Berlin: Knigoizdatel'stvo "Slovo", 1922. Octavo (19.5 × 14.5 cm). Original pictorial wrappers by Aleksandr Arnshtam; 58,  pp. About very good; occasional light soil to corners; rear wrapper somewhat creased.
First edition of Russian modernist and dystopian writer Evgenii Zamyatin's play, which is set in sixteenth-century Spain during the Inquisition. Zamyatin returned to Russia shortly before the October Revolution after working abroad for many years, and he wrote numerous short stories during the following years, as well as teaching courses on Russian literature. By the early 1920s he was one of the most well-known but also controversial writers. The present work, Zamyatin's only play, was recognized by contemporaries as an allegory of the Soviet Cheka, or secret police. A short preface to the work notes that "Those who were convinced of their infallibility decided to drive all who disobeyed into their paradise by means of weapons and bonfires." Completed in 1920, the work was first published in 1922 by the Berlin émigré publishing house "Slovo" ("The Word"). A number of reviews took note of its anti-Soviet pathos and helped set off the long-running campaign against Zamyatin, who only left the Soviet Union in 1931, after personally petitioning Stalin for permission. With attractive drawn wrappers by Alexander Arnstam, a noted artist and graphic designer who had left Russia for Berlin in 1921. Savine 04597.
Book ID: P4777