a russian lady in eastern kazakhstan
[ANONYMOUS]. Poezdka po Kitaiskoi granitse ot Altaia do Tarbagataia. [Moscow, University Printer], 1871.
8vo. Contemporary marbled boards, recently rebacked with calf and raised bands, spine ruled and lettered in gilt (in English), printed front wrapper of green paper bound in, contained in: Russkii Vestnik, volume XCIII, on pages 580 to 661; edges worn; internally, apart from occasional light spotting, very good; provenance: bookplate of Coburg Bibliothek with heraldic bookplate printed in red and black inside front cover.
This is the first edition of an anonymous travelogue of a journey from Semipalatinsk (now Semey, Kazakhstan) along the Russian-Chinese border. All we could find out about the author, who is denoted in the list of articles as '- o -', was the wife of a general; they were both members of the St. Petersburg nobility and stationed in Semipalatinsk. Their names are not mentioned throughout the article except their 10 year old son's, Kostya. No official purpose of the journey is given, and the character was not that of a scientific expedition. The author refers to earlier and similar trips having been undertaken by the couple. Since they visited several military posts during their journey, we can assume that the general had the task of inspecting the border of the Russian and Chinese Empires and assess trade, economy and smuggling in the region. A fascinating and rare travelogue covering parts of Eastern Kazakhstan and the Chinese border.
The magazine Russian Messenger had been founded in 1856 by a group of liberal writers and scholars, among them the editor Mikhail Katkov; luminaries such as Turgeniev, Tolstoy and Dostoievsky (who had been banished to Semipalatinsk) contributed major works.