Autograph Manuscript fragment of “Emelian the Fool”. George Borrow.

“Emeilan the Fool”

Autograph Manuscript fragment of “Emelian the Fool”.

N.p [St. Petersburg?]: n.d [ca. 1830s].

2 pp. pen and ink on 2 leaves of blue paper. 8vo. “Emeilan the Fool”. Worn, with small closed tears at margins. Collie & Fraser E.9 (for first separate publication). Item #261505

The working manuscript, with deletions and corrections, of the first two pages of George Borrow’s translation of the Russian folk tale “Emelian the Fool.” As the text differs substantially from the printed version, this is likely one of Borrow’s earlier attempts at a translation, perhaps begun in St. Petersburg while he was overseeing a printing of the New Testament into Manchu. Collie and Fraser suppose that the first drafts of Borrow’s Russian translations were “written while he was in St. Petersburg, though they were revised later, probably for the proposed publication announced in 1857 in the advertisements at the end of The Romany Rye” (p. 102). “Emelian” was first published in Once a Week, VI, 8 March 1862, and reprinted by T.J. Wise and included in the Avon Booklet II, 1904 and again as a separate publication by Wise in 1913 in an edition of 30. Collie and Fraser list two manuscripts of the story (in the British Library and Worcester), both incomplete.

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