MANDELSHTAM, OSIP. 1891-1938.
Autograph Manuscript, 2 pp rectos only, 4to (conjoined leaves), [Petersburg,] January 1913, entitled "Peterburgskie strofy" (Petersburg Stanzas), being 6 stanzas of 4 lines each, on lined leaves removed from a composition notebook. Thumbed and creased, soft vertical fold, ink stain to final blank verso showing through in a few spots, very good.
THE ONLY KNOWN MANUSCRIPT VERSION OF THIS IMPORTANT VERY EARLY POEM BY ONE OF THE GREAT FIGURES OF 20TH CENTURY VERSE: ANY MANDELSTAM MANUSCRIPT IS NOTORIOUSLY RARE.
"Petersburg Stanzas" was first published in the literary miscellany Giberborei (Petersburg, Feb, 1913) and later included in the poet's first book, Kamen (also 1913) and then in the collected poems of 1928. The present manuscript, which is cited in the standard edition, differs from the printed texts in two locations (first stanza, line one and third stanza, line 3) and is dated the month before first publication. 1913 is also the year in which Mandelstam wrote The Morning Of Acmeism (published in 1919). In her memoirs, Lily Brik specifically mentions this poem as one of the works Mayakovsky knew by heart and often spoke. Mandelstam's manuscript is among the rarest in the modern era, only about twenty poems being known to survive in holograph. If had it not been for the memory of Mandelshtam's wife Nadezhda, who had memorized them, many of his later poems would have been lost.