[G––N, Aleksei P––v, supposed author].
A LITERARY FORGERY?
[G––N, Aleksei P––v, supposed author]. The Exile. A Poem. From the Russian. Translated from the original MS. of the Author who fell in the Battle before Dresden. Illustrated with geographical Notes. Dedicated to the Grand Duchess of Oldenbourg …
London: Published by John Souter …  1814.
8vo (209 × 132 mm) in half-sheets, pp. [4], 70; the occasional light mark, but a good copy, disbound.
First edition, scarce. It was reissued, with a cancel title and without the dedication leaf, in 1816.

‘A Russian Boyar adopts the son of a deceased peasant, for whom he entertained a friendship. His lordship was at this time childless; but, shortly after, his lady presented him with a daughter. She only lived, however, to embrace her child, and to recommend her future union with the adopted Alexis. The Boyar promises. The children are brought up with the avowed intention of being united; but, when they have attained an age to be sensible of their mutual and unalterable attachment to each other, the arrival of a noble stranger changes the scene: he induces the Boyar to Exile his favourite, for the purpose of weakening his daughter’s hitherto approved affection, and of marrying her according to her rank. The heroine true to her first love pines for her absent Alexis; till, being at the brink of the grave, her father resolves to restore his child, by recalling the object of her affections, and blessing their union. But mercy came too late. The youth, more noble of spirit than of birth, seeks glory in the field of battle, and falls at the battle of Dresden, with the name of a hero …’ (Critical Review).

The book is not listed in Line, or Lewanski, but then I am slightly doubtful that it is indeed translated from a Russian source (if it is, then it is the first English translation of a piece of Russian poetry). It seems more likely that it is a writer capitalising on the fashion for all things Russian which arose in Britain during the Napoleonic Wars. It is not listed in Cat. Russica, or Cross, The Russian Theme in English Literature, either, but then it may have been passed over as a translation.

WorldCat locates 3 copies (BL, Yale, New York Historical Society); COPAC adds no others.
£500   
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