Our Notes & References
A computer-printed samizdat of Tsvetaeva’s epic poetic cycle about the October Revolution and the ensuing Russian Civil War, which the poetess experienced first-hand in Moscow before emigrating in 1922. The poems were written before her emigration, while her husband, Sergei Efron, was fighting against the Bolsheviks in the Volunteer Army. According to the preface of the first, posthumous edition (Munich, 1957) and reprinted here, Tsvetaeva herself had planned to publish this ‘counter-revolutionnary verse’ (as she called it) in Paris in 1928, but was unable to do so. In 1939, she handed the manuscript over to a professor at Basel University, before returning to the Soviet Union, where she would live tragic family events and eventually commit suicide in 1941. First published in Russia only in 1991.
This booklet was printed after the 1971 YMCA edition, using the Soviet computer Elektronika-60, a machine introduced in the early 1960s in different institutions across the Soviet Union, including Akademgorodok, in Novosibirsk – a special think tank suburb created for Soviet scientists and where this samizdat comes from. While the computers were used for cybernetic purposes, it was possible to produce small print runs of illegal literature easier than with a typewriter.