THE JEW AND OTHER STORIES.(New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1904). 213 x 146 mm (8 3/8 x 5 3/4"). viii, , 357 pp. Translated from the Russian by Isabel Florence Hapgood.
LOVELY CONTEMPORARY DARK ROSE-COLORED MOROCCO, ORNATELY GILT, BY SICKLES (stamp-signed on verso of front free endleaf), covers with border of double gilt rules enclosing an Art Nouveau-style frame of wavy rules connecting large cornerpieces, these with a small oval medallion of onlaid black morocco enclosed by gilt drawer handle tools and leafy sprays, upper cover with circular stylized monogram of "C E B" at the center; raised bands, spines gilt in double-ruled compartments decorated with drawer handles and circlets, wide turn-ins with gilt frame featuring pretty fleuron cornerpieces, ivory watered silk pastedowns and free endleaves, top edge gilt. With frontispiece illustration of a scene from the stories. Spine evenly faded to a soft rose, three leaves with uneven fore edges from rough opening, half a dozen leaves with corner creases, other trivial imperfections, but A FINE COPY, the text clean, fresh, and bright, and the handsome binding lustrous and virtually unworn.
Eulogized by Henry James as "a beautiful genius," Ivan Turgenieff (or Turgenev, 1818-83) was the first Russian writer to achieve international fame. Born into a wealthy family, he studied in Germany as a youth and was much influenced by German idealism and the western Enlightenment. His closest literary friends were Flaubert and Zola, and he identified far more with Western Europe than with imperial Russia. His earliest stories were sympathetic portrayals of Russian serfs that included harsh criticism of the feudal system he deplored. The title story here was praised by critics for its realism, but it provoked attacks on the author by Jews outraged at his portrayal of the Jewish central character as a grasping miser whose very being is abhorrent to a Russian gentleman. Also found here are Turgenieff's first short story, "AndrÚi Kˇlosoff," as well as "The Bully," "Pyetushkˇff," and "The Two Friends," the last featuring a duel scene ranked by critics as one of the author's finest efforts. The translator was Isabel Florence Hapgood, an American who travelled widely in Russia, wrote several books on the country, and translated works by Tolstoy, Gogol, Chekhov, and Dostoevsky. These three volumes were evidently once part of a larger set that was bound especially for the person whose initials appear on the upper cover. The binder Sickles is obscure, but ABPC mentions bindings from this firm three times, always covering books published in the 1890s. Their work here is tasteful and extremely skilled. (ST11462a-257)