Information about the author:
Natalia V. Mikhalenko, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6200-6211
Both in the early and in the the émigré works of Ivan Bunin, an estate house serves as a kind of frontier, in time as well as in space. His protagonist always thinks about the fate of people who dwelled in the past in the places he visits (see the poem “Grandfather’s Youth”, the story “The Scent of Apples”), and a kind of connection between generations is drawn as if the estate becomes the junction point of different layers of time. The linear time of human life and the cyclical time of the generations are combined with perfect precision. And the tragedy of the protagonist is their ruin, the end of the old way of life (see, for example, the poems “... Sometimes in the autumn I dream” or “Desolation”). The space of an estate in Bunin’s works is deeply associated with nature, its state can even be attributed to it. This blurs the boundaries of the estate house, and the person in it begins to feel like a part of the harmony of nature, starts to ponder eternal questions (see the poems “A crescent moon came out on a quiet night...”, “In centuries-old darkness of an old black spruce...”, etc.). In the novel “The Life of Arseniev”, the stories “Mowers”, “Non-urgent Spring” and others, the estate house becomes an idyllic place where the protagonist seeks to return. The world of an old estate is closely related to Bunin’s literary work, being the opportunity to combine different ideas and images, like in a kind of a borderland.