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img_0002img_0003This is a wonderfully fresh dust jacket of the Dutch translation in 1931 of Mark Alexandrovich Aldanov’s famous novel The Key first published in in a foreign translation as La Clef in Paris, France around the same time. The book discusses the Russian Revolution and gives us the author’s view.

Who was Mark Aldanov (1886/1887-1957)? The author was born in Warsaw, Poland and fled from Paris in 1940 to the United States of America.

The name Aldanov was a pseudonym and his original name was Landau. He co-founded the very important Russian New Review Novyi Zhurnal The New Review. It was published in New York City, and was one of the most prominent social-political, literary, and cultural journals of the Russian-language diaspora, founded by M. O. Tsetlin (1882-1945) and M. A. Aldanov. 

Aldanov was a critic, novelist, journalist and a prolific author of historical novels, but he also wrote about science and religion. Numerous titles are still in print in both Russian as well as foreign languages. Unfortunately, I do not know the book jacket designer. The book has 304 pages and is customarily well printed by this important Dutch publisher Van Holkem & Warendorf’s UITG. MIJ. N.V..

img_0004img_0005The popularity of Aldanov’s work in the Netherlands lead to another one of his novels De Vlucht (Escape) published by Van Holkem & Warendorf’s UITG. MIJ. N.V. the same publisher in 1932, again a copy with a crisp dust jacket. Obviously the jacket designer is the same for both books, but curiously on the second book in the right hand bottom corner of the cover design we find some initials which I cannot identify as to the owner of the cover design. Aldanov was nominated numerous times for a Nobel Prize in Literature by his fellow countrymen but the effort was unsuccessful.

img_0006The book flap has some press reviews of the first book De Sleutel.

Numerous Russian non fiction authors were published in the 1920’s and 30’s in the Netherlands albeit the very small market generally for books, in part this is due to the fascination with communism and socialism at the time in the Netherlands, but also with respect for the great Russian authors as a whole.

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