving the translation rights to S. S. Koteliansky (1880-1955). It was subsequently translated by Koteliansky and Leonard Woolf as Reminiscences of Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (London, 1920). Koteliansky bequest. Kot. PG 3385. G67. Ed.1

122. Evgenyi Ivanovich ZAMYATIN (1884-1939), Gerbert Uells. Petersburg: Epokha, 1922, 8°. Zamyatin’s interest in H.G. Wells stemmed from their shared concern with futuristic literature. Indeed Zamyatin’s celebrated anti-utopian novel My [We] is considered by some critics to be a reply to Wells’s scientific utopianism. This is the first edition, with the author’s dedication to S. S. Koteliansky. Koteliansky bequest. Kot. PG3476. Z34. G35

Konstantinos KAVAFĒS (1863-1933), Poiēmata. Alexandria: 1929-1933. Cavafy, as he himself preferred to be known, had an idiosyncratic way of distributing his poetry. He had his poems printed on separate sheets which he periodically assembled into collections which he would fasten together with a metal clip and issue in editions of between 100 and 200 copies to friends and subscribers. In his own hand he would painstakingly make corrections and alterations. This collection is the ninth of ten such which Cavafy made between 1912 and his death. In this exemplar (from the collection of books belonging to R. M. Dawkins (1871-1955), the first Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek at Oxford) Cavafy has written in his own hand the titles of several additional poems. His original two-pronged brass clip is still in place. O. Arch. Z. Dawk.

12 Giōrgos SEFERĒS (1900-1971), Strōfe. Athens: 1931, 4°. Seferis was the first Greek to win the Nobel Prize for Literature (1963). Constantine Trypanis (Professor of Byzantine and Modern Greek at Oxford, 1947-67) writes in his Greek poetry (1981): “The change in the literary climate of Greece came about only after George Seferis published his first collection of poems, The turning-point (Strōfe) … a landmark in the course of modern Greek poetry”. This is no. 191 of the first edition of 200 copies. It is inscribed in Greek: “To Mr Petros Vlastos who has given so much assistance to this juniors both in technique and in language. Giōrgos Seferēs.” Vlastos (1879-1941) was a writer himself and a merchant based for many years in Liverpool. This is one of many books given to the Library by his widow. This copy of Strōfe also bears some pencilled notes in the hand of another Oxford Professor of Modern Greek, John Mavrogordato (1882-1970). Vet. PA2105.S4.S9