Leningrad: Izdatel'stvo Pisatelei v Leningrade, 1929. Octavo (17.8 × 13.6 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by V. Khodasevich; 93,  pp. Pencil inscription from the year of publication, in commemoration of an evening spent in the presence of Kuzmin (signed M.). Very good.
First edition of what is perhaps the best and most famous volume of poems by the Silver-Age poet and composer Mikhail Kuzmin (1872-1936), whose work was close to the Symbolists and Acmeists. With a striking wrapper design, boldly lettered, by Valentina M. Khodasevich (1894-1970), the Soviet painter, graphic artist, and set designer who studied in Munich and Paris before working in Vladimir Tatlin's studio and participating in a number of important exhibitions, such as "Bubnovyi valet" and "Mir iskusstva."
"Kuzmin's fundamental objective was to take epicurean delight in beauty. He set many of his works to music and was closely associated with little theaters and a famous literary cabaret of the day in St. Petersburg called the Stray Dog. His principal subject was love, and he did not conceal his own homosexuality... His masterpiece was a poetic cycle "The Trout Breaks the Ice" about the return of a homosexual lover after an affair with a woman" (The Cambridge History of Russian Literature, p. 424).
One of 2000 copies printed. Scarce in the trade, especially in such good condition.
Book ID: 51480