Avant-garde theatre in pre-revolutionary Russia

[EVREINOV, Nikolai] – KAMENSKII, Vasilii Vasilievich

Kniga o Evreinove

[A Book About Evreinov]

Publication: Sovremennoe Iskusstvo, Butkovskaia, Petrograd, 1917.

[EVREINOV, Nikolai] – KAMENSKII, Vasilii Vasilievich, Kniga o Evreinove

Avant-garde theatre – including Wilde and Beardsley – through the eyes of an avant-garde poet, artist and aviator. Published the year of the Revolution, by an important theatre woman.

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Our Notes & References

First edition of this monograph of the Symbolist theatrical director Nikolai Evreinov (1879–1953), written by an important futurist poet at the request of Natalia Butkovskaia, a colleague of Evreinov and the first Russian female theatrical director. It was one of the last books of her publishing house, which closed after the events of 1917. Her husband Aleksandr Shervashidze (1867–1968), an artist and art critic of Abkhazian royal descent, designed the cover and the portrait-frontispiece of Evreinov.

The incident with Evreinov’s censored theatrical production of Wilde’s Salomé is mentioned on p. 23 and his 1912 book on Beardsley on p. 26: “an acute psychologist and enthusiast, he revealed to us the very essence of [this artist’s work]”.

Vasilii Kamenskii (1884-1961), besides being a poet and artist, known for his avant-garde pentagonal books, was also one of the first Russian aviators who performed international journeys in the early 1910s.


From the estate of Geoffrey Elliott (1939-2021), banker of Russian descent, author of books on 20th-c. history. Geoffrey and his wife Fay were noted collectors, especially of Oscar Wilde, Evelyn Waugh and other literary figures. Russia was also an important theme: Geoffrey’s grandparents were interned in a Siberian tsarist prison camp before the October Revolution, and he focused most of his published works on the Cold War.

The Elliotts donated a significant part of their collection to the library of Leeds University in 2002, but kept the Russia-related items, which we consequently acquired.

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Physical Description

Quarto (23.2 × 17.5 mm). 101 pp. incl. frontispiece and title, [1] l. advertisement.


Original illustrated wrappers, printed in colour.


A few marks to the covers, spine restored; leaves lightly toned due to paper stock.

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