London: Elkin Mathews and John Lane, 1894. 1st UK Edition. Octavo, publisher's yellow cloth pictorially stamped in black, spine gilt, uncut.
First edition in English of the great Russian writer's first book, an epistolary novel centered on the lives of two cousins struggling to free themselves from crushing poverty, hailed by the major Russian critic of the day, Vissarion Belinsky, as the first social novel. Originally published in 1846 in the almanac St. Petersburg Collection; published in England in June 1894 in an edition of 1100 copies, and in the US one month later. Translated from the Russian by Lena Milman, with an introduction by Irish novelist George Moore: "Notwithstanding some magnificent passages, Crime and Punishment seems to lumber along luggage-train fashion... However that may be, Poor Folk has sufficed to change my opinion of Dostoievsky, and it is not too much to say that in that story I find him standing side by side with Tourgueneff and Tolstoi." Cover and two-tone title-page designed by decadent English artist Aubrey Beardsley, with his "key monogram" on the spine, rear cover, and page [v]. Bound in yellow pictorial cloth in a style similar to that of the same publisher's literary quarterly Yellow Book, which began publication the same year as the present volume, and for which Beardsley served as art director. With 16 pages of publisher's ads at rear dated March 1894. Line, p.18 (Bibliography of Russian Literature in English Translation); Samuels Lasner 27. Bookplate of Liberal politician Robert Offley Ashburton Crewe-Milnes. Minor soiling to cloth and rubbing to pictorial stamping; moderate foxing to endpapers. Near fine. Item #1117