PASTERNAK, BORIS LEONIDOVICH. 1890-1960.
KUPREYANOV, NIKOLAI NIKOLAEVICH, illustrator. Zverinets [The Menagerie]. Moscow: GIZ, 1929. 16 pp. Original decorated wrappers. Wrappers partially discolored and reinforced with a smudge on lower left corner with some surface loss.
Boris Pasternak, one of the great modern Russian poets and the author of Doctor Zhivago (1957), wrote two children's books inspired by the birth of his son Evgenii in 1924. It took GIZ what Pasternak thought was an eternity to finally bring out the second, Zverinets. "Unfortunately I remembered about children when publishing houses forgot about them," he sarcastically told a friend. Disgruntled by how he was treated, he never wrote another one. But he included Zverinets in his collected works. His friend, the poet Marina Tsvetaeva, thought it was a "brilliant bestiary." Born in Poland, Kupreyanov studied with Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin and worked side-by-side with Mayakovsky and Lebedev designing posters at ROSTA. He belonged to the "4 Iskusstva" and OST groups and taught at VKhUTEMAS. He illustrated many other picture books before accidentally drowning in a river.