1913 - 1930

Mayakovsky - Z to Z

The State Museum of V.V. Mayakovsky

The display features some of the most interesting items from the collection of manuscripts and documents and the collection of rare books of the State Museum of V. V. Mayakovsky. The collection of manuscripts and documents comprises 13,500 units, including V. V. Mayakovsky’s documents, manuscripts, letters to his family and friends and a lot more. The collection of rare books comprises 5,600 units. It includes editions of high cultural and historical value that played an important role in the history of Russian literature and arts.

Many of them are rare because very few copies are left, and some are the books banned by censorship or virtually eliminated as a result of governmental prescriptions, or limited editions. Some of the books illustrated by leading artists of their time are of artistic and aesthetic value. Some copies possess characteristic features that make them unique. The most valuable pieces are the lifetime editions of V. V. Mayakovsky’s works and the collection of futuristic books.

Vladimir Mayakovsky met Lilya Brik in 1915. He called the day he met her the “happiest day in my life.” An uneasy relationship started that combined “the colossus love” and “the colossus hatred.” The poet dedicated his verses and the poem “About This” to Lilya. He often sent her notes and letters, which he signed “The Pup” and drew himself as a puppy.

In February 1913, А. Kruchenykh’s book "Lipstick" came off the press.

The book has a special place in the history of Russian futurism.

А. Kruchenykh’s verse “Dyr bull shchyl” was printed for the first time.

The poet used a special language peculiar for having words that “have no specific meaning.”

Dubbed the “highbrow language,” it formed the foundation for works by А. Kruchenykh and other futurists.

The lithographic edition of “Soviet Alphabet” is performed in the “manuscript” tradition of Russian futurists, who sought to abandon typographic composition and uniform techniques for drawings and texts.

The poet and artist Mayakovsky combines drawings and meanings in his images of letters.

The cover and drawings of each letter of the alphabet are performed by Mayakovsky himself. 

The uppercase letters are made of caricatures of a single or multiple human figures.

The only surviving draft manuscript with the lines that were not included in the final version of the tragedy. The poet’s sister Lyudmila Vladimirovna reminisces that in the summer of 1913, Mayakovsky lived at their dacha with his mother and sisters. While working on his “Tragedy” he “was walking all days long around Kuntsevo Park, Krylatskoe, Rublevo... without seeing anyone; he was walking and muttering something or reading something out loud,” “writing rhymes, words, verses on tobacco boxes and pieces of paper. He asked mother not to throw anything away...”

V. V. Mayakovsky’s notebook No. 1.  1916 - 1917

В первую вошли стихотворения «Революция. Поэтохроника», «К ответу», «Интернациональная басня», «Не трудно ландышами дыша», наброски поэмы «Человек» и других произведений, а также заметки, адреса, фамилии, телефоны и рисунки.

The notebook includes the verses “Revolution. A Poet's Chronicle”, “To answer!”, “International Fable”, “It’s easy while breathing lilies-of-the-valley”, sketches of the epic poem “A Man”, other unused sketches, various notes, addresses, names, phones

Eight sheets with drawings, including A. M. Gorky, a caricature.

Среди них – шарж на М. Горького. 

V. V. Mayakovsky’s notebook No. 71. 1930

The personal archive of Vladimir Mayakovsky comprises 73 notebooks. Most of them — sixty- eight — are included in the collection of manuscripts and documents of the State Museum of V.V. Mayakovsky. Four more are kept at the Russian State Archive of Literature and Art, and one more is in New York.

Pages from two books by the poet are presented here — his first and last ones.

Credits: Story

Curator — The State Museum of V.V. Mayakovsky

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