Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
(1870 - 1953)

Poet and novelist, the first Russian to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1933) and one of the best of Russian stylists.
While working as a journalist and clerk Bunin wrote and translated poetry; his first volume of verse was published in 1891. For his translation of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's Hiawatha he was awarded a Pushkin prize in 1903 by the Russian Academy, which later elected him an honorary fellow (1909). He also translated Lord Byron's Manfred and Cain. Bunin, whose poetry has a Parnassian ring, had no use for modern avant-garde trends.

Bunin made his name as a short-story writer with such masterpieces as "Gospodin iz San-Frantsisko," the title piece in one of his collections (1916; The Gentleman from San Francisco). His last book of stories, Tyomnye alley (Dark Avenues), was published in 1943.

Bunin's longer works include Derevnya (1910; The Village), Mitina lyubov (1925; Mitya's Love), Zhizn Arsenyeva ("The Life of Arsenev"), a fictional autobiography (1930; The Well of Days) and its sequel, Lika (1939), and two volumes of memoirs, Okayannye dni (1926; "The Accursed Days") and Vospominaniya (1950; Memories and Portraits).

He also wrote books on Leo Tolstoy (Osvobozhdeniye Tolstogo, 1937; "Tolstoy's Liberation") and Anton Chekhov, both of whom he knew personally. The latter book, O Chekhove ("On Chekhov"), remained unfinished and was published posthumously (1955).

Bunin's life and work are examined in Julian W. Connolly, Ivan Bunin (1982); Thomas Gaiton Marullo (ed.), Ivan Bunin: Russian Requiem, 1885-1920 (1993), and Ivan Bunin: From the Other Shore, 1920-1933 (1995), comprising Bunin's letters, diaries and fiction, as well as writings of his wife; and James B. Woodward, Ivan Bunin: A Study of His Fiction (1980).

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