PASTERNAK, Boris. Na Rannikh Poezdakh. [On Early Trains]. Moscow: Sovetskii Pisatel, 1943.
Small 4to., original printed grey stapled wraps, printed in black and white; pp. 50, [ii]; ever-so-slight toning to edges of wraps, otherwise a near fine copy.
First edition of this collection of poems from the years 1935 to 1941.
Pasternak began to write a number of poems in 1935, during a period of time in which Soviet literary authorities were promoting the publication of a propaganda-style of writing which would rehabilitate "an outrageous and bourgeois writer". This move forced Pasternak to abandon his natural avant-garde style, in exchange for what he called a 'shoemaker' type of poetry, and, in a letter to fellow writer Daniil Danin, he called these verses 'useless'. Later, in 1941, just as Russia was about to join the war, he seems to change his tune, writing that Russia had entered "a period of vitality and in this sense an untrammelled, joyous restoration of the sense of community with everyone’. The title poem describes his snowy commute from Moscow to Peredelkino, the artist's colony where, over ten years later, he would write 'Doctor Zhivago'. The precursors of his most famous novel can be found interwoven within many of the verses.
"Moscow greeted us in darkness
Already lined with silver light,
As we emerged from underground,
Out of the ambiguity of night."