Thursday, June 20, 2013

Lenin book / 1987

On a short visit to Moscow in 1987 I couldn't find anything to buy of interest to a designer apart from a pleasant paperback (in English) about the Moscow metro, a slim landscape book of maps of the USSR's rail routes (with, no doubt, hopelessly inaccurate maps as was the style back then) several sets of badges and this really lovely graphic book about Lenin.    
     136 pages, 11.75 by 8.5 inches, black and red (the last ten spreads are all red) and an intermittent use of page numbers. The book's jacket is slightly different from the book's cover. I assume the illustrations are created by scraper board, a technique that is largely forgotten now but the technique works a treat in these pages.
     I wouldn't have expected a State publishing house to put out such a wonderfully designed book but here it is. Most of the pages are text but I've posted a selection of the graphic ones.
     If any Past Print fans know Russian I would like a translation of the title...thanks.



  1. It is Vladimir Mayakovsky's (1893-1930) poem "Vladimir Ilyich Lenin" (1924). Mayakovsky is the most famous soviet poet, he is noted for incredibly powerful lines (some of which are still in common use as sayings), experiments with the rhythm and form of the verses (he was one of the leading figures of futurism) and his personality. Everybody in Russia still loves him, no matter what political preferences are

    The opening page reads:
    [To] Russian
    I dedicate

    Illustrations for this edition are made by Dmitri Spiridonovich Bisti (Дмитрий Спиридонович Бисти; Д. Бисти, 1925-1990) mostly around 1967. His favorite technique was woodcut. On a personal note, the first time I've seen his illustrations was in the novel Kappa by Ryunosuke Akutagawa.

  2. Thanks for the great scans of this! I actually have the Cuban edition (Spanish translation) and it is a lovely piece of design/art.