Thornton's Bookshop ( W A & J S Meeuws )
( Ass. member of the ABA)
Established in Oxford in 1835
The Old Barn - Walnut Court
Faringdon, SN7 7JH
Tel. (OO 44 ) (0) 1367 240056 -
1808 - 1891
V.N. Toporov GOSPODIN PROKHARCHIN DOSTOEVSKOGO , a publishing saga
A collection of letters
Correspondence between the bookshop Holdan Books, in North Oxford (1974 - 1983)
and Professor V. N. Toporov between 1976 and 1980 about a possible publication of his
GOSPODIN PROKHARCHIN DOSTOEVSKOGO straight from his 170-page typescript .
Vladimir Nikolayevich Toporov (1928 - 2005 ),
leading Russian philologist associated with the Tartu-Moscow semiotic school.
Initially Mouton intended to publish this, later Peter de Ridder who then went bankrupt. ( I remember his overdone publishing schedule)
Also see: Toporov, V. N.: "Gospodin Prokharchin" : ? analizu peterburgskoi povesti Dostoevskogo. In: Toporov, V. N. Peterburgskii tekst. Moskva: Nauka, 2009: 208-85.
Akhmatova i Blok : (k probleme postroenii?a po?ticheskogo dialoga: "blokovski?" tekst Akhmatovo?)
Eventually published by Berkeley Slavic Specialties in 1981.
Both Dr. Ann Shukman and Professor Anne Pennington read the text of GOSPODIN PROKHARCHIN,
but in the end the Russian edition was published in 1982 by the Magness Press
Jerusalem in their Series: Bibliotheca Slavica Hierosolymitana.
The collection of letters consists of
Toporovís first handwritten letter A-4 , dated 18.2.1976 in which he told me that he did not know
Mouton had abandoned publishing his works although they had announced some of his
planned publications in their catalogue.
Copy of my reply of 6 July 1976.
Toporovís handwritten letter dated 13 December 1976, A-4 in which he told me that he had received 2 of
his manuscripts back from Mouton. Peter de Ridder had ďlostĒ a 3rd manuscript .
He then tells me that he has sent me the 170-page manuscript of GOSPODIN PROKHARCHIN DOSTOEVSKOGO
Toporovís short handwritten letter asking if the typescript had arrived. He would like to add 1-2 pages of additions
copy of letter dated 24-3-1977 , the typescript, not the manuscript, had meanwhile arrived.
Dr. Ann Shukman had read it and had written a short introduction for it, Professor Anne Pennington, Oxford (1934 - 1981 )
was in the process of reading it.
Ann Shukmanís typed proposed introduction for GOSPODIN PROKHARCHIN : popytka istolkovaniya.
With some suggestions for the layout and pointing out some misprints.
Toporovís long letter dated 23 V í77 explaining his wish that he would like to have his new titles published in Russian.
He offers more of his works, already finished or in a final stage which could be translated into English.
Toporovís handwritten letter of 1. VIII í77 asking for an explanation about my request for an introductory text.
Copy of typed letter of 10-8-1977 explaining toToporovthat I required a ďsales textĒ
Toporovís 3-page handwritten letter dated 12 September 1977 in which his introductory texts in Russian for Akhmatova I Blok
and The Petersburg text of Russian literatureĒ. He finishes this letter with some personal details about himself.
Copy of my letter of 9 June 1977. The Dostoevsky typescript is now with Professor Malcolm Jones. (Nottingham University) )
The idea to publish Toporovís works in Russian is abandoned
L.Matejka had told me that he would be publishing Toporovís works.
I wrote on 17th May 1978 explaining the entire sad history of Moutonís abandoned plans
and my humble efforts to take over. I told Matejka that I had no objection to his taking over but would
like 100 copies of Akhmatova I Blok with my imprint.
Matejkaís short handwritten letter acknowledging receipt of the Gospodin typescript.
He is interested in publishing it in Russian provided no English edition will be issued
Toporovís handwritten letter of 22 IX í78 asking me to clarify the current state of the plans to publish.
My reply of 28th September 1978 to T. . Matejka now had the typescript, plus longer description
of what had been going on.
Toporovís handwritten reply of 21st November 1978. He had not received any communication from
Matejka at the time. He explains his inexperience in Western publishing practices.
Copy of my letter toToporovdated 6 February 1979 explaining my surprise that nobody has so far
contacted him about the publication of his books.
I had asked Matejka for 25 copies once Gospodin was published to pay for all my promotional
efforts since 1976. Matejka never replied.
Toporovís handwritten letter dated 3 May 1979. Still no news from Matejka. He intends to send me the text
of Akhmatova I Blok. (I never received this)
Toporovís handwritten letter of 22 May 1979. Matejka had finally written toToporovinforming him that there
was nobody at Michigan University who could use a Russian typewriter and that he had passed
the typescript to Stephen Rudy of Yale University ( Stephen Rudy 1949 Ė 2003)
Copy of my letter dated 25 September 1979 to Stephen Rudy
Stephen Rudyís long 3-page typed letter dated 5 October 1979 about Gospodin Prokharchin and the ongoing saga.
He criticizes Mouton, (Peter de Ridder had gone bankrupt meanwhile, 60,000 volumes of his publications
were offered at enormous discounts ) and Rudyís efforts probably eventually lead to publication in Jerusalem,
Copy of my letter dated 25 January 1980 to t. In fact Toporov never did send me the typescript of Akhmatova I Blok
Last letter from Toporov dated 24 V í80. Akhmatova I Blok was an article really albeit a long one for publication in Slavica Hierosolymitana.
Included also 8 handwritten and stamped envelopes from Toporov to Holdan Books
Price for the collection £ 450