Blok, Alexander. The Twelve. Translated from the Russian and with an introduction by Babette Deutsch and Abraham Yarmolinsky. NY: B. W. Huebsch, Inc., 1920. 12mo. (7" x 4.5"); 23pp.; saddle-stapled in printed wraps. Issued as part of The Freeman Pamphlets series.
A fair to good copy. Fragile wraps were completely split at spine, and repaired by a previous owner with a pair of now-removed staples along the side of the textblock (puncture holes still visible on leaves). Wraps then carefully restored with a strip of reversible archival repair tape, and reattached to textblock using the original staples. Binding is thus now sturdy, although the surface of the wraps shows some flaking along spine, light creases to edges. Oxidation to staples. Contents clean and unmarked.
The first English-language edition of Blok's controversial long poem of 1918, which describes in twelve stanzas the passage of a dozen Bolshevik soldiers through the streets of a blizzardy Petrograd. Written in response to the October Revolution, the poem's political and mystical opacity earned scorn from both intellectuals and revolutionaries, respectively. As the translators note in their introduction: "The main theme is only briefly glimpsed, moving in the obscurity of broken shadows and the intermittent flash of revolutionary fires. It is interrupted by lyric passages, by snatches of street-songs, by echoes of rifle shots, and concludes with the revelation of the twelve led by the red flag in the hands of Christ."