St. Petersburg: Proletkul’t, 1919. Octavo (21 × 14.5 cm). Original illustrated, staple-stitched wrappers; 37,  pp. Wrappers very lightly chipped; paper restoration to spine extremities and wrapper edges. Still about very good.
Fifth edition of the debut collection of poetry by one of the early members of Petrograd (St. Petersburg) Proletkult, the journalist, poet, and playwright Pavel Arskii (1886–1967). The Proletkult movement aimed to create a uniquely proletarian culture by encouraging and supporting artistic work by the members of the working class. Arskii’s rise through the Proletkult movement was indicative of the movement’s early success. Born into a peasant family, like many young men of his generation Arskii came to the city (Pskov) to work in a factory, where he was eventually arrested for “revolutionary activity.” Mobilized during WWI, he took part in the storming of the Winter Palace. In 1918 Arskii joined the Bolshevik party. This was Arskii’s first Proletkult publication, soon followed by the collection of short stories “Krov’ rabochego” [The blood of the worker]. Arskii also wrote plays for Proletkult theater and was eventually elected to the national board of the organization along with other leaders from the “lower classes” such as Valerian Pletnev. Wrappers illustrated with a street barricade scene, signed by S. Vidbergs. This design was used starting with the third or fourth edition; earlier editions featured a printed cover. А Latvian graphic artist, Sigismundis Vidbergs (1890–1970) studied at the St. Petersburg Academy of Art and Design. In 1921 he returned to Latvia, and joined the “Riga Artists Group”, a modernist artist collective inspired by fauvism and cubism, becoming one of the top Latvian artists of the period. A catalog of St. Petersburg Proletkult appears on the rear wrapper of this publication. As of February 2020, KVK and OCLC show three copies in North America.
Book ID: 50619