The private Russian library of the late Alec Flegon, London publisher and antiquarian bookseller, comprising approximately 800 items or groups, together with a few titles from other sources such as UN translator Andrew Yablonsky and Vladimir Sajkovic, émigré professor of Russian and translator into Russian of the Finnish national epic the Kalevala.
Provenance: acquired from the estate of Flegon, and added to, by Serendipity Books of Berkeley, California.
Oleg Flegont was born in Romania in 1924. A vacation interrupted by the 1956 Hungarian revolution gave him a chance for freedom, and he headed west with the intention of becoming a farmer in Canada. Flegonin the course of defecting he had shed the 't' in his namestopped off in London en route, and stayed there.
After a stint at the BBC, in 1962 he set up Flegon Press in Greek Street, Soho, first publishing a Russian literary magazine, Student, and later bringing samizdat literature to a wider audience. Flegon was the first to publish Mikhail Bulgakov's Heart of a Dog and Alexander Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. In doing so he faced frequent accusations of piracy. Some in the Russian émigré community, resenting him for publishing "Soviet" authors, felt Flegon must be a spy.
According to Peter Howard, the Flegon collection is particularly rich in: items for which few or no locations are found in OCLC; Russian revolutionary illustration; exile literature; authors proscribed or killed by the Soviet authorities; and revolutionary Russian poetry.
Includes: Sobraniye uzakoneniy i rasporyazheniy pravitel'stva [A Collection of the Statutes and Bills of the Government]. 51 complete issues from nos 152-220 (of a possible 69). July 1, 1917-September 15, 1917. The transactions of the Provisional Government in the run-up to the October Revolution. * ANDREYEV, LEONID. S.O.S.! [Viipuri/Vyborg: Karjalan Kirjapaino, 1919.] Upper wrapper with illustration by Nicholas Roerich. First edition in book form, inscribed by the author. * [BUGAEV, BORIS N.] Vozvrashchenie na rodinu. [Homecoming.] Moscow: Knigoizdatelʹstvo pisatelei, 1922. * BUNIN, IVAN A. Sobranie sochinenii. [Collected works.] Berlin & Brussels: Petropolis, 1934-1937. 12 volumes. * CHEKHOV, ANTON. Ostrov Sakhalin. [The Island of Sakhalin.] Moscow: Russkaya Mysl, 1895. First edition. * KUZMIN, MIKHAIL. Lesok: liricheskaia poema. [Small Forest: a Lyrical Poem.] St. Petersburg: Neopalimaia kupina, 1922. First edition, inscribed by the publisher. * NABOKOV, VLADIMIR. Masken'ka. [Mary.] Berlin: Slovo, 1926. Nabokov's first book. * SHAGINIAN, MARIETTA S. Mess Mend ili ianki v Petrograde. [Mess Mend or Yankees in Petrograd.] Moscow: Gosudarstvennoe izd., 1924. 5 issues only (of 10). Covers designed by Rodchenko. * SOPO: pervyi sbornik stikhov. [Poets' Union: First Anthology of Poems.] [Moscow: 1921.] * Zolotoe runo. [La toison d'or.] Moscow: Kushnerov, 1906-1908. 12 issues. * MAYAKOVSKY, VLADIMIR V., and others. Stikhi i proza o russkoi revoljucija. [Poetry and prose on the Russian Revolution.] Kiev: Sovremennai'a mysl', 1919.
Other authors include: ANNA AKHMATOVA, NIKOLAI ASSEV, ALEKSANDR BLOK, ILYA ERENBURG, SERGEI ESENIN, NIKOLAI GOGO, MAXIM GORKY, NIKOLAI KLYUEV, MIKHAIL LERMONTOV, BORIS PASTERNAK, ALEKSANDR PUSHKIN, EVGENII ZAMIATIN, and MIKHAIL ZOSCHENKO.
A copy of Serendipity Books' catalogue of the collection is available for inspection.