St. Petersburg: Tip. "Sever", 1905-06. Quartos (ca. 33 × 23 cm). Original pictorial self-wrappers; 8-16 pp. each. Each issue with numerous black-and-white, and some color, cartoons and drawings and a color title illustration. About very good to very good issues, with the occasional light wear, dust-soiling, and light stamps; only one issue with somewhat darker stain, affecting only the wrappers.
Substantial run of the striking Russian satirical journal, which was the first of numerous anti-Tsarist publications to appear in the aftermath of the 1905 Russian Revolution. Cathy Porter notes that these journals were, in particular, a reaction to Bloody Sunday, a protest which left hundreds dead and many more wounded: “Alongside the struggle in street and factory was the struggle for the free press. Ministers and clerics suffered assassination more by the pen than the bullet as the revolution strove for the expression of powerful emotions long suppressed. A flood of satirical journals poured from the presses, honouring the dead and vilifying the mighty. Drawings of frenzied immediacy and extraordinary technical virtuosity were combined with prose and verse written in a popular underground language, veiled in allgory, metaphor and references to the past […] For a few brief months the journals spoke with a great and unprecedented rage that neither arrest nor exile could silence" (Blood & Laughter: Caricatures from the 1905 Revolution, pp. 18-19). Among the contributors to the "Spectator" during its five-month run were A. V. Amfiteatrov, Ia. V. Godin, V. I. Khorekhin, V. S. Likhachev, M. I. Mazelʹ, L. A. Nikiforova, S. I. Polferov, M. Ia. Pustynin, Sasha Chernyi, Fedor Sologub, B. G. Uspenskii, A. Chapygin, Dmitrii Tsenzor, and A. A. Shcheglov. The contributing artists included Dmitrii Nevskii, Sergei Chekhonin, and Nikolai Shestopalov. Charles A. Ruud notes that the paper "portrayed the tsar as a flawed figure of diminishing authority. Its November cover mocked him and his October Manifesto by suggesting that the ruler was standing behind a wobbly table topped with a skewed house of cards captioned, 'Our Constitution - Please Don't Blow.' His crinkled boots and tucked-in pants gave him away" (Fighting Words, p. xx). Issue no. 23, which is included in this run, features the first appearance in print of the satirical poet Aleksandr M. Glikberg's famous pseudonym "Sasha Chernyi," which he used to sign his poem "Chepukha" ("Nonsense"). The poem contained hints of violence toward the Tsar himself and caused the censor to finally prohibit the publication; Artsybushev, the editor, was sentenced to a short jail sentence. Issue no. 24 was confiscated and is scarce; issue no. 25 was confiscated and destroyed at the printer's and is of the greatest rarity. Irregular attempts were made to renew the publication in 1906 and 1908. Smirnov-Sokol'skii 2229. Scarce in the trade.
Book ID: P004272