War and literature

Fiction, poetry, and drama about the revolution and civil war proliferated in the 1920s.  Some authors found popularity only in such output, and among these was the author of the book shown here, Mikhail Alekseev.  Born Mikhail Bryzdnikov in 1895, Alekseev published three novels in the twenties but details of his later biography and any further writings now seem to be lost.  On display is the original front cover of his Bol’sheviki (Bolsheviks).  The illustration is by Iulii Ganf (1898-1973), who found particular fame as a poster artist; his signature Ю. Ганф can be seen in the bottom right-hand corner.  The image shows two soldiers, the one in the foreground clearly of rural stock, advancing purposefully against a backdrop of burning buildings.  On the book’s arrival in the University Library, it was, as so many paperbacks from time, bound into a hardback complete with its original covers.  This has allowed Ganf’s striking work to remain so bright.

Bolʹsheviki / Mikhail Alekseev (1928)  757:26.d.90.181