A Black Sea youth


U samogo moria

[At the Edge of the Sea]

Publication: Alkonost, Skt. Peterburg, 1921.

AKHMATOVA, Anna, U samogo moria

The first edition of this important autobiographical poem by one of the best Russian poets, and a victim of Soviet censorship.

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Our Notes & References

The first edition in book form of Akhmatova’s famous autobiographical poem.

This long poem, written in 1914, first appeared in the magazine Apollon in 1915, and represents a summing-up of Akhmatova’s early manner. Akhmatova was inspired by Blok’s ‘Italian Poems’ in Russkaia Mysl of 1914 and referenced one of these poems in the first lines of U samogo moria. Blok wrote to her in 1916, congratulating her and saying that after reading U samogo moria he ‘felt again that he loved poetry’.

The action of this autobiographical poem takes place on the shores of the Black Sea, in the Crimea, near Kherson. Writing it, Akhmatova claimed, “that I bid farewell to my Chersonese youth, to the ‘wild girl’ of the beginning of the century, feeling the iron step of war”. Recalling the careless pleasures of youth and its romantic daydreams, by the time it was issued as a book Akhmatova had however grown into the deeply tragic poet we now celebrate.


From the estate of Ksenia Muratova (1940-2019), a descendant of the celebrated art historian Pavel Muratov; Ksenia was herself a noted art historian, Professor Emerita of Art History at Rennes 2 University in France, and founder of the Pavel Muratov International Center of Studies in Rome.


Kilgour 6; Lesman 137; Rosanov 2062; Tarasenkov p. 25; Turchinskii p. 33.

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Physical Description

Small 8vo (16.2 x 12.3 cm). 32 pp. incl. limitation page, half-title and title, and [3] pp. publisher’s catalogue.


Original printed wrappers.


Covers browned except spine, lower wrapper with corner missing and skilfully restored, outer edges creased and restored; fresh internally, last p. with small stain, two leaves with paper flaw seen by transparency (almost a decoration).

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