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Fringe Theories by a Russian in Shanghai

Dukh vremeni: otvet na "Tak chto-zhe nam delat'?" L. N. Tolstogo, i takzhe velikomu amerikantsu William Jennings Bryan na "Moi otvet bol'shevikam" [The spirit of the times: an answer to Tolstoy's “What Is to Be Done?”, as well as to the great American William Jennings Bryan and his “My answer to the Bolsheviks”].

Shanghai: Tipografiia izdatel’stva “Slovo”, 1937. Octavo (20 × 14 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by M. Iafshits; 568, IV pp. Wrappers somewhat worn and with partial loss to cover illustration; text toned; else about very good.

First and only edition of this idiosyncratic work on sociology and politics, by Vladimir Sheremetev (1896–1955), the Russian sculptur and writer who was born in Khabarovsk and lived in Shanghai. He surveys critical contemporary issues such as international disarmament, eugenics, urban planning, female emancipation, religion, prisons, and alcohol. A second section, marked by nationalist, racist, and anti-Semitic pathos, as well as a clear anti-bolshevik orientation, is concerned with prefiguring the rise of a triumphant future Russia. Finally, the presents a range of seemingly unrelated pseudo-scientific materials meant to give greater insight into the era's guiding forces. Among these, for instance, are instructions for determining an unborn child's sex through psychoanalytic means, an explanation of the origin of evil in the world, and an interpretation of the Book of Revelation. In a brief postscript, Sheremetev predicts that he will be excoriated for his work, while bizarrely expressing hope that two major secrets will soon be scientifically proven: the radioactivity of human blood and the link between human eye color and personal character. A fascinating and troubling work emblematic of the more fringe discourses of Russian culture in exile. No information could be found on the artist credited for the wrapper drawing (M. Iafshits).

Polansky 965. Not in Savine.

As of October 2020, KVK and OCLC show five copies, all in the United States.

Book ID: 50984

Price: $750.00