Bogdanov’s Red Star – Editions, Covers, Translations.

I have been reading about Bogdanov’s Red Star recently and wanted to put together a quick informational post on its editions and translations.

The original novel (or a novella as it’s fairly short) appeared in 1908 in Saint-Petersburg, I’ve seen some writers describe it as ‘self-published’ – I’m not sure what that means in 1908 context but the book was published by Товарищество Художественной печати [A cooperative of fiction publishing] and the cover was pretty boring:

The next “edition” – I believe technically still the same book, so not a second edition – a sort of an official re-release (ten years later) came in 1918. Here the cover contained an interesting image with clear Marxist slogan around the top (just in case anyone was confused) – Proletarians of all countries, unite! The publisher was the Petrograd Soviet. Here is 1918 cover:

There is a version from 1922 – but it seems again a re-print of the original – I haven’t been able to find out much about this:

Then the actual second edition – as indicated in the book – came in 1924 (and reissued in 1925) where the cover art attempted to represent Martians but I think went a bit overboard with the eyes and the facial features (and a weird small figure reaching out to Martian’s head):

The last edition (before Bogdanov’s work disappeared) was from 1929 – both novels (Red Star and Engineer Menni) appeared as supplements to the popular magazine Вокруг света [Around the world] – here the motif of a big-eyed odd looking Martian continues but without the weirdness of a small Earthling reaching up:

Now about translations. As far as I can tell, Red Star was translated into Ukrainian (in 1922 as Червона зоря by Ostan Nytka), German (as Die Rote Stern originally – in 1923 by Hermynia zur Mühlen but now also as Der rote Planet: utopische Romane by Reinhard Fischer und Aljonna Möckel in 1989), Esperanto (in 1929 as Ruga stelo fantazia roman by Nikolai Nekrasov), French (in 1985 as L’étoile rouge by Catherine Prokhoroff) – there is another French translation found here (dated 1913-14) and also there is information that Colette Peignot translated Red Star and it was published in the newspaper «Le Populaire» in August and September of 1936, Italian* (in 1989 as La stella rossa: romanzo-utopia by Giovanni Maniscalco Basile), Greek (as Ο Κόκκινος Πλανήτης in 1999 by Elenē Mpakopoulou) and more recently, into Spanish (as Estrella roja in 2016 by James and Marian Womack).

As for English translations, there are two – one by Leland Fetzer appeared in 1982 in a collection called Pre-Revolutionary Russian Science Fiction: An Anthology and one in 1984 by Charles Rougle as a separate book called Red Star: The First Bolshevik Utopia.

If I missed any translations, do let me know.

Update 1: I missed a couple of Italian translations, here they are: La Stella Rossa. L’ingegnere Menni. Romanzi (2009) translated by Giovanni Mastroianni, and Stella rossa (Agenzia Alcatraz, 2018) translated by Kollektiv Ulyanov. This last edition has a very cool cover design – enjoy!

Update 2: There are more translations that I missed: in 1923 Red Star was translated into Georgian (as «წითელი ვარსკვლავი: რომანი-უტოპია» by I. Talakvadze), in 1925 – into Armenian (as Կարմիր աստղ – I am not sure who was the translator). I have seen references to a Latvian translation from 1908 (would be the first one) but I can’t find a copy (as Sarkanā zvaigzne, Riga: Bucens, 1908).

Here are some covers I came across of Red Star in translation:

One thought on “Bogdanov’s Red Star – Editions, Covers, Translations.

  1. Seems that there is a second Italian translation by the Kollektiv Ulyanov published in 2018. Tantalizing to think what Gramsci’s planned translation (to be done along with his wife) would have been like.

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