Berlin: Petropolis, 1925. Octavo (20 × 15.5 cm). Original red printed wrappers with insert label to front wrapper; 101,  pp. Unopened and uncut. Light soil to wrappers; wrapper edges lightly chipped, else very good. Item #6552
First edition. The first Russian translation of Oscar Wilde’s 1881 melodrama “Vera or the Nihilists,” originally staged in London’s Adelphi Theater in 1882. Set in Russia, the melodrama is loosely based on the terrorist activities of the Menshevik revolutionary Vera Zasulich (1851-1919), whose attempt to assassinate the governor of St. Petersburg in 1878 made her an international celebrity. Although the subject matter of Russian Nihilism was a popular theme in European literature at the time, this play, Wilde’s first, was a flop. In the introduction the translator notes that despite the great esteem for Oscar Wilde in Russia, this text could not be published there before the revolution because of its politically sensitive subject matter. Many inconsistencies in setting, and the general apparent unfamiliarity of the author with the Russian way of life, are also noted in the introduction, and may have been another reason for the play not being translated into Russian earlier. Nevertheless, the translator expresses a hope that the play’s subject matter may interest the Russian émigré reader, all too familiar with misrepresentations of Russia and Russianness. Publisher’s catalog appears on the last two pages of this edition, listing other Russian translations of world literature published by “Petropolis” in Berlin.
KVK, OCLC show copies at Harvard, Reed, Cambridge, Geneva, National Library of Israel, Leipzig, Humboldt and Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin.