Among the major figures in the course of Russian literature, perhaps the least known in the West - and easily the most puzzling - is Ivan Bunin. The last of the great "gentry" writers and the first Russian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Bunin was regarded by many of his contemporaries as the rightful successor to Tolstoy and Chekhov as a master of Russian letters. In this fascinating re-creation of Bunin's life and work, Thomas Marullo has woven together passages from the writer's letters, diaries, and fiction, many of them translated into English for the first time. The result is a compelling picture of a writer searching for himself amidst a society experiencing momentous change. Bunin alternated between periods of despair and joy throughout most of his life. He never quite learned to live with his moods, first as a wanderer and later as a "pilgrim." His principal dilemma was that he stood for traditional Russian values at a time of almost complete upheaval - in the "dark night" between the twilight of imperial Russia and the dawn of the new Soviet state - and he despised the revolutionaries who sought to overturn the ways he cherished. Bunin's life and art come alive in this immensely successful book. He was a victim of modernity, yet his sufferings and faith, and his ability to articulate them, made Bunin a man for modern times. "Ivan Bunin: Russian Requiem engages the reader from the first page, " writes Gary Saul Morson, an authority on Russian literature, "conveying the taste and feel of Russian society from the late nineteenth century to the Revolution. Thomas Marullo has an eye for the perfect quotation. One understands the spirit of this brilliant and complex writer,and how Bunin's works emerged from his life and milieu."
Ivan R Dee, Inc
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