Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, 1891. First American Edition. First American edition, and first edition of this translation, of Tolstoy's only comedy, a massively-populated play (thirty-two characters, sixty-two scenes in just the first act) set on a large estate, the upper class members caught up with the "spiritualist" craze, a foible the servants take advantage of in order to ensure that the estate's peasants eventually take possession of the land. Though Tolstoy would not have described himself or his work as "anarchist," he was a perennial favorite of individualist anarchist publisher Benjamin R. Tucker, who had translated and published "The Kreutzer Sonata" the previous year. Presumably the "upstairs-downstairs" (Freeborn) trope, in which the illiterate peasants and house servants manage to use their wits against the ridiculous aristrocracy, would have greatly appealed to Tucker. (For additional information see Richard Freeborn, "Tolstoy's 'Upstairs, Downstairs': Some Thoughts on His Comedy 'The Fruits of Enlightenment,'" Journal of Russian Studies 40 (1981); and Clare R. Goldfarb, "From Hydesville to Yasnaya Polyana: Leo Tolstoy and Modern Spirituality," The Centennial Review, Vol. 33, no. 3 (Summer, 1989)). See also "Bibliography of Russian Literature in English Translation to 1945," p. 40; and Roger E. Stoddard, "'Liberty's Library': Benj. R. Tucker's Imprint, 1875-1912," in Essays in Honor of William B. Todd (1991), p. 167, describing a variant in purple cloth. Octavo (19.5cm.); publisher's blue gilt-lettered cloth, blue-green endpapers; 185,(ads)pp. Boards rather worn along extremities, most notably at spine ends, hinges cracked, front free endpaper separated but present. Good or better.
Price: $75.00 save 33% $50.25