Women and Vodka. Mark Merrill, ed, David Markson.

Women and Vodka

New York: Pyramid Books, 1956. First edition. 12mo, 190 [2] pp, wraps [illustrated by Lou Marchetti].

The first edition of this unusual anthology, in which short stories and excerpts from larger works (including a piece by Isaac Babel) are collaged together and commercially packaged into a convenient narrative of female decline. The cover features an illustration by the illustrator Lou Marchetti, who lent his distinctive style to many crime fiction and western pulps of the era. Mark Merrill was a pseudonym of David Markson, and this is his first published book. The anthology was re-released in 1963 under the less titillating, but perhaps equally convenient title Great Tales of Old Russia.

While the primary motive behind the book may have been financial, as with his other early detective novels, the collage aspect of the book and the excellent selection of Russian works are the beginning of a trajectory that would culminate in Markson's great, last collage novels.

For a longer piece about the resonances of this book, please visit the Division Leap Blog.

OCLC locates only five holdings of the first edition.

A square, very good copy, with a crease to spine, and the usual minor toning, but the binding is sturdy, the edge stain bright, and nicer than normally found. Item #28976

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