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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Kirill V. Anisimov
  • Pages: 26–43
  • 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: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
  • DOI:
  • Year of publication: 2021
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Anisimov, K.V. “Unexpected Duplicity: ‛Grammar of Love’ and ‛The Gentleman from San Francisco’. On the Problem of Narrative Variability in Bunin’s Prose.” 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. 26–43. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Kirill V. Anisimov, DSc in Philology, Head of the Department of Journalism and Literary Criticism, Institute of Philology and Language Communication at Siberian Federal University, Svobodny Prospekt 82 a, 660041 Krasnoyarsk, Russia.


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The paper is focused on Bunin’s attempts to modify the hierarchical duplicity of literary pieces written by the given author — a phenomenon intrinsic to the 19th century Russian classics. The new principle of intertext correlation introduced by Bunin seems to be stipulated by non- or postclassic alternativistic views promoted mostly by modernism. Having appropriated this new artistic experience Bunin begins to place and associate his stories, considering their connection with each other, in a different, more complex and non-hierarchical way. The constructive kinship of fabula and genre of the narratives now becomes overshadowed by narrator’s rhetoric and motifs of mundane life which in case of the two stories selected for the analysis in the present paper look oppositely, whereas on the deeper level of sense-production both stories reveal their poetic proximity. In the course of the analysis the author points out four principally identical fabula links as well as a set of similar secondary motifs and personages: the beginning of the journey and its validation as a search for delights; the initial false attempt — protagonists’ penetration into a “wrong” place; quest and successful discovery of a “right” one; heroes’ transformation within a locus associated with library, reading and books. The latter episode containing the juxtaposition — desperate death in the second story vs. revival to a new life in the first one — presents two versions of a basic situation that exists as a paradigmatically whole entity. The author draws a conclusion that Bunin offers his reader two alternate ways of solving a problem of human transformation.

  • Keywords: Ivan Bunin, “Grammar of Love”, “Gentleman from San Francisco”, fabula, plot, genre, cycle formation in prose works, narratology.


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