London: C.W. Daniel, Ltd., 1920. Small Octavo (20x13x2cm); 104pp. Papyrus-like jacket printed in green and black. Hard salmon boards with pale wedgewood blue label on front panel.
Jacket is whole but with missing chips up to 2cm and some weakening of the front flap fold, now protected in mylar (though photographed without). Volume itself is solid; textblock unmarred and unmarked.
Hippius (1869-1945)—most often romanized as Gippius—was a Russian Symbolist poet, playwright, novelist, stylish cross-dresser, initially an anti-tsarist, and then an anti-Bolshevik, and then an exile. Maeterlinckish would be a plausible label. Koteliansky (1880-1955) was the preeminent British translator of Dostoevsky and Chekhov, among others.
The play, first produced—by Meyerhold!—in 1915, then revived a year later under Stanislavski's tutelage (but not his direction) at the Moscow Art Theater, depicts a circle of progressive, idealistic teenagers. They preach sermonettes to each other, devise ways to detour around traditional marriage, and rescue the downtrodden. The play, now neglected, sits right in the middle of spectrum between Chekhov's Uncle Vanya and Wedekind's Spring Awakening.