Rare first edition of the second part of the Ilf and Petrov’s beloved masterpiece of Soviet satire, The Golden Calf, published by an émigré publishing house in Riga.
The first part of the novel was published the same year by another émigré publisher based in Berlin. When this Riga edition came out the authors were still working on the concluding chapters of the novel. The text here leaves the reader unaware that the final meeting of Ostap Bender and the “clandestine millionaire” Koreiko would lead to “The Great Combinator” finally acquiring a long-desired million rubbles before losing everything in his failed attempt to flee the Soviet State via the Romanian border.
In the Soviet Union the novel was first published in a book version only in 1933.
Along with Zamiatin’s “My” and Bulgakov’s “Master and Margarita,” “The Golden Calf” (and its prequel, “The Twelve Chairs”) stand among the most important — and popular — Russian satirical novels of the twentieth century. Together, Ilf and Petrov created the character Ostap Bender, a picaresque rogue con man whose witty pronouncements were so popular that they are still casually quoted in everyday conversation to this day.
Curiously, Bender’s behaviour hardly fit the requirements of an emerging communist society: “In the new collective society Ostap is an arch-individualist. Uninterested in building socialism, he is in search of a fortune: the diamonds hidden in one of a set of twelve chairs in the first novel; in the money of a secret millionaire in the second. He roams over the vast geographical spaces of Soviet Russia, deploying ingenuous ways of relieving people of money” (Jones and Feuer Miller 1998). In the eyes of the Soviet authorities, Ilf and Petrov’s satire was making light of old bourgeois traits and habits, but, with good reason, numerous émigré critics read the work as a statement about the absurdity of the Soviet Regime itself. Nevertheless, the writer duo was never subjected to repressions and, as Lesley Milne writes, “the Soviet literary establishment proved able to accommodate them as licensed jesters.”
Octavo (20.5 x 14.6 cm). 189 pp., including title, pp. Original pictorial wrappers; soiling, small marginal tears, lower spine chipped.
Not in Savine.
Stock ID: 95028