Khlebnikov, Velimir

Moscow: 1922.

Original illustrated wrappers by Miturich. 4to, 35 pp. Edition of 2,000. Illustrated edition of Khlebnikov’s dramatic poem, which was later made famous by its production in 1923, with designs by Vladimir Tatlin. Zangezi constitutes perhaps the finest and most fully realized example of Khlebnikovian techniques of verbal construction. The work employs a great abundance of sound effects, and exhibits the author’s characteristic interest in etymology and historically deduced mathematical formulae. In his introduction, Khlebnikov declares, “The tale is constructed from words, as are the stories of a building”; consequently Zangezi is composed of 15-odd ‘planes’ rather than traditional dramatic acts. The interaction of the dramatis personae often assumes the form of experiments in zaum word play. Miturich illustrated the cover to represent a free-form tree, with darker shapes acting as branches and carefree loops and swirls representing the leaves.

Getty 315; MoMA 417, illus. p. 132.