In 1982 a Russian translation of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind was issued in the Soviet Union. Judging by reports from that quarter, the book has been an enormous success—with those readers who have got hold of a copy. That the book has appeared in Russian only recently is not surprising. In the world of centrally planned Soviet publishing, forty-six years is not that long an interval—there is to this day, for example, no Russian edition of Ulysses, although a translation of it exists and was even published in magazine excerpts in the Thirties. What is cause for wonder is that Mitchell’s book was published in the Soviet Union at all.

But wonder gives way to other emotions when one learns from the colophon that the book has been printed in an edition of ten thousand copies. Ten thousand is next to nothing by Soviet standards. Moreover, this negligible print run has been given to a...

 

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