Library of Contemporary Soviet Authors

Lawrence & Wishart (London, UK)
Series dates: 1955-1957
Size: 5.5″ x 8″

Ernest Edward Wishart, born in 1902, was the son of the City of London’s lieutenant and sheriff. In 1925 the publishing firm of Wishart and Co., Ltd. was founded by Wishart and poet Douglas Garman, shortly after their graduation from Cambridge. The firm published The Calendar of Modern Letters (from 1925-1927), a “leftist response to T.S. Eliot’s Criterion.” In its short run, it published authors “D.H. Lawrence, Aldous Huxley, E.M. Forster, Robert Graves, Wyndham Lewis, Edmund Blunden, Desmond MacCarthy, Edwin Muir, Luigi Pirandello, John Crowe Ransom, Bertrand Russell, Siegfried Sassoon, Roy Campbell, Hart Crane, and Allen Tate.” The firm published Nancy Cunard’s pioneering anthology Negro in 1934 after it had been rejected by other publishers.

In 1935/1936 Wishart & Co. combined with the firm of Martin Lawrence, publisher for the Great Britain Communist Party, to become Lawrence & Wishart. The new firm continued to publish for the Great Britain Communist Party, and also issued a range of Marxist intellectual books, titles by Marxist leaders, and the Works of Karl Marx, (the latter in collaboration with Progress Publishers of Moscow). The firm published the Marxist-Leninist Library, the Marxist Library, the Little Lenin Library and the Little Stalin Library (which Wishart later regretted issuing).

“Wishart was not much involved in Lawrence and Wishart after 1939. Until his death on 16 September 1987 he devoted himself to the study of ornithology, architecture, and local history at his Tudor manor house near Arundel.” (“Wishart and Company.” British Literary Publishing Houses, 1881-1965. Ed. Jonathan Rose and Patricia Anderson. Vol. 112. Detroit, MI: Gale, 1991. 343-344. Dictionary of Literary Biography Vol. 112). The firm is still publishing.

The Library of Contemporary Soviet Novels consists of 11 titles published between 1955-1957. At least one appears with a Moscow imprint, published by the Foreign Language Publishing House. Some titles were first publications in English. A few reprints by Greenwood appear in 1974.

Jackets are unique to each title, illustrated, in color. This copy of Gorky’s Foma Gordeyev is dated 1956. The illustrations span the spine and front of the jacket. The book is described on the front jacket flap, which also includes the price (a hefty 12s. 6d. net.)

The series name is on the rear of the jacket, which also lists four other titles in the series and the publisher. The rear jacket flap indicates “Jacket designed by James Lucas.”

Titles in the Library of Contemporary Soviet Novels, general editor Yvonne Kapp:

Cavalier of the Gold Star, by Semyon Petrovich Babaevskii (1955)
The Ninth Wave, by Il’ia Erenburg (1955)
*Foma Gordeyev, by Maxim Gorky (1955)
Open Book, by Venyamin Kaverin (1955)

Days of Our Life, by Vera Kazimirovna Ketlinskaia (1956)
Adventures in Bukhara,
by Leonid Solovyev (1956)
Stories From Chukotka, by Ritkheyu (1956)
Peter the First,
Alexey Tolstoy (1956)

Two Captains, by Venyamin Kaverin (1957)
Loaf Sugar and Other Soviet Stories (1957)
Shiptimber Grove, by Mikhail Mikhailovich Prishvin (1957)

*Also published in Moscow by the Foreign Languages Publishing House

The books are bound in good quality green cloth with gold typography and decorations.

The half-title page with the series name:

The title page includes the year of publication:

The copyright page includes the series name and general editor, Yvonne Kapp. A note about the title is also included. “Printed by J.W. Arrowsmith, Bristol.”