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Ivan Alekseevich Bunin Anthony J Heywood: particularly important was their four-month journey to egypt and ceylon in the...

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Бунин Иван Алексеевич - Статьи - Ivan Alekseevich Bunin Anthony J Heywood

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Ivan Alekseevich Bunin Anthony J Heywood

Ivan Alekseevich Bunin
Born in Voronezh on 10/22 October 1870, Ivan Alekseevich Bunin was one of nine children of Aleksei Nikolaevich Bunin (1827-1906) and Liudmila Aleksandrovna Bunina (nee Uvarova, 1835-1910). His rural gentry family had a distinguished ancestry with Polish roots, and Bunin was especially proud of the fact that the poetess A P Bunina (1774-1829) and the poet V A Zhukovskii (1783-1852) were among his ancestors. By the 1870s, however, the family was relatively poor and living quietly on an estate at Butyrki in the Elets district, where the young Bunin spent his early years. In 1881 Bunin began attending the gimnaziia in Elets, but he failed to complete the school's programme, being expelled in March 1886 for not returning after the Christmas holiday. Bunin was then tutored by his elder brother Iulii (1857-1921), with whom he became very close and who was living under house arrest on a family estate, after serving a year in prison for participating in a revolutionary student group. Iulii later described the boy as very undeveloped yet gifted and capable of original independent thought.
Bunin's interest in writing developed rapidly from this juncture. He wrote a novel in 1886-7 and also began sending poems to literary journals. His first publication - a poem entitled 'Nishchii' - followed in May 1887. In January 1889 he was offered a position as an editorial assistant on a local newspaper, Orlovskii vestnik, and he took up this post during the following autumn. Soon he was frequently the de facto editor and was able to publish his short stories, poems, reviews and comments in the paper's literary section, until he resigned in the summer of 1891 after a row with the paper's owner. Fortunate not to be conscripted into the army at this point, Bunin had several brief jobs before, in August 1892, his brother Iulii helped him find employment in the zemstvo administration in Poltava. There he remained until January 1895, publishing literary works and articles in the newspaper Poltavskie gubernskie vedomosti, as well as in established journals such as Vestnik Evropy and Mir Bozhii. At this time he became a Tolstoyan, and he met the famous writer in Moscow in January 1894. He was even sentenced to three months in prison for illegally distributing Tolstoyan literature in the autumn of 1894, but he avoided jail thanks to a general amnesty proclaimed on the occasion of the succession to the throne of Nicholas II.
In the meantime his adult private life commenced inauspiciously. In 1890-1 he began an intimate relationship with a colleague from Orlovskii vestnik, V V Pashchenko (1870-1918), but her parents opposed marriage because of Bunin's impecunious circumstances, and Bunin himself was uncertain whether marriage was really appropriate. By 1892 relations between the couple were very tense. In July, for example, Pashchenko complained in a letter to Iulii Bunin that serious quarrels were frequent, and she begged for assistance in bringing the relationship to an end. On this occasion Bunin's elder brother managed to bring about a reconcilation, and even helped Pashchenko obtain a job at the zemstvo administration in Poltava. But the tension persisted, and eventually Pashchenko left Bunin in November 1894 to marry one of his friends, the actor and writer A N Bibikov. Bunin felt betrayed, and for a time his family feared the possibility of suicide.
The traumatic winter of 1894-5 was a turning point. Later Bunin would write that he started a new life at this time, as he began travelling and developing contacts and friendships in literary circles. For instance, having left his job in Poltava in January 1895, he visited St Petersburg for the first time, meeting the editors of the journal Novoe slovo, the writer A M Fedorov and the poet K D Bal'mont among others, and in the winter of 1897-8 he became a regular member of the 'Sreda' group in Moscow with the writer N D Teleshov and others. He first met A P Chekhov in 1896 and Maksim Gor'kii in 1899, strong friendships resulting in each case. Lacking a regular income, Bunin lived in straightened circumstances, but he continued to publish short literary pieces and reviews, and discussions began about the publication of a collection of his works. A book of verse entitled Pod otkrytym nebom duly appeared in the summer of 1898. However, arguably the most important literary product of this period was his translation into Russian of Longfellow's Hiawatha. First published in Orlovskii vestnik in 1896 and then in Moscow in 1898, this work would help to secure Bunin's place as one of Russia's foremost young writers.
While staying with Fedorov near Odessa in the summer of 1898, Bunin became acquainted with N P Tsakni, the publisher and editor of the Odessa newspaper Iuzhnoe obozrenie. Invited to contribute to the paper, Bunin became virtually a daily visitor to the Tsakni family dacha. A romance blossomed suddenly with Tsakni's beautiful eighteen-year-old daughter, Anna (1879-1963), and somewhat to Bunin's own surprise, their marriage took place on 23 September 1898. But by 1899 Bunin and his wife were already alienated from each other, and a final acrimonious separation followed in March 1900. By this time Anna was pregnant, and she gave birth to their son, Nikolai, in Odessa on 30 August 1900. Sadly, Bunin saw very little of his son, for the child lived with his mother and died on 16 January 1905 from a combination of scarlet fever, measles and heart complications.
Bunin's success and fame as a writer continued to grow during the first decade of the new century. Chekhov went so far as to predict for him a future as a great writer. A volume of verse entitled Listopad drew much acclaim upon its publication in 1901, and as many as five volumes of Bunin's works appeared under the auspices of Gorkii's publishing house 'Znanie' between 1902 and 1909. Among the most gratifying developments was the decision of the Russian Academy to award him its Pushkin Prize in October 1903 for Listopad and the translation of Hiawatha. This distinction was accorded once more in 1909, again for verse and translations, and the same year saw his election as a member of the Academy.
From 1906 a new phase in Bunin's life commenced through his relationship with a young student of chemistry at Moscow University, Vera Nikolaevna Muromtseva. The two had initially been introduced to each other by E M Lopatina some years earlier, but it was their encounter at the house of the writer B K Zaitsev in November 1906 which led quickly to an intense relationship. There was disquiet in the Muromtsev family over Bunin's marital status and his position as a writer, but social convention was defied, and the couple not only began living together, but left Russia in April 1907 for an extended tour of the Middle East. On this occasion Turkey and Palestine were the main destinations, inspiring many new poems and the story 'Roza Ierikhona'. Subsequent years saw the couple travel abroad extensively, including several sojourns on the island of Capri between 1909 and 1914, when they became quite close to Gor'kii and also met Leonid Andreev, Fedor Shaliapin and many other Russian visitors to the island. Particularly important was their four-month journey to Egypt and Ceylon in the winter of 1910-11, which inspired such stories as 'Brat'ia' and 'Gorod Tsaria Tsarei'. In Russia the couple divided their time mainly between Moscow and a Bunin family estate at Glotovo.
During the First World War Bunin lived mainly in Moscow or at Glotovo. Despite his anxieties about the war and Russia's future, he initially managed to continue working with considerable energy and success. In the winter of 1914-15 he finished a new volume of prose and verse entitled Chasha zhizni, which was published to wide acclaim in early 1915. He also completed the preparation of a six-volume edition of his collected works, which appeared in the A F Marks publishing house in 1915. The same year saw the publication of his most famous short story 'Gospodin iz San-Frantsisko'. But by the spring of 1916 he was so pessimistic that he was writing very little. He complained to his nephew, N A Pusheshnikov, of the insignificance of his voice as a writer and of his inability to do more than be horrified at the millions of deaths being caused by the War.
However, Bunin was contemptuous of the revolutions of 1917. While dismissive of such politicans as I L Goremykin, the premier in 1914-16, Bunin also criticised opposition politicians like P N Miliukov as false defenders of the Russian people. His dismay was such that in April 1917 he broke off relations with the pro-revolutionary Gor'kii, a rift which would never be healed. In the spring of 1918, with the help of an acquaintance, the Bunins obtained official permission to leave Moscow for Kiev. After parting from their families on 26 May/8 June for what would be the last time, they had an eventful journey via Minsk and Kiev to Odessa, where they arrived on 3/16 June. By 1919 Bunin was working for the Volunteer Army as editor of the cultural section of the anti-Bolshevik newspaper Iuzhnoe slovo. But his lasting literary achievement of these years was his fictionalised account of life in Odessa during the civil war, based on his own experiences and diary, which was first published under the title Okaiannye dni in the Paris emigre newspaper Vozrozhdenie in 1925. The Bunins remained in Odessa during a period of Bolshevik occupation in 1919, but were evacuated by ship to Constantinople on 26 January/8 February 1920 just before the final fall of Odessa to the Red Army. Having settled permanently in France, Bunin finalised his divorce from A N Tsakni, and his marriage to Vera Nikolaevna took place in Paris in 1922.
The inter-war period saw Bunin at the height of his literary power and fame, though increasingly as a writer of prose rather than verse. Dividing his time between apartments at 1, rue Jacques Offenbach in the 16th arrondissement of Paris and rented villas in or near Grasse in the Alpes Maritimes, he first re-published many of his pre-revolutionary works and then began publishing new collections of short stories, while regularly contributing articles - often polemical in content - to the burgeoning Russian emigre press. There was also a volume of collected verse in 1929, and the Berlin publishing house Petropolis issued an eleven-volume edition of his collected works in 1934-6. But his most significant work was universally judged to be the novel Zhizn' Arsen'eva (1930). Its powerful evocation of the old Russia helped to secure Bunin's place as the doyen of Russian emigre literature and earn him the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1933.
The Nobel Prize, which Bunin formally received from King Gustav V of Sweden on 10 December 1933, was widely seen by Russian emigres as emphatic international recognition for both Bunin himself and the emigration as a whole. A political triumph was sensed in the rumoured rejection of the candidacy of the pro-Soviet Gor'kii. And although such feeling probably overstated the award's actual international political significance, the emigration's collective morale was undoubtedly boosted at a time when the Soviet regime seemed stronger than ever. Bunin himself, ever reluctant to become involved in politics, was feted as both a writer and the embodiment of non-Bolshevik Russian values and traditions. Inevitably, his travels to such countries as Germany, the Baltic States, Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia featured prominently on the front pages of the Russian emigre press for the remainder of the decade.
Bunin's domestic life during the inter-war period was strikingly unconventional. From the mid-1920s the Bunins shared their summer villa with many different guests, including several aspiring young writers. One of these, Galina Kuznetsova (1900-76), lived with the Bunins from 1927 and had a prolonged affair with Bunin, which ended dramatically in the mid-1930s, when she left Bunin for Margarita Stepun, the sister of Bunin's friend, the writer and critic Fedor Stepun. Although the atmosphere in the Bunin household during these years was, understandably, often very tense, Vera Nikolaevna reconciled herself to her husband's affair and accepted Kuznetsova, and later Margarita Stepun, too, as friends, with the result that once Bunin had recovered from such a painful blow to his very considerable male pride, nashi, as Bunina called Kuznetsova and Stepun in her letters of this period, returned to live with the Bunins for long periods until the middle of the Second World War. (In Germany and then New York, after the war, Kuznetsova and Stepun negotiated energetically with publishers on Bunin's behalf and maintained a regular correspondence with both the Bunins until their deaths.)
Other young writers who became long-term residents in the Bunin household were Leonid Zurov (1902-71), who arrived on a visit from Latvia at Bunin's invitation in late 1929 and remained with the Bunins for the rest of their lives, and Nikolai Roshchin (1896-1956), who returned to the Soviet Union after the Second World War.
The Bunins spent most of the war years at the Villa Jeanette in Grasse, being joined by Zurov in late 1940. Food shortages were a constant source of anxiety, and there was danger, too, when they sheltered fugitives from the authorities. Concern amongst Bunin's friends in New York resulted in officially endorsed invitations to travel there, and in 1941 the Bunins were each issued with Nansen passports for travel to the United States. But the couple remained in Grasse until after the Liberation. In fact Bunin completed a number of short stories in the early 1940s, some of which were published in New York, initially in the journal Novyi zhurnal, and then as the first edition of his celebrated collection Temnye allei in 1943.
In the early summer of 1945 the Bunins returned to 1, rue Jacques Offenbach. Apart from several spells convalescing at the Russkii Dom in Juan-les-Pins, Bunin was to remain in the French capital for the rest of his life. With his health deteriorating, especially after 1948, he concentrated his creative energies on writing his memoirs and a book about his old friend, Chekhov. He was extensively aided by Vera Nikolaevna in his research on Chekhov, and indeed she and Zurov completed the work after his death. Bunin also revised a number of stories for publication in new collections, spent considerable time looking through his papers and annotated his collected works for a definitive edition.
A major event of these last years was Bunin's quarrel in 1948 with Mariia Tsetlina and Zaitsev, following the decision by the Union of Russian Writers and Journalists in France to expel holders of Soviet passports from its membership, to which Bunin had responded by resigning from the Union. Loyally supported by Vera Nikolaevna, Bunin renounced his close friendship with Zaitsev, and this wound was so deep that reconcilation proved impossible.
Bunin's last years were marred by bitterness, disillusionment and chronic ill-health. He died on 8 November 1953 and was buried in the Russian cemetery at Sainte-Genevieve-des-Bois.[1]

Источник: University of Leeds

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              "О дево
          Мария! -
          Поют небеса. -
          На нивы златые
          Пролей волоса.

          Омой наши лица
          Рукою земли.
          С за-гор вереницей
          Плывут корабли.

          В них души усопших
          И память веков.
          О, горе, кто ропщет,
          Не снявши оков!

          Кричащему в мраке
          И бьющему лбом
          Под тайные знаки
          Мы врат не сомкнем.

          Но сгибни, кто вышел
          И узрел лишь миг!
          Мы облачной крышей
          Придавим слепых"...

Есенин Сергей Александрович