Collected Gorky 1

Collected Gorky, Foreign Language Publishing House

Alexei Maximovich Peshkov, 1868 – 1936, known to the world as Maxim Gorky, was proclaimed by the Stalinist literary establishment as the father of Socialist Realism.  Fittingly they made a posh set of his collected works.  Here‘s his biography on SovLit.com.

These are nice books, designed in a very serious, traditional and self important manner.  The covers are oxblood, with an embossed signature on the cover.

The dust jackets, nicely designed with hand-lettered titles, all feature the sad-eyed walrus himself looking back at you.

These books are mostly undated, though a couple have dates and indicated that this series is from the early ‘fifties.  There are differences in the production of these books that make me believe there have been several different editions.  They are designed rather nicely by E. Kogan, and have illustrations within by Kurkinsky.

The books are, for the most part, translated by Margaret Wettlin, with an odd volume translated by one Helen Altschuler.

Margaret Wettlin defected to the Soviet Union from Philadelphia, PA in 1932, just in time really, to see the worst Stalin had to offer.  She worked in radical theratre, survived the Purge, the Great Patriotic War of the Soviet Union and then the post-war purges. She returned to the United States in 1980, and wrote her memoirs, Fifty Russian Winters.

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3 thoughts on “Collected Gorky 1

  1. I believe the book designer is mentioned in the bio I copied from the Russian Internet.

    Evgenii Isaakovich Kogan (graphics)

    4 (17) June 1906 (Zenkov Poltava province) – March 25, 1983 (Moscow)

    Studied at Vhuteine in Leningrad (1927-1930) at the Moscow Polygraphic Institute (1930-1931) completed graduate work – typical design of the mass production of books.

    He lived in Minsk (early 1920s), Moscow (1930). He worked mainly in the field of book illustrations, (particularly expressive bindings). Collaborated in the State Publishing House, Detgiz, publishing “The Book”, “Foreign Literature” and others. He designed the book, “Riders” by I. Yanovsky (1935), “The Forsyte Saga” by John Galsworthy (1936), “Robespierre,” by Romain Rolland (1939), “Youth of King Henry IV” by Mann, G. (1939), collections of “Reminiscences of Marx” (1940), “In the distant approaches to Moscow” (1942), “Roman Satire” (1957), ” The Knight in the Panther’s Skin ” by Shota Rustaveli (1940, jointly with J. D. Egorov),” The Road to Calvary ” by A. Tolstoy (1947),” The People ” by Gorky (1948) “Collected Works of Alexander Pushkin” (1950), “Faust” by Goethe (1954), “Art of Nature” by AF von Humboldt (1959, diploma of the All-Union Competition “Best Books of 1959”), “Good! ” by Vladimir Mayakovsky (1959, bronze medal at the International Exhibition of Book Art in Leipzig, 1959), “The House in Shusha, ” by SP Shchipachev (1960, diploma of the All-Union Competition”Best Books of 1960) among others.
    Developed a number of fonts – “An initial”, “title”, “Banner”, “accidental.” For the last work, he was awarded third prize at the International Competition of fonts in Dresden (1971).

    Since the early 1930s he designed the magazines: “At the front of the book,” “Crocodile”, “30 days”, “Printing.” During the Great Patriotic War he was the artist of the army newspaper, “smash the enemy” (1941-1945), participated in production of leaflets, posters and made frontline sketches.

    He was engaged in ex libris (woodcut, linocut) and easel graphics (cycles landscapes, monotype).

    His exhibitions: Artists Books (1951, 1952, 1953, 1955, 1957, 1959), books and book graphic art Detgiz (1951), the 1st All-Union Congress of Soviet Artists (1957), “Moscow Artists front print” ( 1966), “Artists in Moscow – the 50th Anniversary of October” (1967), the font and ornament of Moscow Artists (1973, 1978) in Moscow, Leningrad and others. His work was exhibited at international exhibitions: World’s Fair in Paris (1937) and the World’s Fair in New York (1939), also in exhibitions in Brno (1964), the International Exhibition of Book Art in Leipzig (1965) and others. Held a solo exhibition in Moscow (1968). Author of several articles on book graphics.

  2. wow, just found your site while researching my Dad’s collection of books on Russia – he has a Gorky ‘The Artamonovs’ printed in the USSR, translated by Helen Altschuler. Love the illustrations which are absent from todays books. Thanks for sharing your info and putting together this site.

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