Poor Folk by Dostoievsky, F. [Fyodor Dostoyevsky] 1st 1894 Aubrey Beardsley
First American edition published by Roberts Brothers in 1894. This is a stunning very near fine copy. It has its original brown cloth with black stamping to front board and gilt lettering to spine. There is very little wear at all with just the tiniest wear to the corner tips and spine ends. There is a previous owners contemporary signature to the inside board. The pages are very clean with no foxing at all. Overall a very near fine example.
Keynotes was a series of 34 novels and short story collections published by John Lane from 1893. The series was coined 'keynotes' due to the title of the first novel in the series by George Egerton. Aubrey Beardsley produced cover designs and embellishments for 22 of the titles. Beardsley’s designs comprised a title frame with illustration or decoration which was blocked in gold (or black with the american versions) on the cover. For 15 of the titles he also created a series of key-shaped monograms for the authors, designs which were used either on the spines and / or the backs of the books.
Fyodor Dostoyesvsky's Poor Folk was his first novel. It was written over the span of nine months between 1844 and 1845. Dostoevsky was in financial difficulty because of his extravagant lifestyle and his developing gambling addiction; although he had produced some translations of foreign novels, they had little success, and he decided to write a novel of his own to try to raise funds. Poor Folk is written in the form of letters between the two main characters, Makar Devushkin and Varvara Dobroselova. The novel showcases the life of poor people, their relationship with rich people, and poverty in general, all common themes of literary naturalism. It became a huge success in Russia. The first English translation was provided by Lena Milman in 1894, with an introduction by George Moore and cover art design by Aubrey Beardsley as number 3 in the keynotes series. A rare title in this very near fine condition.