Under Western Eyes
Hard Cover. New York: Harper & Brothers Publishers, 1911. First Edition. Very Good / Dust Jacket Included.
First American edition, first printing. Publisher's blue cloth, front board and spine stamped in gilt; original orange dust jacket, printed in black, with "How to open a book" notice to front flap and advertisement for The Ne'er-Do-Well by Rex Beach to rear flap. Near fine book, with a hint of rubbing to spine ends, a touch of soiling to bottom of front board, a few small spots of soiling to front endpapers, contemporary inscription to front free endpaper, a small spot of soiling to fore edge of text block, and light offsetting to pp. 100-101; with parts of the original dust jacket, including entire rear panel and rear flap, three-fourths of spine (upper portion, with title, missing), one-third of front panel (bottom left portion), with front flap detached but present: parts of dust jacket that are present have just a few small closed tears. Overall, a lovely copy, with a sizable portion of the exceedingly scarce original dust jacket. In Under Western Eyes, a Geneva-based English teacher of languages - the story's "Western eyes" - gives an account of Razumov, a Russian student in the early 1910s who aspires to secure a middle-class position in the czarist system. Razumov faces an internal crisis when he betrays the trust of a revolutionary student who assassinated the Minister of State and is then ordered to spy on the student's family. Conrad wrote Under Western Eyes after the failed Russian Revolution of 1905, and it gained a new audience after the Russian Revolution of 1917. The book is often seen as a response to Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment (1866) as it addresses many of the same themes.