This month, Christie’s Books & Manuscripts department presents the landmark sale of Exiles and Idealists: A Private Collection of Russian Literary Manuscripts. Assembled over 30 years, the 250 lots of the collection tell the story of Russian literature over two centuries from 1800 almost to the present day, with a full alphabet of writers, from Anna Akhmatova to Vasily Zhukovsky.
At the heart of the sale are major collections relating to six giants of Russian literature: Leo Tolstoy, Ivan Turgenev, Maxim Gorky, Ivan Bunin and the pre-eminent literary couple, Zinaida Gippius and Dmitri Merezhkovsky. Alongside these are letters, manuscripts and inscribed photographs of extreme rarity on the market, by such key figures as Mikhail Bulgakov, Osip Mandelstam, Marina Tsvetaeva, Velimir Khlebnikov, Andrei Bely, Sergei Yesenin and Daniil Kharms.
Highlights include an unpublished letter by Gorky describing a meeting with Tolstoy, a fragment from the original manuscript for Tolstoy’s Hadji Murat, a remarkable series of letters by Turgenev to the German translator of A Sportsman’s Sketches, an inscribed photograph by Bulgakov, and a fragment from the manuscript for Bely’s great modernist novel, Petersburg.
Estimates range from £500 to £30,000. Explore the collection in person at Christie’s King Street, 25-30 November.