Saturday, 30 March 2013
Scoping Sergei Eisenstein's Bookshelves
The great Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein (1898-1948) considered cinema “the highest of the arts,” but he was passionate about books. In his memoirs, he rhapsodized about bookstores and the books he found in them: “They fly to me, run to me, cling to me,” he wrote, “so long have I loved them...” People who visited Eisenstein often said they found him sitting among huge piles of books.
When he died, his friends packed up his books and moved them to another apartment, where they remain to this day. The collection, which is not currently open to the public, is overseen by Naum Kleiman, the world’s leading Eisenstein scholar and Director of Russia’s Cinema Museum.
These photographs show a small percentage of the books Eisenstein owned. You can see some of his many histories of literature, theater, and art. He had close to 200 books on psychology, sex, and religion, and many more on American, European, Mexican, Asian, and African-American history and culture (he considered making a film about the Haitian Revolution with his friend Paul Robeson in the lead).