MANDELSHTAM, OSIP. 1891-1938.
O poezii. On Poetry. Leningrad: Academia, 1928.
8vo. 97,  pp. Original printed pink wrappers. Custom clamshell case. Text block coming loose from wrappers, title leaf tipped in.
FIRST EDITION, INSCRIBED AND SIGNED FOR PAVEL MEDVEDEV at the head of the title-page: "To Pavel Nikolaevich before his departure. Yalta, August 28, 1928." Presentation inscriptions from Mandelstam are of the utmost rarity.
On Poetry was Mandelstam's final book before he died, embodying his poetic credo in a series of essays. The association between Mandelstam and Medvedev is a moving one, linking two of Stalin's victims: Medvedev was a literary scholar of Mikhail Bakhtin's circle and was arrested and "disappeared" in the late 1930s. As Mandelstam wrote, "Only in Russia is poetry respected it gets people killed. Is there anywhere else where poetry is so common a motive for murder?" (Nadezhda Mandelstam, Memoirs).