Auction 59 Part 1 FIELD of MIRACLES with a psychiatric bias
By The Arc
Nov 7, 2020
Москва Набережная Тараса Шевченко д.3., Russia
Golden autumn will delight you with new and unusual. Books, posters, paintings, photos, documents including doctors and patients.
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LOT 39:

Levitov A. I. Steppe essays.

Start price:
1,000 р
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tags: Books

Levitov A. I. Steppe essays.
Moscow. Printing House T.Fig, 1867. [4], 517, [2] c. Hard combined owner's binding; reduced format (11 x 14 cm).

Worn binding, with cracked in the folds of the covers; loss of free sheets of endpapers; some pages dirty at the bottom corners; labels with a ballpoint pen on page 266, 346, 348, 352 and pencil on pp. 353-354; temporary spots; a trace of moisture on the half title and the last 50 pages, marking the second-hand shop on nachsatz; the beveled block. 

[Alexander Ivanovich Levitov (July 20 [August 1] 1835-January 4 [16] 1877, Moscow) was a Russian folk writer with a difficult fate and a failed life.

The last 5 years of my life were especially difficult. His earnings were negligible, his health was completely broken, and his literary position was undermined by the perpetual advances from the editorial offices, in payment for which Levitov gave only sketches and excerpts. Need made Levitov a real proletarian; he lived the life of the last scum of society, starved and cold. In the last degree of consumption, he lived in an unheated room; in order to get 5 rubles from some small editorial office, he went out in the December cold in a light summer coat and caught a severe cold. On January 4, 1877, Levitov died in the Moscow University clinic.

Levitov's style is extremely bright and colorful. First of all, he is a great storyteller, who could create essays and short stories "out of nothing". They have no intrigue, no tie, no denouement, no shadow of what is called a plot. The author captures the reader's attention thanks to the ability to communicate the interest of every detail that touches. His works are a kind of "art for art's sake", where it doesn't matter what the author says, but how. Another remarkable aspect of Levitov's talent is his subtle humor, due to his unusually expressive and characteristic language, with a rich stock of original words and phrases, and purely Russian, although sometimes purely tavern wit. But Levitov lacked unity, a binding cement. He did not create any types, or any complete picture of the life so deeply studied by him. Individual features, individual positions and moods in Levitov's works are a treasure trove, but there is no ensemble.

Levitov was never a person of a certain party; the intensified attempts of some critics to make him a "sadder of people's grief" very little correspond to the content of his works. The mere fact that a significant part of them is devoted to thieves, prostitutes, pimps, kissers, and the like completely excludes the possibility of turning Levitov into a writer of the democratic trend. Nor can he be counted among the writers who idealize the people. In the vast majority of cases, the Levitical "people" are terrifying because of their deep moral decline and do not arouse any sympathy. However, some of his stories were published under a tendentious title: "The Woe of villages, roads, and cities" - but this title is hardly not invented by the publisher for the best sales of the book, and, in any case, it does not correspond to the content of the book at all. There is no "grief" worthy of sympathy in this image of highway beggars, brothel owners, parents beating their daughters, and other things, as the author himself dubbed it, " careless people "who"do not sow, do not reap".]