Bruxelles: Lacroix et Cie, 1875. First eition. Edge of spine label a bit chipped. Some toning to tail edge of lower board and some rubbing to the marbled paper. Some rippling to leaves at fore-edge and tail edge. Leaves untrimmed. Toning to endpapers, half-title, and final page. Occasional soiling to corners and bottom margin. Some toning to margins of the first and last few leaves. A very good, large copy of a scarce work. Contemporary half green cloth over marbled paper-covered boards with gilt spine label. Twelvemo. 336 pp. Item #16768
Harriet Clarissima Ely Blackford (1848 – 1886), alias Fanny Lear, was a Philadelphia-born writer whose affair with Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich (1850 – 1918), nephew of Tsar Alexander II, prompted Blackford’s arrest and expulsion from Russia. Soon after, Konstantinovich was exiled from Russia for stealing several diamonds from his parents’ palace to pay the debts he had incurred by buying lavish gifts for Blackford.
Blackford’s affair with Konstantinovich also served as the basis for Le Roman d’une Americaine en Russie, which Blackford wrote in English and had translated into French for publication in Brussels. In Fanny Lear: Love and Scandal in Tsarist Russia, Daniel and Eva McDonald explain that the book was an “instant bestseller” until the French police, under a request from the Russian government, confiscated as many copies as possible from bookshops across Paris (p. xi). Despite Blackford’s difficulties with the Russian government, The McDonalds go on to describe the present work as “a love story, not only of her lover…but of Russia itself,” (p. xi).
OCLC lists two copies, both at the British Library.