First edition. Published in 1940, after 18 years of suppressed publication by the state.
From Six Books was the first work Akhmatova was allowed to publish in eighteen years. It comprises six works: Iva [Willow], Anno Domini, Podrozhnik [Plaintain], Belaia Staia [White Flock], Chetki [Rosary] and Vecher [Evening]. She was expelled from the Union of Soviet Writers in 1946 and her next major collection, The Flight of Time, did not appear until 1965. In this time between publication dates, Akhmatova was treated as an enemy of the people, not being imprisoned herself she had to witness all her loved ones being sent to the Gulag, executed or committing suicide. The miraculous publication of this book was according to legend down to Stalin himself. Seeing that his daughter Svetlana was copying out Akhmatova’s poems into a notebook he asked why they didn’t publish the poet. The book was hence published but its composition was not controlled by the poet herself. Despite this she did manage to include Iva [Willow] which was from her series Trostnik [Reed], written in the late 1930s. In Iva, Akhmatova addresses many poets, living and deceased in an attempt to focus on the archetypal features of their fate. One can evidently see the complex poetic evolution in this book and it was highly praised by Mikhail Sholokhov who suggested it receive the Stalin Prize. However, the all but brief relaxation in censorship ended when the book was banned before it even went on general release. It was withdrawn from sale and taken out of every library in the country and was pulped.
First edition. Small 4to. 327pp, title-page, frontispiece portrait of Akhmatova by Nikolai Tirsa, bound with grey cloth with original upper wrapper panel cover mounted on the front, slight wear to spine and corners, otherwise very good.
Stock ID: 96647