The birth of a great novelist

[NABOKOV, Vladimir Dmitrievich, as:] SIRIN, V



Publication: Slovo, Berlin, 1926.

[NABOKOV, Vladimir Dmitrievich, as:] SIRIN, V, Mashenka

First edition of Nabokov’s first novel, in the original Russian: a great example of this important edition, in the original publisher’s wrappers in very good condition.

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First edition of Nabokov’s first novel: an attractive example, in its original wrappers with the fragile spine label.

A partly autobiographical work set during the peak of the Russian emigration to Berlin in 1924, it contains descriptions of the young Nabokov’s first serious romance as well as that of the Nabokov family estate. The story unfolds from a Berlin boarding-house filled with an assortment of eccentric Russian émigrés. Lev Ganin, an energetic young officer poised between his past and his future, relives his first love affair. His memories of Mary are suffused with the freshness of youth and the idyllic ambience of pre-revolutionary Russia. In stark contrast is the decidedly unappealing boarder living in the room next to Ganin’s, who, he discovers, is Mary’s husband, temporarily separated from her by the Revolution but expecting her imminent arrival from Russia…

The contemporary critic A. S. Izgoev wrote of the work: “This is a page not only in the biography of a young author, but also in the history of Russian literature, and not merely its émigré branch. Mashenka has about it something of the national self-awareness of the Russian intelligentsia” (quoted by Andrew Field, Nabokov: His Life in Art). After attending a reading another critic, Yuli Aykhenvald, declared Nabokov “a new Turgenev”.


Hans Nentmann (or similar; modern pencil inscription to upper fly-leaf).


Juliar A8.1

Item number



Physical Description

Octavo. 169 pp. incl. title, and 6 pp. of catalogue of the Slovo publishing house.


Original green wrappers with title label to upper cover printed in red and black, untrimmed, as published


As always spine and edges just a bit sunned, the often missing spine label with a miniature chip, occasional small and minor foxing here and there, incl. on the block edges and the wrappers; a fine, pleasant example.

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