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Доктор Живаго (Doctor Zhivago): Mouton Published First Edition In Russian. First Printing, 1958.

Доктор Живаго (Doctor Zhivago): Mouton Published First Edition In Russian. First Printing, 1958.

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Доктор Живаго (Doctor Zhivago): Mouton Published First Edition In Russian. First Printing, 1958.


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  • Hardcover
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Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire, United Kingdom
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About This Item

Original exceedingly rare Russian Language 1st (Pirate) Edition of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. Meets all the issue points for the true 1st Edition - "Roman" to title page, 634 pages, publishers imprint in cyrillic, and 2 page introduction (lacking from later Russian editions). Unusually tight, bright, Very Good condition, with no inscriptions and only light toning to closed page edges. Several gatherings are unevenly browned as usual, due to differing paper stocks used in printing. Issued without a dust-jacket.

The publication of the Russian text of Doctor Zhivago was attended by odd circumstances. It first appeared in a 'pirated' (or possibly semi-authorised) edition, a short time before Feltrinelli's official edition came out in Milan. The 'pirated' version, however, bore Feltrinelli's imprint and were produced by Mouton, the reputable firm of Dutch printers with whom he was negotiating, and to whom he had sent the manuscript. Declassified documents reveal that the CIA sought to embarrass the Soviet government by facilitating the publication of this edition and by distributing copies to Russian visitors via the Vatican Pavilion of the 1958 World Fair in Brussels (see: Finn & Couvee). Feltrinelli had spirited the manuscript out of Russia and published the first edition in an Italian translation in 1957. He began discussing a Russian edition with Mouton, but before negotiations were completed Mouton proceeded to print 1000 copies for the CIA's sole use. 365 of these were sent to the Vatican Pavilion, 200 were sent to the CIA in Washington, and the remainder was distributed among CIA offices in Europe. Many of the Brussels copies were damaged: 'the book's blue linen covers were found littering the fairgrounds'. Some who got the novel were ripping off the covers, dividing the pages, and stuffing them in their pockets to make the book easier to hide' (p.142). A small proportion of the edition, about 100 copies, does not credit Feltrinelli on the title. Finn & Couvee, The Zhivago Affair: The Kremlin, the CIA, and the Battle over a Forbidden Book (New York: 2014). Printing was apparently undertaken at different locations to avoid Russian intervention. Credence is lent to this theory by the differing paper stocks used in the publication of this volume. There are 634 pages in the Dutch edition & 567 in the Milan edition. The Dutch edition also has a 2-page preface, dated 1 August 1 1958, not included in the Milan edition. The pirated edition has 'Roman' (novel) after the title, and at the foot of the title-page 'G. Feltrinelli-Milan' in cyrillics. It is dated 1958. The Feltrinelli edition has the publishers name & 'Milan' in Latin script and has no date on the title-page. Exceedingly rare.

Extended Description and Notes

CIA Funded Russian language Edition of Doctor Zhivago Issued under a Fake Publishing Imprint


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Itchen Books GB (GB)
Bookseller's Inventory #
Доктор Живаго (Doctor Zhivago): Mouton Published First Edition In Russian. First Printing, 1958.
Original blue boards with title and author in Cyrillic in gold to the spine.
Book Condition
Used - Very Good
Quantity Available
1st Edition / 1st Printing
G. Feltrinelli / Mouton
Place of Publication
Hague, Holland, Netherlands / Milan
Date Published
0.00 lbs
Russia; Russian; Cyrillic; CIA; Cold War; Vienna Youth Festival; Destabilization; Russian Literature; Censorship; Dissident; Nobel Prize; Social Commentary; Deception; Anti-Communism; Russian Revolution; Samizdat; Tamizdat;

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Itchen Books

30 day return guarantee, with full refund including original shipping costs for up to 30 days after delivery if an item arrives misdescribed or damaged. Refund issued on receipt of returned item.

About the Seller

Itchen Books

Seller rating:
This seller has earned a 5 of 5 Stars rating from Biblio customers.
Biblio member since 2019
Husbands Bosworth, Leicestershire

About Itchen Books

20th Century first editions with some older items. Specialist areas of interest include Russian literature, Irish literature.


Some terminology that may be used in this description includes:

Book(s) which are sold at a very deep discount to alleviate publisher overstock. Often, though not always, they have a remainder...
Used to mean that the binding of a book has not been overly loosened by frequent use.
A term used in bookbinding, where a gathering of sheets is folded at the middle, then bound into the binding together. The...
is a worn book that has complete text pages (including those with maps or plates) but may lack endpapers, half-title, etc....
Title Page
A page at the front of a book which may contain the title of the book, any subtitles, the authors, contributors, editors, the...
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First Edition
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