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Expo Bunin

Ivan Bunin

Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin was born 1870 in Voronezh, Russia, and died 1953 in Paris, France. He was a poet and novelist, the first Russian to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature (1933), and one of the finest of Russian stylists. Descendant of an old noble family, Bunin spent his childhood and youth in the Russian provinces. He began publishing poems and short stories in 1887. In the mid-1890s he gradually entered the Moscow and St. Petersburg literary scenes, including the growing Symbolist movement. However, Bunin’s work had more in common with the traditions of classical Russian literature of the 19th century, of which his older contemporaries Tolstoy and Anton Chekhov were models. By the beginning of the 20th century, Bunin had become one of Russia’s most popular writers. His sketches and stories show Bunin’s penchant for extreme precision of language, delicate description of nature, detailed psychological analysis, and masterly control of plot. While his democratic views gave rise to criticism in Russia, they did not turn him into a politically engaged writer. He perceived the Russian Revolution of 1917 as the triumph of the basest side of the Russian people. Bunin’s articles and diaries of 1917–20 are a record of Russian life during its years of terror. In May 1918 he left Moscow and settled in Odessa (now in Ukraine), and at the beginning of 1920 he emigrated first to Constantinople (now Istanbul) and then to France, where he lived for the rest of his life. There he became one of the most famous Russian émigré writers. The autobiographical novel «The Life of Arsenev» which Bunin began writing during the 1920s and of which he published parts in the 1930s and 1950s was recognized by critics and Russian readers abroad as testimony of the independence of Russian émigré culture. Bunin lived in the south of France during World War II, refusing all contact with the Nazis and hiding Jews in his villa. After the end of the war, Bunin was invited to return to the Soviet Union, but he remained in France.

Hundred years after the Russian Revolution the World again finds itself at a critical and revolutionary turning point from the humanistic age towards a new era of global digitalization and artificial intelligence with yet unknown consequences. Again some are cheerfully looking forward while others are trying to preserve the best values from the past for a better future. Not talking of those whose aim is to simply turn back the wheel to the myths of the past. It is the seismographic sensivity of Bunin’s works that can help us to understand the inner logic and emotional weight of such fractures in individual lives as well as in society as a whole.

For all questions concerning translations rights for Bunin’s works including provision of respective legal documents we ask to write to Wiedling Literary Agency and/or The Bunin Estate.

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