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7. Revising the Twentieth-Century Poetic Canon: Ivan Bunin in Post-Soviet Russia1

Joanne Shelton

© 2017 Joanne Shelton, CC BY 4.0

Since 1991, revisions to the canon of post-Soviet literature have occurred, and poetry written during the course of the twentieth century has not escaped this process of re-assessment. Some writers have endured the re-evaluation of what it means to be canonical and they have succeeded in retaining the canonical status that they held prior to the collapse of the Soviet Union. The reverse of this is also true; some writers have been admitted to the canon of Russian poetry for the first time. However, any assessment of the changes to the Russian literary canon should not ignore the group of writers to which Ivan Bunin, émigré writer and first Russian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature, belongs — that of the writer who has been in and out of the canon, even during the seventy years of Soviet rule. In the post-Soviet era, it seems that Bunin’s position in the canon has finally been established, as a poet as well as a prose writer. This chapter will explore some of the ways in which Bunin’s poetry has become established in the canon, and it will argue that, while the institutional model of canon formation appears to have had a more significant impact on Bunin’s canonicity than the poet-based model of canonisation, the difficulty in drawing a distinction between the two models means that the contribution of poets to the process of canon formation cannot be ignored.2 Furthermore, the chapter will examine how the ‘Bunin institution’, which encompasses such extra-literary factors as commemorations of Bunin’s life, museums, or statues dedicated to his memory, has played a role in securing his place in the canon of post-Soviet poetry.

Paul Lauter suggests that a canon is the ‘set of literary works, the grouping of significant philosophical, political and religious texts, the particular accounts of history generally accorded cultural weight within a society’.3 He goes on to attest that ‘[…] literary canons do not fall from the sky. They are constructed and reconstructed by people […], people with certain ideas and tastes and definable interests and views of what is desirable’.4 This (re)construction of the canon according to the views of certain individuals can be seen in the Soviet context, where the literary canon was subject to ideological manipulation. Not only did the Soviet leadership decide what was acceptable for publication, it also sought to control the way in which the reader understood the text, thus explanatory notes and quotations from Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels, Stalin, or Lenin accompanied many works.5 Furthermore, the position of a writer and the assessment of his or her work were subject to change throughout the Soviet era.6 The canon management that took place in the Soviet period is one of the fundamental reasons why there has been a post-Soviet re-assessment of Russian poetry, and it seems that the processes more commonly associated with the canonisation of literary works are beginning to play a significant role in identifying the works to be established in the re-evaluated canon of twentieth-century Russian poetry.

The poet-based model of canon formation demonstrates the value that Bunin’s contemporaries placed on his poetic works and marks out the position that they awarded him in the hierarchy of Russian literature. Furthermore, it enables us to see how his successors have accepted, or rejected, the assessments of their literary forerunners and the extent to which the poet-based model has been subject to Soviet-era manipulation. The precedence given to Bunin’s prose may have obscured his poetry, yet it must be noted that he was the recipient of two Pushkin Prizes: the first awarded in 1902, followed by a second in 1909. In addition, reviews of his work by his fellow poets can be traced in Russian-language criticism from the late 1880s onward. Bunin’s potential as a poet was recognised from his first published collection: ‘this small book [Stikhotvoreniia. 1887–1891 (Poems. 1887–1891)], where just thirty-nine poems are published, gives a complete understanding of his [Bunin’s] talent, that is, that Mr Bunin is undoubtedly a talented poet’.7 As might be expected when subject to the opinions of individuals, Bunin’s poetry did not receive universal praise. Positive assessments of Bunin’s early publications were tempered with assertions, such as those made by Ivan Ivanov, who suggested that Bunin should ‘abandon the occupation of poetry’, and such disparities in opinion were not restricted to Bunin’s early collections.8 In response to the collection Stikhotvoreniia. 1903–1906 (Poems. 1903–1906), Sergei Solov’ev declared ‘calling Bunin a poet should not be permitted. He is a verse-maker, and a bad one at that’.9 These views were balanced by Aleksandr Blok who asserted the necessity of ‘acknowledg[ing Bunin’s] right to one of the chief positions among contemporary Russian poetry’.10 Among those poets who voiced their appreciation of Bunin’s poetic talent, there was no hesitation about which poems most clearly demonstrated the writer’s skill. Bunin’s talent lay in depicting nature and the Russian countryside in his poems.11 In response to the collection Stikhotvoreniia. 1903–1906, Valerii Briusov recognized that ‘the best from [the collection], as before, are the pictures of nature […]. The very weakest are all the verses where Bunin occasionally wants to moralize, or, even worse, to philosophize’.12

In spite of the consensus that Bunin’s poems concerning nature were his best, his reviewers and his contemporaries were challenged to find him a suitable place in the pantheon of Russian literature. As Zinaida Gippius points out, critics of Bunin’s work ‘did not know what to do with him because they wanted “to put him on a certain shelf”’.13 Some considered the fact that he did not follow the trends of the symbolists to be a positive attribute in his poetry. Petr Iakubovich was delighted by Bunin’s collection Pod otkrytym nebom. Stikhotvoreniia (Under the Open Sky. Poems): ‘With great pleasure, we bring to the attention of the readers, this small collection of poems; among the dead desert of all the symbolist rubbish, it can boldly be called, small as it is, a bright oasis’.14 For others, Bunin’s poetry was a relic of the past. Briusov highlights the fact that ‘all the metrical life of Russian verse of the last decade […] has passed Bunin by. His poems (according to their metre) could have been written in the [18]70s and [18]80s’.15 The fact that Bunin acknowledged and corresponded with writers and poets belonging to other literary movements ‘though in substance he was quite alien and even hostile to them’ further complicated the matter for those who were seeking to identify a place for him in the hierarchy of Russian literature.16 This inability to define neatly Bunin’s place in the canon and the positive reaction to his nature poems are two elements that emerge most clearly from the pre-1917 assessments of Bunin’s poetry publications.

Bunin’s decision to emigrate meant that his work became unpublishable in the Soviet Union during his lifetime. After his death, this ban was relaxed, and between 1963 and 1967, a nine-volume Sobranie sochinenii (Collected Works), the introduction to which was written by Aleksandr Tvardovskii, was published in a print run of 210,000 copies.17 In his assessment of Bunin’s work, it is possible to see that the evaluations of earlier critics are reinforced. As commentators before him had observed, Tvardovskii sees ‘the exquisite landscape painting of his native country, and the motifs of village and country-estate life’ as the ‘most viable feature’ of Bunin’s poetry, arguing that readers are ‘less stirred by his poems about the exotic East, antiquity, biblical stories […]’ and he recognizes that the theme of ‘impoverished and neglected “gentlefolk’s nests”, of the melancholy country estates and the wistfulness of autumnal decay’ were ‘by no means a pandering to the literary fashions of the day’.18 However, Tvardovskii also signals to the reader that just because Bunin’s poetry might appear to belong to the past, his contribution to Russia’s literary heritage would be detrimental, and that it would ‘lower […] standards and cultivate a bleak, featureless, language in our poetry and prose’.19

As with his predecessors, it seems that Tvardovskii is keen to find a place in the canon for the poet and suggests that ‘Bunin could not have become the poet he was if he simply followed the classical examples to the letter’, and that ‘it would be wrong to imagine that he did not adopt anything at all from the biggest poets of his day’.20 Furthermore, Tvardovskii draws attention to the fact that ‘the circle of writers and poets whose work is marked by an affinity to Bunin’s aesthetic behests is very wide’, and he even goes as far as to write himself into Bunin’s poetic legacy.21 Arguably, Tvardovskii was more eager to fit Bunin into the canon than pre-revolutionary commentators because Bunin and his work needed to be ‘made safe’ for the Soviet readership; by aligning Bunin with other poets that the leadership considered acceptable, Tvardovskii may have been attempting to make Bunin’s works appear less threatening to the regime.22 The desire to write Bunin into the canon and plot his position in relation to other poets was continued by other Soviet-era commentators. According to Valerii Nefedov, Nikolai Gribachev, Bella Akhmadulina, Valentin Berestov, Andrei Voznesenskii, Konstantin Vanshenkin, Evgenii Vinokurov, Sergei Narovchatov, Lev Ozerov, Evgenii Evtushenko, and Viktor Bokov were all helped by Bunin to ‘find their individual creative writing style’.23 In contrast, in the post-Soviet period, Iurii Azarov points out that ‘it is difficult to compare the literature of different eras […]. Sorokin cannot be compared to Bunin’, and he reiterates the common opinion that Bunin is the ‘last representative of the “Golden Age” of Russian literature’.24

The desire not to disrupt Bunin’s place in the canon as his contemporaries had defined it can be seen in the Soviet-era evaluations of Bunin’s poetry. Tvardovskii’s introduction highlights the way in which the canon promoted by the poet-based model is perpetuated. In order to validate his opinions about Bunin’s poetry, Tvardovskii reiterates the observations made by Bunin’s contemporaries, emphasising the fact that ‘the recognition of [Bunin’s] enormous talent and the importance of his contribution to Russian literature [was] not a present-day discovery’, but was attributable to other writers, including Blok, Briusov, Anton Chekhov, and Maxim Gorkii.25 The assertions made by Bunin’s contemporaries continue to be referenced later in the Soviet period. Oleg Mikhailov highlights Blok’s praise for Bunin’s depictions of nature, and Nefedov relies on Gorkii to provide a reason why Bunin’s poetry should not be omitted from the Russian literary scene.26 The replication of criticism produced by Bunin’s contemporaries has continued since 1991, with works such as Klassik bez retushi: Literaturnyi mir o tvorchestve I. A. Bunina (A Canonical Author Without Retouch: The Literary World on the Creative Work of I. A. Bunin), offering readers a clear picture of what other poets thought of Bunin’s poetry at the time when it was written.27

Arguably, the difficulties associated with where to place Bunin in the canon of Russian poetry have arisen from the fact that he tends to be somewhat forgotten as a poet. As N. G. Melnikov illustrates, this was common, even during Bunin’s lifetime: ‘Bunin, as a poet, was simply forgotten about, and it happened more than once. The names of Blok, [Innokentii] Annenskii, [Nikolai] Gumilev, [Anna] Akhmatova, [Vladislav] Khodasevich, [Osip] Mandelshtam, [Boris] Pasternak, and several others were listed, and no one mentioned Bunin’.28 The somewhat unfair lack of recognition that was afforded Bunin’s poetry did not go unnoticed. Andrew Colin argues that ‘there is no reason to penalize the man because he happened to combine two very rare gifts — that of a first-rate poet with that of a first-class novelist’, and Gleb Struve feels that Bunin’s poetry is ‘an indispensable part of his artistic self-expression; and some of his best verse […] is not inferior in quality to the best of his prose’.29 Bunin himself continually felt the need to reassert his credentials as a poet, and his status as a poet is often reiterated in post-Soviet discussions about him.30

Although it appears to be something of a struggle to find a place for Bunin in the canon of Russian poetry, and the need to remind readers that he was a poet as well as a prose writer persists, it could be argued that without the contributions of Bunin’s contemporaries and the critics and poets that have followed them, it would have been far harder to begin to identify where Bunin fits into the Russian poetry canon. Leaving aside the ideological dimension of the various assessments of Bunin’s work, it is clear that Bunin was highly esteemed by other writers, even though their views on his poetry differed. It is on these arguments that canon formers are constructing the post-Soviet canon of twentieth-century Russian poetry, and it appears that they share the views of their predecessors: Bunin’s poetry is worthy of note. Furthermore, it demonstrates the role that the poet-based model of canon formation plays in the process of establishing Bunin as a canonical figure. However, as noted in the introduction to this chapter, there is some difficulty in drawing a clear distinction between the poet-based model of canon formation and the institutional model. The next section of this chapter will outline the role of the institutional model in the process of canonisation.

In the context of the institutional model, the teaching of a writer or work at school or university level is fundamental to the reinforcement and the reproduction of a canon. Owing to the sheer quantity of texts that were no longer subject to state censorship and the publication of material printed in Russia for the first time, the school curriculum required substantial reworking in the early 1990s. In this instance, Bunin is not a straightforward example. In spite of his status as an émigré writer, some of his works had been available to Soviet readers since the mid-1950s and to Soviet students in the 1970s.31 However, it was not until the first post-Soviet decade that Bunin’s prose and poetry became a more permanent fixture of the school curriculum. In 1997, a number of Bunin’s short stories and poems appeared on the syllabus for grades five to nine, when educational professionals had to teach two or three poems from ten suggested in the curriculum.32 On the syllabus for the upper grades, Bunin’s poetry and prose appeared in the section ‘Literature of the end of the nineteenth century and beginning of the twentieth century’, where five poems were suggested for study.33 However, in 2004, there were substantial revisions to the inclusion of Bunin’s poetry. In grades five to nine, Bunin’s poems were omitted from the curriculum, and just two of his stories were to be studied.34 In the upper grades, at both foundation and profile levels, a number of Bunin’s poems had to be studied, along with a selection of stories.35

Despite the changes to the study of Bunin’s poetry in the curriculum, his verse is included in a number of approved textbooks. At the lower grades, the discussion varies in its depth. The grade five textbook edited by Buneev and Buneeva includes a single poem by Bunin, ‘Zmeia’ (‘Snake’), alongside a number of other single poems by other poets.36 In the grade six textbook, edited by Aleksandr Kutuzov, seven of Bunin’s poems are included. Six comprise part of the chapter titled ‘Journey Three: To the Homeland’ (‘Puteshestvie tret’e, na rodinu’) and the poem ‘Sviatogor i Ilia’ (‘Sviatogor and Ilia’) appears alongside Gumilev’s ‘Zmei’ (‘Dragon’) in the section ‘epic motifs of Russian poetry’.37 By the time students reach grade nine, the textbooks contain far greater contextual detail about the events of the twentieth century and the impact that they had on literature. There is no criticism of Bunin’s emigration; the decision to leave is attributed to the ‘animosity’ that Bunin felt for the Revolution; and in spite of his feelings toward the new regime, Bunin’s love for Russia remained and the sadness which he felt on abandoning the country in 1920 is highlighted.38 Despite the commentary on Bunin’s life in emigration, there is no sense that his works should be read any differently from those penned by writers who remained in Russia after 1917: ‘within the country Soviet literature was created; beyond Russia’s borders was the literature of the abroad. […] But the main thing not to forget is this non-unified sea of works carried the name of Russian literature’.39 Indeed, according to the textbooks, the position that Bunin holds in twentieth-century Russian literature is that of the ‘last Russian classic’.40 Beyond grade nine, the study of Russian literature is no longer compulsory. In the textbooks for those pupils who choose to continue studying literature, Bunin’s poetry is, in many instances, included by the editors.41 Unsurprisingly, the level of contextual material that accompanies Bunin’s prose and poetry in the textbooks for pupils in grade eleven is far more detailed than it is at the lower grades. It is also interesting to note that there is emphasis on the fact that Bunin ‘proved himself equally brilliant as a prose writer, a poet, and a translator’, publishing his lyrics and prose in the same collections.42

In several textbooks, the promotion of Bunin as a canonical writer is supported by the use of critical assessments by scholars and by other authors. Just as Tvardovskii did in his introduction ‘O Bunine’ (‘About Bunin’), Gennadii Belenkii draws upon comments made by Bunin’s contemporaries, thus he quotes Blok’s assertion that ‘the wholeness and simplicity of the verses and Bunin’s outlook so valuable and unique that we have to […] acknowledge his right to one of the chief positions in contemporary Russian poetry’.43 Furthermore, by quoting from Tvardovskii’s introduction, Belenkii contributes to the process of canonising what Tvardovskii has said about Bunin: ‘Bunin could not have become that which he became in poetry if he had only followed classical examples. And it is not correct, when it is said that his poems were one-dimensional and monotonous […]’.44 This further illustrates the challenge in distinguishing the boundaries between the institutional model of canon formation, and the poet-based process of canonisation. Clearly, the institutional model of canon formation draws upon the assessments of the poet-based model for validation thus revealing how the ideas promoted by individual writers are perpetuated.

It is interesting to note that the critical work included in Belenkii’s textbook is all dated prior to 1991, which raises the question: does the inclusion of this material represent some sort of reconciliation with past assessments of Bunin’s work, or is it simply a reflection of a lack of post-Soviet material about Bunin? Given that this particular textbook was published in the mid-to-late-1990s, it is not unreasonable to suppose that new works about Bunin were not widely accessible, especially given the declining print runs of the 1990s. However, continued recognition of Soviet-era criticism might suggest a form of compromise, whereby contemporary critics and textbook editors accept the limitations of works produced prior to 1991, and take from them sections that remain relevant, while rejecting those parts that no longer apply.45 It might also suggest that post-Soviet editors are aware of the ways in which literary hierarchies develop and recognise that comments made by Bunin’s contemporaries were reiterated by Soviet-era critics, who may themselves have been endeavouring to perpetuate a canon that was not distorted by ideology.

Mike Fleming points out that there are at least two reasons why a writer appears on the school curriculum.46 In the first instance, there are the ‘traditional criteria for forming the canon [that] have primarily been associated with notions of quality, selection of those texts or authors which are considered “the best”’.47 Secondly, Fleming suggests that ‘other related criteria were to do with selecting texts thought to be representative of a particular period, style or genre or those which have had an impact on culture historically and those which are thought to have a particular national significance’.48 Arguably, Bunin’s inclusion in the curriculum has more to do with Fleming’s second point about representation than it has to do with his comments about quality. Bunin fills a gap that might otherwise be empty at the beginning of the twentieth century. His works demonstrate a link between the poetry and prose of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, following the traditions established by nineteenth-century writers, such as Aleksandr Pushkin, Mikhail Lermontov and Fedor Tiutchev.49 Instead of following the ‘aesthetic views and creative practices’ of poets, such as Briusov and Blok, Bunin chose to ‘put up an impenetrable wall against all fads and fashions […]’, thus, the inclusion of his poetry provides an alternative to the experimentation that was taking place in literature at the beginning of the 1900s.50 By selecting Bunin to represent the writers of the Russian emigration, his works help to fulfil the post-Soviet desire to bring together literature’s different pasts and to overcome the division between émigré and Soviet literature.51 The fact that he lived for an extended period outside Russia and continued to write in emigration provides an example of how Russian literature survived in exile. In addition, his rejection of Nazism and alleged contemplation of a return to the Soviet Union in the post-war period were no doubt in his favour when textbook and curriculum compilers came to evaluate which writer should represent the émigré community of the first wave.52 In terms of being of ‘particular national significance’, Bunin was a prizewinner within pre-revolutionary Russia and internationally, when he became Russia’s first Nobel Prize winner for Literature in 1933.53 In spite of the Soviet-era condemnation of this award, a post-Soviet reconciliation with the honour appears to have taken place, demonstrated by the frequency with which Bunin’s victory in this competition is mentioned. Whatever the reasons for Bunin’s inclusion in the school and university curricula, it is quite clear that the state and those responsible for education at all levels view him as a canonical writer, whose works, both prose and poetry, should be studied by younger generations.

The notion that Bunin’s work should be considered part of a canon of Russian literature is further supported by the recognition that he received from elsewhere within the institutional model of canon formation. Although the spheres of influence of literary prizes, institutions of higher education, and publishers might be considered more limited than the school curriculum, each of these three components of the institutional model has a significant role to play in canon formation. The award of the Nobel Prize for Literature no doubt helped to reinforce any claim that Bunin might have had to a position in a canon of Russian literature. After all, as Horace Engdahl points out, ‘the Nobel laureates have inevitably come to be seen as forming a kind of canon’.54 Bunin’s works came to be ‘regarded as belonging to an elite order and ranked accordingly’; he ‘no longer risked being forgotten’.55 Although Bunin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature for ‘the strict artistry with which he […] carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing’, it should be noted that his prose was widely recognized as having poetic elements, thus it could be argued that his prose would not have been so distinctive, and worthy of acclaim, if it had not been for his earlier poetry.56

In the awarding of prizes there seems to be something of a blurring between the institutional model of canon formation and the poet-based model. In the case of the Nobel Prize for Literature, once a writer has been awarded the accolade of Nobel Laureate, he or she is entitled to nominate other writers for future awards, yet the award is made by an institution. The awarding of literary prizes in the honour of a particular writer also distorts the boundaries of the canon-forming process. For example, in the case of the Ivan Bunin Literary Prize, founded in 2004, the awarding institutions seek to establish a winner in the contest for ‘the revival of the best traditions of [Russian] literature’.57 The institutions awarding the prize include Moskovskii gumanitarnyi universitet (the Moscow University for the Humanities), Obshchestvo liubitelei rossiiskoi slovesnosti (The Society of Lovers of Russian Literature), Natsionalnaia institut biznesa (The National Institute of Business), Natsionalnyi soiuz negosudarstvennykh vuzov’ (The National Union of Non-State Universities) and Institut sovremennogo iskusstva (The Institute of Contemporary Art), which clearly involves academic establishments as well as those that might include writers or poets.58 In 2007, the committee awarding the Bunin Literary Prize decided that, because ‘Bunin considered himself foremost to be a poet’, the prize should be awarded to a writer whose achievements lay in the sphere of poetry, thereby perpetuating a particular aspect of Bunin’s work.59 Once again, the institutional model of canon formation draws on the poet-based model. While the use of literary prizes as a means of perpetuating a canon might be viewed as belonging to the institutional model of canonisation, the process followed in order to make such awards relies, at least in part, on the traditions of the poet-based model, whereby the assessment of, or a link to an individual writer, helps to shape the canon.

Although the role that universities play in shaping the canon might initially appear to be less influential than that of the school curriculum or literary prizes, on closer examination it is clear that such institutions contribute much to the development of the canon. A number of academic conferences have been held as part of commemorative events dedicated to Bunin and his work: a conference in 2010 was held to commemorate the 140th anniversary of Bunin’s birth, and followed earlier conferences; marking Bunin’s 125th and 135th anniversaries, and another celebrating 75 years since Bunin was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The occurrence of several Bunin conferences over a number of years demonstrates that there is continued scholarly interest in his work, and that he therefore has a legitimate claim to a place in the canon of Russian poetry.60 Of course, the reach of such academic conferences is likely to be somewhat restricted, but the work at these gatherings is relevant to the process of canon formation on a wider scale because it contributes to other areas of the university’s remit that have wider public influence. The activities of the centre ‘Buninskaia Rossiia’ (‘Bunin’s Russia’), established in 2010 at the I. A. Bunin Elets State University, exemplify the multifaceted role that institutions play in shaping the canon. In addition to the 2010 conference, the ‘Bunin‘s Russia’ was also involved developing a cultural programme.61 While the academic study of a writer’s works might be the point at which canon formation starts and the validation of a writer’s place in the canon begins, it is the way in which this research is more widely disseminated that really demonstrates the role that universities play in the institutional model of canon formation. Indeed, the aims of the ‘Bunin’s Russia’ to ‘organiz[e] and coordinat[e] academic research and cultural enlightenment linked to the study of the creative legacy of I. A. Bunin, and other writers, academics and public figures from the region’, perfectly encapsulate how academic establishments operate within the institutional model of canon formation and how they seek to shape the canon using a variety of methods.62

The contributions of academics to events, such as those designed to commemorate the various anniversaries of Bunin’s birth, help to generate interest in Bunin among non-specialists, which is particularly important in relation to the somewhat more commercial aspect of the institutional model of canon formation, that is, to publishers. The role that publishers play in terms of canon formation is further complicated because it is hard to identify whether publishers are responding to a demand from readers for a particular writer, or whether the publishing industry is choosing to make a particular writer more readily available. Bunin’s poetry has been published throughout the 1990s and 2000s, though not as extensively as some of his prose works. The differences in print run since the mid-1980s are substantial, but unsurprising. In 1985, a collection of Bunin’s poems was published in a print run of 500,000 copies, by 1990, this had dropped to 400,000 copies. In 1999, this figure had dropped to a mere 7000 copies, and by 2007, a collection of Bunin’s poetry was published in just 5000 copies.63 Although such a figure may appear very low when compared with the print runs of the late Soviet period, the average print run for a book in 2012 was 4624 copies.64 Of course, the number of copies printed does not equate to popularity, neither does it guarantee that the material is read. However, in the post-Soviet period it is possible to assert that the figures for the print run do indicate the relative popularity of an author, not least because publishers want to make money, and achieve maximum sales figures. Publishers are also more readily able to reprint any texts that sell better than expected, ensuring a rapid response to reader demand.

The relative popularity of Bunin’s poetry can also be measured by the inclusion of his works in poetry anthologies. In 1994, Bunin’s work was included in the section ‘Vne grupp’ (‘No affiliation’) in Serebrianyi vek russkoi poezii (The Silver Age of Russian Poetry), with the poet Marina Tsvetaeva.65 Bunin’s poems feature in Strofy veka. Antologiia russkoi poezii (Stanza of the Century: An Anthology of Russian Poetry); in Russkaia poeziia. XX vek. Antologiia (Russian Poetry. Twentieth Century. An Anthology); and more recently, in Russkie stikhi 1950–2000 godov. Antologiia (pervoe priblizhenie) (Russian Poetry of the 1950s–2000s. An Anthology (The First Approximation)).66 However, the number of Bunin’s poems included in each of these anthologies has varied. In Strofy veka, nine of Bunin’s poems are included, whereas twenty-three appear in Russkaia poeziia. XX vek. Antologiia. In contrast, Bunin is represented in Russkie stikhi 1950–2000 godov by ‘his twelve-line poem “Night” (Noch) and occupies one page’, while other Nobel Laureates, Pasternak and Iosif Brodskii, are given seven and ten pages respectively.67 Once again, when it comes to the compilation of anthologies, a blurring of the boundaries between the poet-based and institutional models of canon formation occurs. In instances where an anthology has been compiled by a poet, literary hierarchies are clearly at work. While the compiler’s agenda might not be immediately obvious, the decision to include one poet over another, or the relative space allotted to each poet may give the reader an understanding of the compiler’s personal view of poetry and poets within the hierarchy of Russian literature. Of course, this assumes that the poet-compiler (or the academic-compiler) has enjoyed the freedom to create the anthology as he or she sees fit. In reality, there may be greater input from the publisher, who might have an understanding of which poets a reader likes and who he or she expects to be included in an anthology dedicated to a particular era or subject.

In addition to the views of individuals and the actions of institutions, Bunin’s place in the canon is supported by extra-literary material and events, i.e. by the ‘Bunin institution’, including museums and statues, commemorations of his life, and articles about Bunin that appear in the current press.68 Bunin’s establishment in the wider canon of Russian literature has been reflected in material printed in newspapers. It is possible to categorize the articles into three groups: articles which inform the reader of some anniversary and/or event commemorating Bunin’s life; articles that use Bunin or his work as the starting point to discuss a topic that is not directly associated with the poet or his publications; and finally, articles that appeal to the general interest of readers.69 Articles, such as ‘Otkrylas’ vystavka, posviashchennaia 140-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia Ivana Bunina’ (‘The Opening of an Exhibition Dedicated to Ivan Bunin’s 140th Anniversary’), ‘Buninskie iabloki’ (‘Bunin’s Apples’), and ‘Gospodin iz Efremova: BUNIN 140’ (‘The Gentleman from Efremov: Bunin is 140’), simply detail events linked with the 140th anniversary of Bunin’s birth.70

For some writers, Bunin’s works provide a source from which they can explore other newsworthy stories. Vladislav Korneichuk’s article about reading in the provinces of Russia provides one such example.71 His article ‘Kniga v provintsii i ee chitateli’ (‘Books in Russian Provinces and their Readers’) is about the announcement made by the Federalnoe agenstvo po pechati i massovym kommunikatsiiam (Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications) about the adoption of a national programme of reading, but he bases his investigation into what is being read and how it differs from the Soviet period in Elets, Bunin’s hometown. An article such as this, or those which mention events commemorating Bunin, serve his canonical status in an interesting way — they reinforce his biography in the mind of the reader, reminding him or her about Bunin: who he was, what he wrote, and his key achievements. In contrast, an article written by Sergei Baimukhametov does little to reinforce Bunin’s biography and instead relies upon the reader’s knowledge of Bunin and his works to understand the main points raised in the article.72 Writing in 2000, Baimukhametov acknowledges the tenth anniversary of the first publication in the Soviet Union of Bunin’s Okaiannye dni (Cursed Days) and uses it to discuss the responsibility that the Russian aristocracy should have taken for the 1917 Revolution.73 Arguably, such an article demonstrates just how strong Bunin’s place in literature already is. Baimukhametov relies on readers to understand the reference to Bunin’s Okaiannye dni in the title of the article ‘Ekho okaiannykh stoletii’ (‘The Echo of Cursed Centuries’), and to see how it relates to the argument he is presenting.74 Tatiana Marchenko’s article details the Russian writers nominated for the Nobel Prize between 1914 and 1937, and why, in most cases, they did not win.75 The focus of the article is not Bunin, but the Nobel Prize and the Russian nominees prior to World War Two, yet Bunin’s victory no doubt provides the impetus for the article and offers the reader interesting details about the selection process for the prize, as well as identifying other Russian writers who could have been the first Russian winner.

Of those articles that are of interest to the general reader and focus primarily on Bunin and his life or work, that by Sergei Fediakin marks the 130th anniversary of the writer’s birth and discusses a selection of reviews of Bunin’s work from the 1920s and 1930s.76 Veronika Chernysheva’s article also looks back at the different reactions that Bunin’s contemporaries had towards him.77 In these two articles, the reader is shown that Bunin commented on other writers and their work, and was reviewed himself. Just as others involved in the formation of the canon draw upon the comments of Bunin’s contemporaries, so too do journalists, further reinforcing the significance of the poet-based model in shaping and perpetuating a particular canon. Yet, it is interesting to note that both of these articles present a relatively balanced view of Bunin, allowing the reader to choose which of the poets’ arguments they would rather follow. In contrast to these articles which draw on comments made by other authors to deliver a particular picture of Bunin, the article ‘Buninskie mesta’ (‘Bunin’s Places’) details journalist Vasilii Peskov’s trip to various villages where Bunin spent his formative years and discusses the efforts that those living in these places are making in order to ensure that Bunin and his connection with these towns is not forgotten.78 The personal element of recounting a relationship with Bunin and his work also comes through in ‘Moi Bunin’ (‘My Bunin’), which details how Mikhailov’s interest in Bunin arose and how this influenced his future research.79 Mikhailov concludes by saying that he ‘always strove to write books about Bunin not as a “dry herbarium” directed at a small group of specialists, but for a wide readership’, demonstrating his passion for Bunin’s texts and reinforcing the sense that they should be read.80 Perhaps the more personal element of these stories encourages readers to see Bunin not as inaccessible, as the ‘last of the Russian classics’, writing about a time far removed from contemporary Russia, but as a writer whose work remains relevant and enjoyable in the twenty-first century.

The discussion of Bunin in newspaper articles suggests that, to a part of society, he has become a relatively well-known figure. However, Bunin is not recognizable only to those who read the paper. In 2008, viewers of the television programme Imia Rossiia [sic] (The Name: Russia) voted Bunin among the top fifty most notable Russian personalities.81 From an initial list of 500 names, Bunin scored more than 76,000 votes.82 However, the question must be asked: does selection from a list of 500 names mean that Bunin is finally established in the canon, or does it mean that his name is simply familiar to people who may or may not be interested in his work? It is possible that films of Bunin’s life, such as Dnevnik ego zheny (The Diary of His Wife) and the documentary Okaiannye dni. Ivan Bunin (Cursed Days. Ivan Bunin), went some way to raising his profile with screen audiences who later voted in the Imia Rossiia [sic] poll.83 Any commentary that covered the seventy-fifth anniversary of Bunin’s Nobel Prize victory might also have reminded viewers of his relevance to the history of Russian literature.

The relative success of Bunin in a televised poll suggests that the activities of the ‘Bunin institution’, along with the various canon-forming models, to secure him a place in the minds of the public, have been effective. But to what extent can Bunin’s place in the canon of post-Soviet Russian poetry be attributed solely to the processes of canon formation discussed in this chapter? Although the institutional model of canon formation appears to hold the widest influence over Bunin’s place in the canon of post-Soviet Russian poetry, it is clear that the comments made by other poets play a fundamental role in Bunin’s canonisation. The function of the Bunin Institution has also changed. In the first instance, it appeared to operate as a means of canonising Bunin, of highlighting him as a poet whose work was worth noting. Over time, this role has evolved into one of maintenance, ensuring that Bunin does not lose his position in the literary hierarchy. In addition, the more the canonisation of Bunin has to do with the events of his life and less to do with the works that he wrote, the more complex the discussions become.84 It is hard to deny that the various canon-forming models play a significant part in the canonisation of Bunin, yet it seems that other factors are relevant. Was it simply that the time at which Bunin was living and the circumstances of his life make him relatively unique, and thus his inclusion in the canon has been by default rather than by selection? If such an assertion, which ignores his literary output, were true, it would be unlikely that Bunin’s works would have retained a place in the canon of twentieth-century Russian poetry. For many, Bunin fills something of a gap at the end of the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth centuries; he occupies a niche as the unrivalled ‘last of the Russian classics’. His refusal to follow the literary trends of his contemporaries sets him apart and this is clearly one of the reasons why he is included in the school textbooks. Furthermore, he has been constructed as a representative of the first wave of the emigration. In the search for reconciliation between ‘returned’ literature and that written within the Soviet Union, Bunin represents a certain aspect of Russian literary history that post-Soviet academics and critics are trying to renegotiate. The fact that he was sympathetic toward the Soviet cause during World War Two and allegedly considered returning to the Soviet Union may have strengthened his position as the chosen representative of this first wave of Russian émigré literature. However, in this instance, as Azarov points out ‘Bunin is of course considered the “first” Russian émigré writer, but here we could also name a few others who were no less significant to Russian culture: Alexander Kuprin, Dmitrii Merezhkovskii, Boris Zaitsev, Ivan Shmelev…’.85 Arguably, all of these factors have also contributed to his canonisation. Clearly, the processes of canon formation are complicated and there can be little doubt that other factors have an influence on those responsible for forming the canon, as well as those who perpetuate it. It seems impossible to attribute successful establishment in the canon to just one process, and while the works of the writer are significant, they cannot be considered in isolation from the writer’s life and the point in time in which he or she lived, nor indeed, from the lives of those responsible for (re)evaluating literary works included in the canon.

1 My thanks go to my colleague, Julia Kostyuk, for her suggested improvements to some of the Russian translations in this chapter. I am also grateful to the editors for their comments and feedback on this chapter.

2 Alan Golding, From Outlaw to Classic: Canons in American Poetry (Madison: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1995), p. 41. Golding suggests that the institutional model of canon formation is shaped by ‘teacher-critics, […] anthologies, the publishing industry […], grant-giving agencies, and the structuring of [literary] studies according to “field”’. In contrast, the poet-based model ‘holds that poetic canons are mainly the creation of poets themselves’. He goes on to argue that a synthesis of these models is ‘the most useful’ in the context of American poetry; such a model seems also appropriate in exploring the canonisation of Bunin’s poetry.

3 Paul Lauter, Canons and Contexts (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991), p. ix.

4 Ibid., p. 261.

5 Ludmila Koehler, ‘New Trends in Soviet Literary Criticism’, Russian Review, 27 (1968), 54–67 (p. 54).

6 Peter Yershov, ‘Soviet National Literature in the New Soviet Encyclopedia’, American Slavic and East European Review, 13 (1954), 89–99 (p. 93). Yershov details changes to the entry about Bunin in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia.

7 Vladimir Lebedev, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia. 1887–1891 gg. Orel, 1891’, in Klassik bez retushi: Literaturnyi mir o tvorchestve I. A. Bunina, edited by N. Melnikov (Moscow: Knizhnitsa and Russkii put, 2010), p. 26 (first published in Sever, 9 (1892), 495).

8 Ivan Ivanov, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia. 1887–1891 gg. Orel, 1891’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 24–25 (p. 25) (first published in Artist, 20 (1892), 106).

9 Sergei Solovev, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia 1903–1906 gg. (Sochineniia. T. 3). SPb.: Znanie, 1906’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 92–93 (p. 92) (first published in Zolotoe runo, 1 (1907), 89).

10 Aleksandr Blok, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia 1903–1906 gg. (Sochineniia. T. 3). SPb.: Znanie, 1906’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 95–98 (pp. 95–96) (first published in Zolotoe runo, 6 (1907), 45–47).

11 See Apollon Korinfskii, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia. 1887–1891 gg. Orel, 1891’, in Klassik bez retushi, p. 25 (first published in Vsemirnaia illiustratsiia, 47 (1892), 402–03); Vasilii Korablev, ‘Rets.: Listopad. Stikhotvoreniia. M.: Skorpion, 1901’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 50–52 (first published in Literaturnyi vestnik, 2 (1901), 32–34). Korinfskii (p. 25) contends: ‘[Bunin] knows nature, in nature he senses life. In his poems nature is represented strikingly, colourfully, bewitching with its charm’. Korablev (p. 50) highlights the fact that Bunin’s work is ‘dedicated to the description of spring, autumn, and winter, of day and night, of the steppe, the sea and the river, the moon and the nightingale […]’.

12 Valerii Briusov, ‘Rets.: Stikhotvoreniia 1903–1906 gg. (Sochineniia. T. 3). SPb.: Znanie, 1906’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 91–92 (p. 91) (first published in Vesy, 1 (1907), 71–72).

13 Gippius’s comment attributed by Temira Pachmuss, ‘Ivan Bunin through the Eyes of Zinaida Gippius’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 44 (1966), 337–50 (p. 340).

14 Petr Iakubovich, ‘Rets.: Pod otkrytym nebom. Stikhotvoreniia. M.: Izd. zhurnala “Detskoe chtenie”, 1898’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 45–46 (p. 45) (first published in Russkoe bogatstvo, 12 (1898), 46–47).

15 Briusov, pp. 91–92 (p. 92).

16 Gleb Struve, ‘The Art of Ivan Bunin’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 11 (1933), 423–36 (p. 424).

17 Aleksandr Tvardovskii, ‘About Bunin’, in Stories and Poems by Ivan Bunin, translated by Olga Shartse (stories and poems) and Irina Zheleznova (poems) (Moscow: Progress, 1979), pp. 9–29 (p. 9). The dates and print run of Ivan Bunin’s nine-volume Collected Works are included as a note to Tvardovskii’s introduction.

18 Ibid., p. 28, p. 12.

19 Ibid., p. 29.

20 Ibid., p. 28.

21 Ibid., p. 11.

22 Golding (p. 36) suggests that ‘when a textbook anthology […] canonizes poetic outsiders, […] it renders their work culturally and intellectually harmless’. By allocating Bunin a place among acceptable writers, it appears that Tvardovskii is achieving the same ends as those compiling anthologies.

23 Valerii Nefedov, Poeziia Ivana Bunina: Etiudy (Minsk: Vysheishaia shkola, 1975), p. 132. See also Oleg Mikhailov, I. A. Bunin. Ocherk tvorchestva (Moscow: Nauka, 1967). In contrast to Nefedov, Mikhailov (pp. 4–5) suggests that ‘Bunin completes the whole page in the development of Russian culture, although according to his social inclinations, he himself does not have successors’.

24 Iurii Azarov, ‘Polnoe sobranie sochinenii Bunina nuzhno podgotovit′ k ego 150-letiiu’, Russkii mir (22 October 2010), para. 13,

25 Tvardovskii, p. 10. Tvardovskii points out that Bunin was held in great esteem by Blok and Briusov, by Chekhov, ‘who spoke very favourably’ of him, and by Gorkii, who ‘acclaimed Bunin’s talent in the most lavish terms ever applied to him’.

26 Mikhailov, I. A. Bunin, p. 65; Nefedov, p. 131.

27 Melnikov, Klassik bez retushi, 2010.

28 Georgii Adamovich’s comments attributed by N. Melnikov, ‘Vvedenie — Izbrannye stikhi 1929’, in Klassik bez retushi, pp. 333–39 (p. 333).

29 Andrew Guershoon Colin, ‘Ivan Bunin in Retrospect’, The Slavonic and East European Review, 34 (1955), 156–73 (pp. 167–68); Gleb Struve, pp. 423–36 (p. 423).

30 Nikita Struve’s comment attributed by A. V.: ‘In his soul, he was a poet, and not a novelist’. A. V., ‘Novaia shkola — novye traditsii’, Nezavisimaia gazeta (13 September 2001), para. 1,; Vasilii Peskov, ‘Buninskie mesta’, Komsomolskaia Pravda (25 October 2002), para. 31,; Liza Novikova, ‘Poeticheskoe stolpotvorenie. Ob′′iavleny pretendenty na Buninskuiu premiiu’, Kommersant (7 August 2007), para. 1,

31 N. N. Shneidman, Literature and Ideology in Soviet Education (Toronto: Lexington Books. D. C. Heath & Co., 1973), p. 77, p. 95. Shneidman notes that Bunin’s poem ‘Gustoi zelenyi elnik u dorogi’ is included for independent reading at grade four, and ‘Gospodin iz San Frantsisko’, various poems, and ‘Pesn o Gaiavate’ are included at grades eight to ten for home reading.

32 Ministerstvo obshchego i professional’nogo obrazovaniia RF, ‘Ob obiazatel′nom minimume soderzhaniia obrazovatel′nykh programm osnovnoi obshcheobrazovatel′noi shkoly’ (18 July 1997), section titled ‘Iz literatury XX veka’, Children in grades five to nine of school are aged between ten and fifteen.

33 Ministerstvo obrazovaniia RF, ‘Obiazatel′nyi minimum soderzhaniia srednego (polnogo) obshchego obrazovaniia’ (30 June 1999), section titled ‘Iz literatury kontsa XIX–nachala XX v.’,

34 Ministerstvo obrazovaniia Rossiiskoi Federatsii, ‘Standart osnovnogo obshchego obrazovaniia po literature’, Federal′nyi komponent gosudarstvennogo standarta obshchego obrazovaniia. Chast′ I. Nachal’noe obshchee obrazovanie. Osnovnoe obshchee obrazovanie (2004), section titled ‘Russkaia literatura XX veka’, The documents can be downloaded from Edinoe okno dostupa k informatsionnym resursam,

35 Ministerstvo obrazovaniia Rossiiskoi Federatsii, ‘Standart srednego (polnogo) obshchego obrazovaniia po literature. Bazovyi uroven′’, Federal′nyi komponent gosudarstvennogo standarta obshchego obrazovaniia. Chast′ I. Nachal’noe obshchee obrazovanie. Osnovnoe obshchee obrazovanie (2004), section titled ‘Russkaia literatura XX veka’, Ministerstvo obrazovaniia Rossiiskoi Federatsii, ‘Standart srednego (polnogo) obshchego obrazovaniia po literature. Profil′nyi uroven′’, Federal′nyi komponent gosudarstvennogo standarta obshchego obrazovaniia. Chast′ I. Nachal’noe obshchee obrazovanie. Osnovnoe obshchee obrazovanie (2004), section titled ‘Russkaia literatura XX veka’, The documents can be downloaded from Edinoe okno dostupa k informatsionnym resursam, Taking a subject at ‘profile level’ in the final two years of secondary education indicates specialisation in particular subjects which are studied in greater depth; other subjects which pupils must follow, but in which they have not chosen to specialise, are taken at ‘foundation level’.

36 Rustem Buneev and Ekaterina Buneeva, Shag za gorizont. Uchebnik-khrestomatiia po literature. 5 klass. Kniga 2, 2 vols. (Moscow: Balass, 1998), II, 306–15; Buneev and Buneeva, Shag za gorizont. Uchebnik-khrestomatiia po literature. 5 klass. Kniga 2, 2 vols. (Moscow: Balass, 2004), II, 210–17.

37 V mire literatury. 6 klass, edited by Aleksandr Kutuzov (Moscow: Drofa, 1996), pp. 72–77, pp. 192–93; V mire literatury. 6 klass, edited by Kutuzov (Moscow: Drofa, 2005), pp. 87–92, p. 222.

38 Literatura. Uchebnoe izdanie. 9 klass, edited by Tamara Kurdiumova (Moscow: Drofa, 1998), p. 315; Literatura. Russkaia klassika (izbrannye stranitsy). 9 klass. Uchebnik-praktikum dlia obshcheobrazovatelnykh uchrezhdenii, edited by Gennadii Belenkii (Moscow: Mnemozina, 1997), p. 278; Buneev and Buneeva, Istoriia tvoei literatury, Uchebnik-khrestomatiia po literature. 9 klass. Kniga 2, 2 vols. (Moscow: Balass, 2005), II, 169. Belenkii points out that ‘even at the very beginning of his emigration, [Bunin] expressed his longing for his paternal home’, p. 278, a sentiment echoed by Buneev and Buneeva, who emphasize that ‘during his entire life, Russia was [Bunin’s] greatest and fondest love’, p. 169.

39 Literatura, edited by Kurdiumova, p. 313.

40 Literatura. Russkaia klassika, edited by Belenkii, p. 279.

41 A. V. Barannikov, Russkaia literatura XX veka. 11 klass. Khrestomatiia. Chast I., 2 vols. (Moscow: Prosveshchenie, 1997), I, 8–10; Iulii Lyssyi, Russkaia literatura XX veka. 11 klass. Praktikum (Moscow: Mnemozina, 1998), pp. 6–33; Sergei Zinin and Viktor Chalmaev, Literatura XX veka. Khrestomatiia. 11 klass. Chast I, 2 vols. (Moscow: Russkoe slovo, 2005), I, 5–11.

42 Vladimir Agenosov, Russkaia Literatura XX veka. 11 klass. Chast I, 2 vols. (Moscow: Drofa, 1996), I, 167; Lyssyi, p. 12.

43 Literatura. Russkaia klassika, edited by Belenkii, p. 280. See also Literatura, edited by Kurdiumova, p. 315. Kurdiumova draws upon Tolstoi’s words to exemplify the point that Bunin’s contemporaries admired his work.

44 Literatura. Russkaia klassika, edited by Belen’kii, p. 281. (The translation of Tvardovskii’s quotation here is mine, rather than that of Shartse and Zheleznova (1979)).

45 This rejection of Soviet-era assessments of Bunin’s work can be seen in Literatura, edited by Kurdiumova, p. 315, when it is stated that ‘abroad, the work of the writer did not lose its brilliance or its unbreakable connection with the Motherland. In emigration Bunin remained one of the most remarkable and brilliant of Russian writers’, which is in direct contrast with Tvardovskii’s suggestion that Bunin’s emigration caused ‘the premature and inevitable depreciation of his creative strength’ (pp. 11–12).

46 Mike Fleming, ‘The Literary Canon: Implications for the Teaching of Language as Subject’, in Text, literature and ‘Bildung’, edited by Irene Pieper (Strasbourg: Council of Europe, 2007), pp. 31–38, (p. 33).

47 Ibid., p. 33.

48 Ibid.

49 Tvardovskii, p. 28. The suitability of Bunin’s poems for children, the particular time in which he was writing, and the literary traditions that he sought to follow might also mean that he is used by those interested in the agenda of cultural elitism and the desire to promote pre-revolutionary values. My thanks go to the editors of this chapter for highlighting this point.

50 Tvardovskii, p. 10, p. 28.

51 My thanks go to the editors of this chapter for highlighting this point.

52 Sergei Shapoval, ‘Otdushina dlia politika’, Nezavisimaia gazeta (14 February 2003), para. 9 of 16, It has been suggested that, when it comes to the inclusion of Bunin in poetry anthologies intended for a wider audience, Bunin’s support of the Soviet Union during World War Two and his ‘brilliant review’ of Tvardovskii’s ‘Vasilii Terkin’ are reasons to include him.

53 Fleming, p. 33.

54 Horace Engdahl, ‘The Nobel Prize: Dawn of a New Canon?’ (2008), p. 1.

55 Ibid.

56 ‘The Nobel Prize in Literature 1933: Ivan Bunin’,, [n.d.], Tvardovskii (p. 27) suggests that Bunin’s writing had a ‘clearly pronounced individuality’ and ‘musical organisation’. He argues that ‘the music of [Bunin’s] prose cannot be mistaken for any other writer’s’ and that one possible reason he was able to achieve such a ‘distinct rhythmical identity’ was because ‘he wrote poems all his life’. Tvardovskii (pp. 27–28) goes on to cite Bunin, who asserted that ‘prose writing should adopt the musicalness and pliancy of poetry’ and points out that Bunin had his poetry and short stories published together in his collections in order to ‘emphasize the fundamental unity of poetry and prose’.

57 ‘V stolitse vruchili literaturnuiu premiiu imeni Ivana Bunina’, (24 October 2005), para. 3,

58 Aleksandr Alekseev, ‘350 tysiach rublei za talant: Ezhegodnaia Buninskaia premiia smenila format’, Rossiiskaia gazeta, 15 April 2008, para. 7,

59 Igor Ilinskii, ‘I. A. Bunin i sovremennaia poeziia: Press-konferentsiia, posviashchennaia ob′′iavleniiu konkursa Buninskoi premii 2007 goda’ (2007), para. 5,

60 I. A. Bunin i XXI vek: materialy mezhdunarodnoi nauchnoi konferentsii, posviashchennoi 140-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia pisatelia, edited by E. Atamanova, N. V. Borisova, A. M. Podoksenov (Elets: Eletskii gosudarstvennyi universitet im. I. A. Bunina, 2011); I. A. Bunin i russkii mir: materialy Vserossiiskoi nauchnoi konferentsii, posviashchennoi 75-letiiu prisuzhdeniia Nobelevskoi premii pisateliu, edited by Elena Atamanova et al. (Elets: Eletskii gosudarstvennyi universitet im. I. A. Bunina, 2009); Ivan Bunin: Filologicheskii diskurs: Kollektivnaia monografiia k 135-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia I. A. Bunina, edited by E. Atamonova (Elets: Eletskii gosudarstvennyi universitet im. I. A. Bunina, 2005); I. A. Bunin i russkaia literatura XX veka: Po materialam mezhdunarodnoi konferentsii, posviashchennoi 125-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia I. A. Bunina (Moscow: Nasledie, 1995).

61 Nauchnyi tsentr ‘Buninskaia Rossiia’, ‘Itogi deiatelnosti nauchnogo tsentra “Buninskaia Rossiia” v 2010 godu’, Buninskii tsentr (2010), p. 1, p. 13, The painting exhibition later moved to Moscow, see ‘“Khudozhniki-Buninu”. Raboty sovremennykh khodozhnikov’, Muzei Rossii (2011),

62 Natalia Borisova, ‘Buninskii tsentr’, Eletskii gosudarstvennyi universitet im. I. A. Bunina, [n.d.], para. 2,

63 For examples of print runs, see I. A. Bunin, Stikhotvoreniia (Moscow: Khudozhestvennaia literatura, 1985),; I. A. Bunin, Stikhotvoreniia (Moscow: Molodaia gvardiia, 1990),; I. A. Bunin, Stikhotvoreniia. Perevody (Moscow: Olma-Press, 1999),; I. A. Bunin, Stikhotvoreniia (Moscow: Profizdat, 2007),

64 ‘Uglubliaiushchiisia krizis: knigoizdanie Rossii v 2012 godu’, Rossiiskaia knizhnaia palata, [n.d.], p. 2, (see file titled knigi_2012 in zip folder).

65 Serebrianyi vek russkoi poezii, edited by K. F. Nesterova (Moscow: IMA-Kross, 1994), pp. 419–27.

66 Strofy veka. Antologiia russkoi poezii, edited by Evgenii Evtushenko (Minsk and Moscow: Polifakt, 1997), pp. 46–53; Russkaia poeziia. XX vek. Antologiia, edited by Sergei Fediakin et al. (Moscow: OLMA Press, 1999), pp. 48–52; Russkie stikhi 1950–2000 godov. Antologiia (pervoe priblizhenie), edited by I. Akhmetev et al. (Moscow: Letnii sad, 2010), p. 4.

67 Sergei Mnatsakanian, ‘Bratskaia mogila’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 35 (8 September 2010), para. 8, Of course, numerous factors might affect a poet’s inclusion in an anthology. Perhaps each poet is given a certain number of pages, or the anthology might focus on work written between certain dates or on certain themes.

68 For details of museums dedicated to Bunin, see Inna Kostomarova, ‘Muzei I. A. Bunina v Orle’, Bunin Ivan Alekseevich (1870–1953), [n.d.], and ‘Muzei’, Bunin Ivan Alekseevich (1870–1953), [n.d.], Details of statues and other memorials to Bunin can be found on the Russian-language Wikipedia page, sections 4 and 5: ‘Bunin, Ivan Alekseevich’, Wikipedia,Бунин,_Иван_Алексеевич

69 This does not include all of the instances when Bunin, or references to him, are quoted in an unrelated context, such as being an example of a famous person who received mostly ‘2s’ at school: ‘Kak pravilno delat uroki’, Izvestiia (16 February 2006), para. 25, However, even such references are relevant because of the way in which they demonstrate an assumed familiarity with who Bunin was.

70 ‘Otkrylas vystavka, posviashchennaia 140-letiiu so dnia rozhdeniia Ivana Bunina’, Rossiiskaia gazeta (22 October 2010),; Olga Glazunova, ‘Buninskie iabloki’, Rossiiskaia gazeta (28 October 2010),; ‘Gospodin iz Efremova’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 42–43 (27 October 2010),

71 Vladislav Korneichuk, ‘Kniga v provintsii i ee chitateli’, Nezavisimaia gazeta (3 August 2006),

72 Sergei Baimukhametov, ‘Ekho okaiannykh stoletii’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 28–29 (12–18 July 2000).

73 Ibid.

74 Ibid.

75 Tatiana Marchenko, ‘Izbranie i ne’, NG Ex Libris (11 May 2000),

76 Sergei Fediakin, ‘Dali Ivana Bunina’, Nezavisimaia gazeta (24 October 2000),

77 Veronika Chernysheva, ‘Nesovremennyi i nesvoevremennyi’, Nezavisimaia gazeta (12 November 2004),

78 Peskov.

79 Oleg Mikhailov, ‘Moi Bunin’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 50 (14 December 2011),

80 Ibid., para. 20.

81Imia Rossiia [sic]. Istoricheskii vybor 2008’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008),

82 ‘Bunin Ivan Alekseevich’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008),; ‘Blok Aleksandr Aleksandrovich’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008),; ‘Vysotskii Vladimir Semenovich’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008),; ‘Esenin Sergei Aleksandrovich’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008), Blok received 86,991 votes, Vysotskii 429,074, and Esenin 781,042 to achieve places in the top 50. No twentieth-century writers or poets were among the top twelve. Pushkin and Fedor Dostoevskii were the only writers, coming fourth and ninth respectively. See ‘Rezultaty Internet golosovaniia’, Telekanal ‘Rossiia’ (2008),

83 Dnevnik ego zheny, dir. by Aleksei Uchitel (Goskino Rossii, 2000); Okaiannye dni. Ivan Bunin, dir. by Aleksei Denisov (Vserossiiskaia gosudarstvennaia televizionnaia i radioveshchatelnaia kompaniia; Studiia istoricheskogo dokumentalnogo kino, 2007),

84 See Aleksandr Kondrashov ‘Gody okaianstva, ili Zagadka N.B.I’, Literaturnaia gazeta, 33–34 (27 August 2013), para. 13, Kondrashov provides something of a review of the series of programmes about Bunin broadcast by the television channel Kul’tura, in which he highlights the points where he disagrees with the way in which Bunin’s life is discussed by the narrator of the programme, Natal’ia Borisova Ivanova. For example, in response to Ivanova’s suggestion that much fell to Bunin’s lot, including the 1905 revolution, World War One, and the events of 1917, Kondrashov argues that ‘considerably fewer trials fell to Bunin than to the majority of the Russian people’.

85 Azarov, para. 13.