Leningrad: Academia, 1927. FIRST EDITION. Softcover. Small 8vo (150 x 110 mm). , 218,  pp. With a portrait of the author. Original Constructivist styled wrapper designed by Valentina Khodasevich (small tears of the overlapped wrappers, Soviet bookshops' stamps on the recto of the back cover, a few spots on the back cover and extremities of the pages, few pages slightly loose, shadow on the first and last pages). Overall a very good copy, preserved in a fine fitted protective case. Very good. Item #2316
These memoirs are not only a portrait of a young provincial actress and her life, told simply and without embellishment, but also a collection of interesting details from theatre life of 19th century. Maria Gavrilovna Savina (1854-1915) was a renowned Russian actress. Born Maria Podramentsova into a family of stage actors, she debuted in Minsk in 1869, then joined the Mikhail Leontovsky troupe in Kharkov. While there, she married the actor N. N. Slavich who used the stage name Savin, and has been known as Marya Savina ever since. In 1874 Savina, then the leading actress at the Saratov Theatre, moved to Saint Petersburg to join the Alexandrinsky Theatre. It was there that she became famous, mostly for her parts in Alexander Ostrovsky's plays (including Without a Dowry, Talents and Admirers, A Profitable Position, Hard-Earned Bread, The Last Victim, Vasilisa Melentyeva, Wild Thing), as well as in Nikolai Gogol's Revizor, Ivan Turgenev's A Month in the Country and Leo Tolstoy's The Power of Darkness, among others. Foreign playwrights of the time, such as Ibsen and Zuderman, also found in her an excellent performer. Some of the Russian writers of the time were mainly successful due to her performance.
¶ This first edition of 1927 was limited to 5100 copies and is now scarce. The significance of the text is such that it has been reprinted three times (1961, 1983 and 2004); of course none of these reprints feature the original impression of the justly famous Constructivist wrappers designed by Valentina Khodasevich (1894-1970), celebrated Soviet theater and graphic artist. This book was the third in the series "Theatrical Memoirs" edited by P.I Novitsky and E. Kuznetsov.
¶ The portrait of 17-years-old M.G. Savina is reproduced for the first time from her photograph taken in Kaluga in 1871; likewise, these Memoirs are fully printed for the first time from the manuscript in the Museum of Academic Theaters.