Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 44–55
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Vitaly Yu. Darensky
Darensky, V.Yu. “‛Poetry Is Not That…’ Ivan Bunin on the ‛Darkness’ of Poetry.” I.A. Bunin and His Time: Context of Life — History of Work. Ex. eds. T.M. Dvinyatina and S.N. Morozov; Eds. A.V. Bakuntsev and E.R. Ponomarev. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 44–55. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Vitaly Yu. Darensky, DSc in Philosophy, Professor, Lugansk State Pedagogical University, Oboronnaya 2 а, 91011 Lugansk, Ukraine.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


The paper examines Ivan Bunin’s understanding of the essence of poetry, in particular, his metaphor of the “darkness” of poetry. It is shown that Bunin’s understanding of essence of poetry is based on his deep existential experience, that had him convinced that the poetic vision is a result of the depth of ancestral and universal memory. Such understanding of poetry has also deep moral grounds that do not allow the poet to detach himself from the spiritually common life of people and build his artificial symbolic worlds. It principally results in the demand for a maximum level of clarity and naturalness of poetic language with a focus on classical samples. A true understanding of poetry requires some kind of ‘initiation’ of the soul, that is it remains deeply incomprehensible for a reader who only seek external ‘beauties’. In order to understand adequately such poetry, one should use the philosophical concepts of anamnesis of the soul and the sophism of being. The metaphor of the ‘darkness’ of poetry used by Bunin denotes ‘positive’ darkness, radiating the light of mystery, and not artificial darkness, created on the basis of a construction of individual poetic symbols.

Keywords: Ivan Bunin, poetry, “In the mountains”, sophism, anamnesis, mystery.