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Provocateur, Pirate, Book Artist: An Introduction to Alec Flegon

Alexander L. Jacobson

Pages 240 - 253


This article provides a short overview of the life and work of Alec Flegon (1924-2003), a Russian publisher based in London during the Cold War. Working for the first time with the publisher's archive, the article reconstructs the broad contours of Flegon's life, including his first Western editions of Odin den' Ivana Denisovicha, Sobach'e serdtse, and Kotlovan; his frequent disregard for authorial rights; and his series of lawsuits against Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. In addition, the article calls attention to Flegons output of bibliographic oddities and false imprints, such as a copy of Arkhipelag Gulag published under the Soviet imprint of Izdatelstvo politicheskoi literatury. Based on this and other such works, the piece argues that Flegon was an insightful book artist, creating critiques of Soviet publishing practice only possible within the medium of the book.

Princeton NJ

1 Harvard University, Houghton Library

2 Note: the Flegon archive is currently unprocessed and does not contain folders


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