FEAST DURING THE PLAGUE by Alexander Pushkin
In the late summer of 1830, Alexander Pushkin traveled to Boldino, a town four hundred miles east of Moscow, to settle the business of coming into legal ownership of the family estate which would complete the dowry he needed to marry his betrothed, Natalia Goncharova. However, due to an outbreak of cholera, Pushkin was unable to return to the capital as soon as he had hoped: the roads were blocked by quarantine checkpoints or altogether closed by a cordon sanitaire. During three months of what turned out to be the legendarily productive “Boldino autumn,” Pushkin wrote the final chapters of Eugene Onegin as well as a number of other works, including The Tales of Belkin, and four short verse plays known collectively as “The Little Tragedies,” one of which is “Feast During the Plague.” “Feast During the Plague” draws on a scene in Scottish writer John Wilson’s lengthy drama “The City of the Plague,” from an 1816 collection of the same title, and was thus itself a translation from English into Russian.
This fundraising edition was printed and handbound at the UDP studio in an edition of 250 during the New York City pandemic lockdown months of the spring of 2020. Covers were handset in metal type and printed letterpress; the interior is printed on a digital duplicator. 150 copies, bound in wine-red, were distributed to supporters and subscribers of the press. 100 copies are bound in green covers, of which 50 are offered for sale to raise funds for UDP’s Eastern European Poets Series.