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    Description

    Boris Pasternak. Doctor Zhivago. Milan: Feltrinelli, [1958]. First authorized trade edition in Russian. Octavo. 567 pages. Light green paper over boards, spine and upper board lettered in black; original illustrated dust jacket. Cocked, sticker to foot of spine, library ink stamp to upper board. Cream endpapers; some offsetting. Internally clean and tight, all edges trimmed, edges toned with minor foxing and wear. Dust jacket with no price listed, moderate edgewear, chipping to head and foot of spine and corners with some losses, irregular open tear to top edge of back panel, sticker to foot of spine panel, library ink stamp to front panel, somewhat rubbed, minor foxing. Very good book with good dust jacket.

    This particular edition of Doctor Zhivago is at the heart of a true spy tale, involving several national governments, their Secret Service units, and a Nobel Prize candidate. Feltrinelli published the first true edition, an Italian translation, in 1957. He secured the copyright but later learned that in order for the title to be included under Pasternak's Nobel Prize consideration, it had to be published in the Russian language no later than August 1958. Though the story is only available in bits and pieces from recently declassified documents and personal accounts, it appears that the CIA and MI6 both had a hand in publications of the Russian language edition, with designs to circulate it among Soviet visitors of the Brussels World Fair, as part of a wider effort to get banned literature into Eastern bloc countries. This scramble resulted in several pirated editions before Feltrinelli issued his ‘official' Russian language edition (as seen here) in 1958, with a line securing his copyright through the precedence of his Italian version, doubly securing his position as publisher of a Nobel Prize candidate.

    Vennard, How the CIA Secretly Published Dr. Zhivago, 2014.


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