Ivan Alekseyevich Bunin
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1933
Born: 22 October 1870, Voronezh, Russia
Died: 8 November 1953, Paris, France
Prize motivation: “for the strict artistry with which he has carried on the classical Russian traditions in prose writing”
stateless domicile in France
Prize share: 1/1
Ivan Bunin was born into a family of landowners in Vorónezh in Western Russia and spent his childhood in the country on the family’s estates. His mother, Lyudmila Alexandrovna, introduced him to Russian folklore, and he began writing poetry and prose at an early age. He traveled around Russia, southern Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Balkans. In 1909 he was elected to membership in the Russian Academy of Sciences. Because of the Bolshevik regime, he left Russia in 1920 and lived the remainder of his life in France.
Ivan Bunin’s works consist of poetry, prose and translations. He debuted with the collection Poems (1887–1891), a book of poetry that shows elements of symbolism. The inspiration he drew from realism emerges in a series of melancholy stories about the Russian countryside and its decline, in which he wanted to describe “a Russia without make-up.” The novels Derévnya (1910) (The Village) and Sukhodól (1912) depicted the crudity of village life and the decline of the landowner class. Bunin’s prose style is characterized by melancholy, reserve and concentration, a condensed elegance.