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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



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The present article considers the relationship between I.A. Bunin and I.I. Fondaminsky, a public figure, historian, socialist revolutionary, a member of the Constituent Assembly who happened to participate in the decisive events of the Russian revolution. In Paris the Fondaminskys became the closest friends and assistants of the Bunins, but the history of relationship between these families has not yet become the subject of special analysis. In the diary of V.N. Muromtseva-Bunina and “The Grasse Diary” by G.N. Kuznetsova we can find evidence of how highly Bunin valued Fondaminsky — an outstanding storyteller, writer and educated person. He was a member of the editorial board of “Sovremennye zapiski” and long before Bunin won the Nobel prize never had any doubt that his prose was a sign of special distinction for the journal. Many of his literary works were published here, including “The Life of Arsen’ev”. The letters of the Fondaminskys addressed to the Bunins preserved in Leeds Russian Archive cover a period of 16 years and largely reveal the nature of their relationship. Questions related to cooperation in the journal are uppermost in the correspondence, but such topics as the assessment of émigré writers, issues related to the joint rental of the Belvedere villa in Grasse, and tips for solving money problems were also touched upon. Fondaminsky is also represented in the correspondence as a reader of Bunin, a publisher and a seller of his books.

  • Keywords: Russian émigré literature, I.A. Bunin, I.I. Fondaminsky, “Sovremennye zapiski”, “The Life of Arsen’ev”, personal correspondence.


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