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First Bibliography of Soviet Samizdat

Spravochnik periodicheskogo SAMizdata [Handbook of samizdat periodicals].

Moscow: "Iz glubin", 1990. Octavo ( × cm). Original embossed green buckram boards; 164, [2] pp. Bound Chinese style with accordeon-like folded leaves. Numerous illustrations, including xeroxed collages of wrappers and book covers. Very good.

First edition of this directory of underground periodicals, compiled by the prolific samizdat bibliographer Aleksandr Suetnov (b. 1959), illustrated with photographs of activists, writers, and publishers working in the world of Soviet unofficial literature, as well as images of the publications themselves. Part one, and the only part published. The directory contains sections on art and literature periodicals, socio-political literature, religion and philosophy, Jewish publications, publications in Belorussian and Ukrainian, as well as unofficial bibliographies. A directory of unofficial social and political organizations, clubs, and unions, as well as a list of underground editors and publishers closes the volume. A kind of encyclopedia of the publishing underground, the volume offers brief characterizations of the publications, highlighting the most unique examples, such as the journal “Zhenskoe chtenie” (Women’s Reading), the only feminist magazine in the Soviet unofficial publishing world at the time. The directory was based on the issues of the journal “Nezavisimyi bibliograf” (Independent Bibliographer), published in 1989-1990.

One of the first bibliographers of samizdat and underground publications, Aleksandr Suetnov identified 1500 periodicals belonging to ‘unofficial’ press in 1989. In his introduction to the volume, Suetnov notes that in the 1950s and 1960s samizdat consisted primarily of translations and single volumes. Based on evidence presented at criminal trials for dissemination of samizdat literature, periodicals began to appear in the 1970s. Initial print runs of these were small, 20-50 items at most. During the Glasnost and Perestroika of the 1980s periodicals took center stage in samizdat, with a veritable explosion of unofficial newspapers and journals in 1989. This volume was assembled with the help of the Independent Public Library, founded in Moscow in 1988 in the private apartment of Boris Berezin. The first semi-underground institution of its kind, with “branches” in Leningrad and Novosibirsk among others, the library collected, catalogued and made samizdat publications available to the small informed public. In April 1989 the library was raided by the KGB, with some of the materials confiscated. Repressions came to an end soon after in 1990, with this volume published in the same year. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union some of the periodicals became official, others disappeared while yet others chose to continue their independent publication, with this volume providing an overview of the variety and volume of samizdat in the final Soviet years.

Book ID: 51545

Price: $650.00