What's to be Done? A Romance.

Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, 1886.

The exceptionally rare first translation into English of Chernyshevsky's radical novel.

(Item #5928) What's to be Done? A Romance. Chernyshevsky, N. G. Tchernychewsky.

What's to be Done? A Romance.

Boston: Benj. R. Tucker, 1886. First English language edition. A Very Good+ copy of this scarce first translation into English. Originally serialized in the journal Sovremennik between 1862 - 1863. Publisher's green cloth, stamped in brown on the front board. Some wear to the spine ends and corners, slight dampstain to the lower edge of the front board, brown stamping rubbed. Rear inner hinge just starting, but holding well. Complete and unrestored. With the penciled signature of Julian Hawthorne, Nathaniel Hawthorne's son, on the front free end paper. A few pencil annotations within the text and on the rear end paper, presumably also made by Julian Hawthorne.

"[T]he first and most influential of a long succession of tendentious radical novels" in Russian literature (Mirsky p. 225). This first translation into English was undertaken and self-published by Benjamin R. Tucker, an outspoken American anarchist who defied the Boston police by selling banned literature, including Whitman's Leaves Grass among others. This may explain the scarcity of copies to come to market, with only one appearing in rarebookhub (from 1899 for a 2nd edition copy). And no other copies currently appearing with book dealers worldwide. Tucker published this in the same year that War and Peace, Anna Karenina, Crime and Punishment and a new translation of Dead Souls all came out in America.

Written during Chernyshevsky's imprisonment for his revolutionary activities, the novel was seen as a simple love story by the authorities, masking its true radical themes. It was written in part as a response to Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy both responded to this work in their writings, with Dostoevsky notably attacking Chernyshevsky's utilitarianism and utopianism in Notes from the Underground (1864). A hugely influential work, not only within literary circles, but socially and politically as well, often seen as inspiring the populist, nihilist and Marxist revolutionaries.

Literary scholar Joseph Frank writes: ""Chernyshevsky's novel, far more than Marx's Capital, supplied the emotional dynamic that eventually went to make the Russian Revolution."
Very Good + (Item #5928)

What's to be Done? A Romance.
What's to be Done? A Romance.
What's to be Done? A Romance.
What's to be Done? A Romance.
What's to be Done? A Romance.
What's to be Done? A Romance.