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M. Gorki's and I. Bunin's view of the Russian intellectual in the "The Life of Klim Samgin" and "The… Szackovics, Paul 1970

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G O R K I ' S AND I . I N THE L I F E  B U N I N ' S V I E W OF T H E R U S S I A N I N T E L L E C T U A L  OF K L I M S A M G I N A N D T H E L I F E  OF A R S E N E V  by PAUL SZACKOVICS B.A.,  University  A THESIS  of  British  Columbia,  1967  S U B M I T T E D I N P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T OF  T H E R E Q U I R E M E N T S F O R T H E D E G R E E OF MASTER OF A R T S  in  the  Department of  Slavonic  We a c c e p t required  this  thesis  Studies  as  conforming  to  standard  THE U N I V E R S I T Y  OF B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A  August  1970  the  In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s  in p a r t i a l  f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements  for  an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s  thesis  f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s .  It  i s u n d e r s t o o d that c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n  o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my written permission.  Department o f  SLAVONIC STUDIES  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  Date  August 19.  1970  ABSTRACT  In my thesis I w i l l discuss two main literary works which reveal the development of the Russian intellectual: "The Life of Klim Samgin," by M. Gorki, and "The Life of Arsenev,  M  by I. Bunin.  My aim is to provide an analysis  of the main characters in each work, and to c r i t i c i z e the a r t i s t i c devices used by the authors,  I w i l l briefly  mention.several other well known Russian authors who were writing at the end of the nineteenth century and at the beginning of the twentieth, i n order to place the main works under discussion i n their historical context. In chapter one, some aspects of the development of the Russian intelligentsia in literature w i l l be discussed, by presenting a brief survey of topically selected works of A. Chekhov, V. Korolenko, and V. Veresaev.  The second  chapter w i l l be devoted to the analysis of "The Life of Klim Samgin."  The third chapter w i l l present a detailed  analysis of "The Life of Arsenev. * 1  The fourth chapter  w i l l offer a comparative study of the artistic devices utilized in the two works. In conclusion, I w i l l show the literary fate of both works.  In one case i t led to the proclamation of Gorki  as the "Father of Socialist Realism," i n the other i t established the a r t i s t i c value of Bunin in world literature.  iii  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Chapter I.  INTRODUCTION  1  II.  THE LIFE OF KLIM SAMGIN  12  III.  THE LIFE OF AESENEV  38  IV.  COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS AND CONCLUSION....61  FOOTNOTES  Chapter I  91  Chapter II  92  Chapter III  93  Chapter IV  9-+  SOURCES CONSULTED  96  ARTICLES  101  ACKNOWLEDGEMENT  I would like to express my sincerest appreciation to my adviser Professor Eevutsky, and to Professor Folejewski, for their assistance and guidance in the preparation of this thesis.  CHAPTER I  Gorki has been proclaimed by Soviet c r i t i c s as the "Father of Soviet Literature," but in reality he belongs to the period before the Revolution.  In 1917 he clearly  stated his opposition to the baseness and crudeness of the movement, and accused the leaders of succumbing to the corrupting Influences of power.  Gorki left Russia  i n 1 9 2 1 , ostensibly because of tuberculosis, but returned permanently, amidst great fanfare, in 1 9 2 9 . His novel "The Life of Klim Samgin," on which he was s t i l l working, was already being published.  It was an attempt to  chronicle the development of Russian society,  especially  the intelligentsia, from the l870»s to 1917.  It is i n  fact a tiresome endless biography of a contrived personage, and an attempt by Gorki to align his revolutionary sympathies with the hostile ideology of the party demagogues. Ivan Bunin. left Russia soon after the Revolution, and made no contributions to Soviet literature.  His  "Life of Arsenev," is partly autobiographical, and is a chronicle of a disappearing type of Russian l i f e .  The  hero Arsenev, is the representative of a beautiful, to Bunin, epoch in Russian l i f e which was passing into oblivion.  I intend to show the way in which two authors  from different levels of society, through biographical  accounts of the l i v e s of two p r o t a g o n i s t s , presented  Intellectuals, their  t h e i r country  and  They of course were not the o n l y ones who  i t s members. were concerned  w i t h the problem of i n t e l l e c t u a l s and r e v o l u t i o n ,  and  I w i l l present  who  a b r i e f sampling of s e v e r a l others  were d e a l i n g w i t h the same problem, as w e l l as r e a c t i o n s of v a r i o u s contemporary c r i t i c s .  the  Such an  approach I hope would show the importance of the segment i n Russian s o c i e t y , by showing how  intellectual  many eminent  authors were d e a l i n g , not always o b j e c t i v e l y , w i t h t h a t topic. One  of the f i r s t w r i t e r s i n R u s s i a n L i t e r a t u r e of  the 1880"s to o f f e r an o b j e c t i v e p r e s e n t a t i o n of "intellectual*  8  was  the  Anton Chekhov i n the play "Ivanov;*?  Prom t h i s p o i n t forward one  can witness the i n a l i e n a b l e  t i e between the h i s t o r i c a l and l i t e r a r y p r o g r e s s i o n the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a as a c l a s s . his  p l a y he wanted to present  type.  of  Chekhov s t a t e d t h a t i n a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c contemporary  The main c h a r a c t e r i n the p l a y , Ivanov, i s a  landowner whose e s t a t e , even though l a r g e , i s i n r u i n . He has married and  a Jewess, because i t was  i n e x p e c t a t i o n of an i n h e r i t a n c e .  fashionable, He f a l l s i n l o v e  w i t h a f i n e young g i r l , but r e a l i z e s t h a t he i s no  longer  the man  he was  i n h i s youth, t h a t he Is played  H i s i d e a s on the f u t i l i t y of l i f e ,  and  his  out.  inability  to play a c o n s t r u c t i v e r o l e i n i t , l e a d to h i s s u i c i d e . T h i s play i s v a l u a b l e  because i t foreshadows f u t u r e  l i t e r a r y d i r e c t i o n , and because i n i t Chekhov d i d not pass moral judgements, but even t r i e d i n a favourable all  light,  and was  he wanted to do was  Ivanov  adamant i n a s s e r t i n g t h a t  to present  Ovsyaniko-Kulikovski,  to present  people as he saw  i n h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n on  them. the  p l a y , exposes the i n a b i l i t y of the R u s s i a n educated  man  of the 1880*s to engage i n a prolonged p u r s u i t of  any  project.  ideas  He makes the p o i n t t h a t Ivanov w i t h h i s  of r e f o r m i n g  and  improving h i s e s t a t e took too heavy a  l o a d upon h i m s e l f without any  r a t i o n a l planning.  Kulikovskl  e x p l a i n s t h a t Ivanov i s not an e x c l u s i v e c h a r a c t e r  because  Ivanov*s ailment  life,  not  i s t y p i c a l to men  j u s t to a c e r t a i n p a r t of s o c i e t y which can be  i n t o a d e f i n i t e group. emotionally  simply  The  and m e n t a l l y  t h e i r representatives. is  i n a l l walks of  80*s produced people who  unstable,  and  Ivanov-Razumnik on the  hand, does see Ivanov as an e x c l u s i v e as a man  who  Ivanov i s one  were of  K u l i k o v s k l m a i n t a i n s t h a t Ivanov  a neurasthenic.  he sees him  Isolated  has  other  representative,  s t r a y e d i n t o the  quicksand  of bourgeois philosophy, and has become submerged i n i t , I would conclude that both men are partly correct.  Ivanov  i s s u f f e r i n g from nervous upsets, but he i s also the exclusive representative of the educated e l i t e , f a r removed from r e a l i t y , slow moving and thinking, preoccupied with small things, which almost inadvertantly determined the course which Russia was to follow. From Chekhov, as the paterfamilias of the new movement i n Russian l i t e r a t u r e o f f e r i n g descriptions of the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a of the 80's, i t i s necessary to stop and examine the work of a very respected and senior author of the time, V. G. Korolenko.  He i s aptly appraised by a distinguished  Russian c r i t i c , J . Eichenwald, who wrote the following: Korolenko i s dear to the Russian i n t e l l i g e n t s i a because i n his works a responding heart i s revealed which no injury, no i n j u s t i c e can escape. The very essence of his nature i s to be a defender, an a i d . Wherever assistance i s necessary and possible, he can never remain i n d i f f e r e n t . Many a time has he raised his s o f t , yet firm voice i n defense of the injured. The arrow of s o c i a l conscience always tends i n the d i r e c t i o n Indicated by Korolenko, and i f you follow him you are sure to follow the truth, l These t r a i t s are v i s i b l e i n his monumental autobiography, "The History of My Contemporary,'! which he began writing when he was f i f t y - f i v e .  Various opinions exist about  t h i s work, which was Korolenko's culminative e f f o r t .  Korolenko himself is viewed either as a classic, or as a man of narrow talent who early exhausted his creative ability.  His writing is charming and simple, and one  implicitly trusts the author because of his irreproachable idealism,toward, and hope for the Intelligentsia, he clings enduringly.  to which  This is probably the feature which  caused his popularity to soar in Russia*  People needed  to grasp at something which would dispel their moribund thoughts and renew in them a trust i n humanity.  In "The  History of My Contemporary^? Korolenko resists his previous 1  profusely emotional and l y r i c a l style, and produces a work which i f not t h r i l l i n g , is definitely readable. It is interesting as a portrait gallery of unusual people, as a picture of country l i f e , of his father, his school, and as a detailed picture of the conditions prevalent i n Russia, which eventually caused the Romanov Empire to abdicate and collapse.  Korolenko understood that  the intelligentsia and the common people were on divergent paths, and that the only thing which could lead to the salvation of the country was a striving toward a fusion and blending of differences through mass education. Korolenko hoped that the intellectual would try to understand the ordinary man, an outlook which made him a favourite  of the Soviets, but i n 191?,  and u n t i l his death, he  remained opposed to them. In l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m , Korolenko has fared quite well, but there i s one man, harsh i n his appraisal.  Tkhorzhevski, who  i s extremely  He dismisses the "Blind Musician,"  which has been hailed as a masterpiece both i n Russia and the West, f o r i t s "childishness," and "The History of My Contemporary," he c a l l s "an i d e a l i z a t i o n of revolutionaries and Revolution, but i t s h i s t o r i c a l interest i s narrow and small."  I t i s necessary to stamp "for children o n l y , "  2  on  a l l Korolenko*s works, and while there i s some truth i n t h i s c r i t i c i s m , Tkhorzhevski i s on the other side of the spectrum from Soviet adulatory c r i t i c i s m , and a point somewhere between the two gives a true picture.  Today,  Korolenko*s honesty, kindness, aid to the defenseless, and encouragement of many self-taught writers, the most important of whom was Gorki, are mentioned more vociferously than his l i t e r a r y outpourings. Veresaev, who  i s another chronicler of the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a ,  owes his success to his precise and sensitive appraisal of events contemporary to him.  One of the most important  i d e o l o g i c a l problems which he presented, was the confrontation between the Populists and the Marxists i n t h e i r ideas  that the future development of Russia rested on the peasants in the f i r s t case, and the industrial labourers in the second.  This pressing question often permeated Veresaev*s  writing.  As to his own p o l i t i c a l inclination, I present  an often cited quotation, but one which is not conclusive, nor should be taken as a final assessment.  In the 80* s:  There was no faith in the people. There was only an enormous acknowledgement of a tremendous guilt before them, and shame for one's privileged position. However, no way out could be seen.  In the 90*s: New people have come, brave and credent. A tremendous, stable force could be f e l t stepping out assuredly into the arena of Russian h i s t o r y . . . . I joined a Marxian literary c i r c l e . 3 # Since most of the intellectuals were incapable of, or did not want any action, i t is not surprising that Veresaev saw hope i n the young, vigorous, bold Marxists, and joined their c i r c l e .  After the Revolution, Veresaev remained in  Russia, and was rewarded for his earlier sentiments, but he had quite obviously cooled toward the Revolution, and a l l i t had produced, and concentrated only on historical literary research. , Veresaev s intelligentsia, as delineated in his 1  works, is progressive, socially conscious, and striving towards more proximity to the people.  Because he was  an innate part of the educated society, we are able to see i t s workings from inside.  Even though Veresaev tries  to present his pieces objectively,  we cannot but experience  his feeling of partisanship for his heroes who are abandoning the revolutionary camp.  The directions upon which the  intelligentsia embarked come into view in a cycle of works: w  Bez Dorogi," (Without a Way  1897);  1894);  w  Povetrie,  Na Povorote," (At the Turning Point  M  (Toward Life  1908);  M  (Pestilence  1901);  and V Tupike," (In Deadlock tt  K Zhizni,"  M  1922).  The f i r s t works of this cycle manifest the wavering and doubt which pervades the young radical intelligentsia toward the revolutionary movement, and causes them to depart from i t i n favour of an individualistic and philistine life,.  The next, shortly after the 1905 movement, inspects  an even sharper decline away from the revolution, helped by the forces of reaction which were prevalent.  There  is disappointment in the proletariate and i n socialism. Youth is drawn towards enjoyment of l i f e , Nietzche, and religion.  The last novel reviews the Intelligentsia  which has refused to be taken i n by the October Revolution, cannot accept i t , and now finds that i t is i n deadlock, physically, mentally and Ideologically. There were of course many other authors who were  writing about, or simply belonged within the realm of the intelligentsia.  Some of them remained in Russia after  the Revolution, as did Veresaev, but there were, also many who fled abroad.  To deal with them in any detail would  require a book in Itself, for each varied from the three I have mentioned in style and content.  Leonid Andreev  in his early writings, before his submission to the fantastic, sombre and horrendous, was very definitely part of the realm, and an important figure in i t .  P. D. Boborykin,  almost forgotten today, Is discussed in several chapters of Kulikovskl's "History of the Russian Intelligentsia". V. V. Rozanov, cynic and n i h i l i s t , a truly remarkable character obsessed with Dostoevsky, sex, and Christianity; Remizov with his expressionism, and predilection for the surrealistic use of words; the school of realists including such big name emigres as B. Zaltsev, N. Teffi, Z. Glppius, the Important literary figure D. S. Merezhkovski, writer poet, philosopher, religious thinker, and journalist, known mainly for his historical novels, must be mentioned. Such names as F. Sologub, I. S. Shmelev, A. Kuprin should not be omitted, as they are well known writers on the border of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries.  The l i s t  can be extended to great lengths, but I w i l l now begin  10.  to deal with the most important Soviet and emigre writer, i f not by the quality of his work, at least by his effect on literature through personality, p o l i t i c a l inclination, and behaviour.  Maxim Gorki  (1868-1936)  succeeded with  the public with his f i r s t appearance on the stage of literature.  At f i r s t as a stringent defender of individualism,  and spokesman for the "bosyakl" (bums, hoboes), then as "stormy petrel" of the Revolution, the representative of the conscious proletariate, and finally in his last period as the propagandist; of socialist  teachings.  I w i l l begin by briefly outlining those works which preceded "The Life of Klim Samgin," and anticipated i t s theme.  I w i l l then deal with the structure of the novel,  and with the development of the main protagonist, through whose eyes Russian society is revealed to us.  Finally  I w i l l discuss the multitude of secondary characters, and the success or failure of Gorki*s undertaking.  I will  then undertake the analysis of Bunin*s "Life of Arsenev;? generally under the same divisions as with Gorki's work. This w i l l lead to a c r i t i c a l appraisal of those aspects of the works which I have brought forth, and a statement on their success or failure i n the depiction of a Russian intellectual.  Naturally, I must state before proceeding  further, that the two main works which I have chosen to analyze are of completely different genres.  Gorki visualized  his work as a vast, panoramic, epic, which would show the historical development of the Russian intelligentsia, but i t was never finished because he became bogged down by dialectics.  It is written in a brash, o f f i c i a l l y  demanded style.  Bunin clings to the calm, gracious,  classical style.  His aim in writing "The Life of Arsenev,'*?  perhaps not as explicit as Gorki's was to present a view of a departing age in Russia when the Intellectual from the nobility was coming to a sad end. aim through a l y r i c a l and poetic style.  Bunin achieves his His work is often  called autobiographical, but he himself rejected such nomenclature for i t .  The diversity of the two works,  the different backgrounds of the authors, and thus their differing opinions, views, and methods of expression, is precisely what attracted me to them.  Each author in  his own way allows us a particular vision of Russia and its  society.  CHAPTER II  After the issue of his f i r s t book of short stories, Gorki immediately became popular, especially among the left-leaning youth and intelligentsia.  When he returned  permanently to Russia, he became an unofficial overseer of cultural development, and attempted to correlate the dispersed intellectuals into a group.  Amongst these pro-  fessors and academics, over whom he presided at meetings, i t was impossible to t e l l that this man who could recite dates, names and facts with extraordinary accuracy, was a self-taught former vagrant.  As Blok said of Gorki:  "fate had set him as a mediator between the people and the i n t e l l e c t u a l s " .  1  Thus i t seemed auspicious for this  man to write an account of the Russian intelligentsia. But unfortunately, the material which formed the basis of "The Life of Klim Samgin", proved too overwhelming for Gorki to encompass, and he himself admitted the following in a letter to Romain Rolland i n the beginning of 1933s Without i n the least posing before you, I can say in complete sincerity, that this endless history of man's attempts to free himself from the coercions of reality, without changing i t except through words this history, I have written ponderously in the extreme, tediously, and altogether—badly.... 2  Added to this was his declared aversion for the bourgeois Philistine intellectual, which is evident i n a series  13.  of short stories and plays which preceded what was to be the culminative and definitive statement on the l i f e of the intelligentsia--"The Life of Klim Samgin." The f i r s t of these was "The Malapert" story which flagellates newspaperman.  (1897), a  short  the hypocrisy of a liberal  "Varenka-Olesova" (I898) describes a university  lecturer who Is f u l l of bookish knowledge and bookish morality, but who is unable to control his passions. In "More about the Devil," an intellectual is ridiculed, because his soul is f i l l e d only with ambition, spite, and trepidation.  In 1901  in the play "The Philistines," and  from then on in several plays, the intelligentsia is cruelly indicted. Vacationers"  One of the most severe plays is "The  (190^), which  intellectual families.  unmasks the lives of several  They appear as people preoccupied  with small things, f i l l e d with ennui, and searching for a comfortable place where they could hide from l i f e . Varvara Mikhailovna, one of the heroines in the play, utters a statement, which is the crux of the play, and graphically illustrates her and those around her. We are vacationers in our own country....Some kind of alien people. We bustle about, trying to find comfortable places In life...we do nothing, and only talk at great repulsive lengths. We live on the earth, foreign to everything...we do not know how to be useful people i n l i f e . It seems to me that soon, tomorrow, some other strong, brave people w i l l come, and ssweep us from the earth like dirt.3  I n 1905  Gorki produced another  which caps t h i s c y c l e .  p l a y , " C h i l d r e n of the  I t i s about an educated man  Suni'?  who  i s so f a n a t i c a l l y attached to h i s s t u d i e s t h a t he i s w i l l i n g to make any s a c r i f i c e s f o r them, and yet at the same time, he i s completely u s e l e s s when i t comes to l i v i n g an a c t i v e , practical l i f e .  H i s w i f e , who  i s a young v i g o r o u s woman,  IS f o r c e d to curb her passions and a c t as a nurse f o r her h e l p l e s s husband.  These " c h i l d r e n of the s u n H  locked  i n t h e i r world, d i s c u s s t h e i r i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s , dream about a b e a u t i f u l f u t u r e , engage i n s t u d i o u s i n v e s t i g a t i o n s , but do not l i f t  a f i n g e r to h e l p the p o p u l a t i o n i n the  same p r o v i n c i a l town which i s s i n k i n g i n t o through d r i n k i n g without  degradation,  l e t u p , wife b e a t i n g , e t c .  The  common people w i t h reason r e g a r d the educated i n t e l l e c t u a l s , who  should be t h e i r l e a d e r s and c o u n s e l o r s , as t h e i r most  hated  enemies. From the b a s i s t h a t these e a r l i e r works provided,  Gorki embarked on the "odyssey" of K l i m Samgin, i n which he was  going to r e v e a l the decadance of the  intellectual  c l a s s i n I m p e r i a l R u s s i a , by c r e a t i n g a v a s t  historical  panorama of the major events from the 1880's to and  showing the r e a c t i o n of h i s c h a r a c t e r s to  h i s t o r i c a l events. The n o v e l was  1917»  those  a c t u a l l y w r i t t e n with  two main themes.  One relates the history of an empty soul,  the history of a man who lacks any s p i r i t u a l i t y , and whose emptiness leads to an inevitable end.  The other recounts  Russlan^social history for forty years before the October Revolution.  This actually tends to become the main plan  of the book, as i t overshadows many of the characters, who are thin, two-dimensional representatives of various Ideologies, stretched out over an immense historical tableau, including such events as the Khodynka, the industrial exposition of I 8 9 6 , Bauman's funeral, the ninth of January, the Moscow barricades i n the year 1905» the peripd of reaction following the f i r s t revolution, The Russo-Japanese war, the actions of the Black Hundred, Zubatovshchina, as well as several other lesser p o l i t i c a l incidents.  The novel  was to end with Lenin returning to Petersburg, and the events of the October Revolution.  One also sees Moscow,  Petersburg, Russia' s villages and provincial doldrums, 1  merchant towns, and even glimpses of Berlin, Paris, and Geneva.  Worthy of note are the l i v i n g conditions of various  classes delineated in the book, the trenchant sketches of literary salons.  Read separately, many excerpts from  the four volume novel are Interesting and informative, but there are too many characters who appear suddenly  16.  and a r t i f i c i a l l y , and too many banal situations for the reader to wade through, making any lengthy reading sessions tedious indeed. Structurally, "The Life of Klim Samginj? is Gorki's 1  most ambitious undertaking.  It is divided into four parts  or volumes, the last of which is unfinished.  It is an  attempt to chronicle and represent a l l the classes i n Russia through the eyes of a typical member of the intelligentsia.  Klim serves as the centre of the novel, and his  preponderance (he appears on almost every page) creates the impression that Gorki is trying to push down our throats his own aversion to this class of society, and by so doing quell his own intellectual f i r e s .  The other  characters are shown either through their reactions to historical events, or in the course of chronological development, but there are no major individual characters aside from Samgin, because Gorki was too intent on making them mouthpieces of various kinds of ideologies, so that together, through their hundreds of mouths they produce an incoherent babble. The f i r s t volume shows the development of Samgin, his family, friends and acquaintances, as a study of a generation i n the provinces of Russia.  The second and third deal at  length with the events leading up to and occurring during 1905, and the Russo-Japanese war.  These volumes are very  often drawn out when Gorki launches into lengthy philosophical discussions, but they are interesting as documentary compilations of historical events.  The third volume ends  with Samgin as a lawyer i n the provinces, and the fourth begins with him as a tourist abroad, mostly in Paris, and then f i n a l l y shows his return to Petersburg where he observes the Revolution and becomes i t s victim. Samgin Is a complicated, intriguing character, he is not, as Gorki would have us believe, "typical* , and ordinary, 1  and to imagine him as a symbol for the l i b e r a l intelligentsia is very difficult indeed. praiseworthy.  Klim as an "outsider'* is  Everything goes wrong for him.  He cannot  find happiness in l i f e , marriage, culture, p o l i t i c s , sex, literature, and his inability to participate i n these things initiates his moral disintegration.  Gorki's  allegation that the intelligentsia failed to play i t s role at the head of the Revolution because Klim is symbolic of its membership, is far fetched. importance of l i f e i t s e l f ,  Klim doubts the  and therefore, until he can  find some meaning in i t , he wants to exist comfortably. Since he cannot find a meaning, he stagnates and decomposes.  18.  Klim is presented to us from the negative viewpoint. He is irritated by interesting people, whom he compares to painted Indians, he is indifferent, aloof, his actions are fraudulent and self-deceptive, is for his own well-being.  and his primary concern  He is skeptical and non-  constructive, especially about revolution and revolutionaries. But from youth, because of constant parental fussing, Samgin thought himself a special person, an "individual". Emulating the ideas promulgated by his family, he desires to assume his rightful place as a leader of the masses, yet he is not conscious of the complete separation which exists between his upper class family and the masses. He does not have original thoughts or words, and the meaninglessness of his l i f e allows him to wallow in selfdeception.  Samgin is neither gifted nor talented, but  because,of his ability to unmask those he encounters, we are more favourably predisposed toward him than Gorki wanted us to be.  One of the more interesting aspects of  his l i f e to examine, is his attitude toward, and relationship with women.  Here Klim cannot be blamed fully, for i t is  Gorki's own inability to understand the essence of man and woman together that shows through.  Klim's behaviour  is atypical of an educated, cultured, intelligent man's.  19.  His approach Is vulgar, obtrusive, and blunt.  Philosophically  he regards women as a hindrance, palatable occasionally in the Bedroom, but even then only for a short while. Gorki perhaps under the influence of Zola and the theories of environment and inheritance that affected that writer, similarly constructs Klim.  From early youth, Klim observes  i n his own family a strange relationship between male and female.  His mother is alternately clasped by Tomilln i n  an avowal of his love, or fondled by Varavka, during her husband*s frequent absences.  From such a beginning Klim  develops his perverse attitudes toward women, which culminate with his adventurous and obscene approach to Dronov's wife.  Only the imperious Marina Zotova withstands him.  He actually fears her because he is at f i r s t unable to discover her "secret**. submissive Nekhaeva.  His f i r s t experiment is the He is insensitive and impassive,  and uses her for his own gratification.  She is i l l with  tuberculosis, under the influence of the French decadents, and thus adroitly suitable for the degenerate Klim, as a prelude to Lidia.  He does feel some pity for Nekhaeva  and her deep feelings for him give him pleasure, but he continues to use her until her caresses begin to bore him, and he then bluntly ends the affair.  He was pleased  that his affair with her produced more respect for him in his acquaintances, and when he ended with her, he thought that he had gained in maturity.  He recognized Nekhaeva  as intelligent, but emotional intimacy frightened him and drew him away from her, for fear she would understand in him what he did not want her to understand.  His affair  with Lidia is carried out for his own satisfaction, to gratify his sensuous cravings.  He is disappointed, at  the end of the liaison, that he has not been able to make Lidia sob, or kiss his hands in gratitude for the happiness which he had bestowed on her.  His next affair and marriage  to Varvara begins with- a desire to please and be tender to her because she was comfortable to be with, moderate, and obedient.  She aroused feelings in him that Lidia had  never been able to awaken.  But again, Samgin's feelings  of supremacy.over Varvara are eventually shaken, and he dislikes not.being in complete control.  He begins to feel  that she does not understand him, and their marriage collapses.  He admits that his entanglement with Varvara  was a mistake, and that he was made for the l i f e of a bachelor.  He finally finds a police agent, Nikonova,  whose thoughts harmonize with his own.  This woman demands  nothing, does not talk about "high things**, and after  several meetings with her, Samgin decides that she is a true friend, that she Is like a "drawer in a desk"** that can serve as a repository for his feelings.  With her,  i t was easy to talk about the most important topic to Samgin—himself.  Her lack of regard for the "important  defenders of humanity", matched his misanthropy, and her views seemed to him completely natural, simple, and normal, corresponding exactly to his own. Samgin one of her own kind.  Nikonova considered  His constant skepticism toward  revolutions, made i t easy for him to be with her.  Nikonova  is used by Gorki as an i l l u s t r a t i o n of the "wrong" type of person that Samgin unwittingly picks as a friend, and thus reveals his true self, and his hatred for a workers* uprising.  Another example of this type of "friend"is found  In Mitrofanov, whom Samgin befriends as a healthy thinking, ordinary Russian person, when in reality he is an agent of the Okhrana.  Mitrofanov to Samgin is an example of a  "kind" person, as he performs several small favours for him without expecting any i n return.  The self-revelatory  experience toward which these friendships were leading Samgin, occurs when Samgin himself is offered the role of spy for the gendarmerie.  To his amazement he is not  morally insulted by such an offer, and declines not because  of some long held, cherished belief, but because his borrowed words and thoughts have become an integral part of him, and these are the motivating force which cause him to reject the offer.  There is one other basic trait revealed  to us by Samgin's confrontation with women, which further delineates his unpleasant character.  He is proud of the  fact that he is unable to become emotionally attached for any length of time to any woman, something which foe thinks is the mark of a strong, independent, and cultured man. Samgin's outer appearance is graceless, matt, insipid, colourless.  His features are not particularly expressive,  nor does his whole physical appearance create or produce any memorable effect.  His inner world is almost as bland  as his outer appearance. observer.  He is not a doer, he is an  He is never directly involved in any human actions  or relationships, but always appears to be on the periphery of events and society, observing and formulating from the sidelines.  These are the traits that Gorki vehemently  rejected and condemned.  The desire to escape from the  harshness of reality, to change l i f e only by words, and not by actions, to live in society and yet be completely independent of i t , this is what Gorki criticized as the i l l o g i c a l , irrational directions of the Samgins and the  23.  mass of people they represent.  Through the entire book  Gorki tries to show the involuntary captivity and subjugation in which the philistine intellectuals found themselves i n . This is reflected in Kllm's l i f e .  He is constantly forced  to act against his own deep secret desires.  When he is  on the verge of carrying them out, he is forced by some "event", to act in contradiction to his own w i l l .  The  Revolution is completely foreign to him, yet he is involved in aiding i t in some way, even to the point of risking his l i f e for i t .  This affectation of expressing false  sentiments brings on instability and duplicity.  Prom the  doubt and d i s i l l u s i o n which permeate and saturate him, stems his skeptical and withdrawn way of l i f e .  In his  youth he was told that the intelligentsia was the best part of society,  that i t sacrificed i t s e l f for the people,  without any benefit for Itself.  As he became older, he  was more unwilling to give anything of himself, and became firmly convinced that the intelligentsia was a chosen branch of society, but he did not think about the position that people like himself should take in l i f e .  As he  becomes more mature, he also becomes convinced of the f u t i l i t y of l i f e , and of the f u t i l i t y of any high ideals. As he was frequently told that he was not like the rest,  that he was an individual, he decided to go along with such an image of himself, and attempt to be different than he really was.  Because of this, he does not have, nor  w i l l he express his own opinions.  He prefers to acquire  the jargon of the progressive revolutionaries, and then to circulate uncensured among them.  When he was younger  he would be offended and humiliated by this inadequacy, but in time he convinced himself that when the time came he would throw off the cloak of borrowed opinions, and display his true self.  This man, supposedly the typical  representative of capitalist society, strangely enough is always within the environs of the revolutionary movement. There is an explanation for this.  Samgin and people like  him were not satisfied with tsarism, which prevented them from satisfying their desires for p o l i t i c a l activity, and at the same time they understood the inevitability of revolution, were apprehensive of It, and for reasons of prudency, security, and self-preservation, tried to associate themselves with any current revolutionary movement.  In reality Klim abhors the thought of an insurgency,  and i n 1905» even though he knows what tsarism i s , he fervently hopes the Tsar w i l l be able to deal a crippling blow to the revolution, and thus begin some Rew relations  25.  with the people. To further clarify and delineate Klim's attitude and behaviour in society, Gorki juxtaposes him against various historical and social events, in order to characterize him by his reactions.  The f i r s t such incident occurs  while he is walking with Inokov, and chances upon a catastrophe.  A barracks i n the process of construction  suddenly collapses.  Inokov without hesitation rushes  towards the collapsed building to attempt to rescue those who had been crushed and mangled.  Klim reacts  differently.  He remembers that when Inokov rushed towards the building he didn't follow him, but seemed to dash aside.  When  he thought that he was running away from the collapsing barracks, he had actually, unwittingly approached i t . Later, i n 1905* during the uprising, he remembers these feelings.  He again does what he has no desire to do.  He is sucked in by the crowd and drawn toward i t s middle. At such times he is beseeched by anger at his inability to stand alone, at his involuntary subjugation to a power stronger than him.  His proximity or distance from the  revolutionary movement depends entirely on the fortunes of that movement..  If he senses that the government has  the upper hand he w i l l turn away from i t immediately.  26.  He was sure the manifest introduced by the Tsar i n 1917 would obliterate the insurrectionists and their movement, and he was ready to desert them.  When the revolutionary  Bauman is murdered by an extreme rightist organization, the "Black Hundred^** Klim accepts this turn of events as perfectly practical.  Bauman had after a l l done what was  required of him, had procured a constitution with the help of the masses to benefit the lot of the bourgeois, and now his death would help l i f e return to i t s normal conditions.  In other words, Klim and his kind could once  again enjoy a comfortable, uninvolved existence.  Needless  to say, Klim is led astray by his own obtuse thinking. He does not see that the multitude following Bauman*s coffin is the beginning of the battle.  The Moscow  proletariate builds barricades, and prepares for resistance. Klim Is again angered, but offers his kitchen and his services to the revolutionaries, for should they be victorious, he is beside them, even though he strenuously doubts that such common people can have any success.  During the  Khodynka we are exposed once again to Kllm*s curious reaction to that loathsome spectacle.  During the coronation of  Nicholas II, thousands were crushed, yet the Tsar seemingly oblivious to what had occurred, continued with the  27.  celebrations.  Samgin moves about the crowd like a mannequin,  uttering stock phrases of grief, pretending he is stricken by the tragedy, but in actuality he is overcome by a feeling of great disdain for the masses who allowed themselves to be crushed by rushing for some "sweets'* given out during the f e s t i v i t i e s .  The Tsar who continued  to participate in the entertainment by attending a b a l l that same evening, he regards with respect, as a man with a strong, brave, and indomitable character.  As shown by  these events, Gorki does not stop for an instant in the castigatlon of the class represented by Samgin, who regards inhumanity as a strength, as a virtue, as something which makes him an individual, a portentous word in the proletarian vocabulary.  Klim goes through l i f e with the one outstanding  thought that man is only free when he is completely alone. Realizing that he is an outsider, that he is not really needed by anyone, he rationalizes that individuality is something heroic, something elevating. is nothing elevating in Klim's l i f e .  However, there His one main task  in l i f e , i s to find a comfortable place, and the only thing which stands in the way of this is his c o l l i s i o n with reality, in which he has chosen to play the role of a progressive intellectual.  Fundamentally, he is indifferent  28  toward anyone or anything.  He does not have any remarkable  or notable percept about the purpose of his l i f e , is therfore able to borrow ideas freely, and thus maintain an easy balance between his reactionary feelings,  and the revolution  whiCh takes place around him. Gorki did not complete his work, and the fourth volume which is a compilation produced from Gorki's manuscripts by Soviet scholars abounds in faults and contradictions. Samgin turned out somewhat differently to what Gorki had expected.  He manages to unmask numerous characters, and  thus grows in stature himself.  He even supersedes Kutuzov  who remains with l i t t l e more than a system of stock phrases. This is the dilemma which prevented Gorki from finishing the novel.  In the Soviet version, Klim is crushed by  the momentous forces of the Revolution, but in reality Gorki became bogged down by dialectic problems, and was overcome by death before he could resolve them. Diametrically opposed to Samgin is Stepan Kutuzov, with whose presence Gorki, in opposition to Samgin, wanted to show the correct path for the Russian intelligentsia to follow.  Kutuzov suffers as a character just as Samgin  did, but in an opposite way. qualities:  Samgin presents only negative  apathy, conceit, opportunism.  Kutuzov is the  Impeccable, irreproachable, revolutionary citizen.  His  faultless and flawless thoughts are supposed to convince the reader that i t is people like him who w i l l resolve the problems assailing Russia.  He exhibits a l l the traits  necessary to become a leader of the proletariate, and his reason and w i l l are in perfect harmony.  He is a man who  does not have any doubts about who he i s , what he is doing, or how he is going to do i t .  Kutuzov is always  superior to his antagonists, but he is not only superior because of his marvellously organized brain, or because of his extraordinary intellect, but because his ideas, the ideas of Marxism are superior to any other t r i f l i n g p o l i t i c a l dogma.  Whenever Kutuzov is engaged in discussions  or arguments with representatives of other Ideologies, he naturally crushes them, but more often this is not enough.  Almost like a deus ex machina, by an apt and  insidiously clever phrase, he demolishes the p o l i t i c a l l y immature and spiritually incomplete ramblings of the opposition.  Above a l l , Kutuzov excells and differs from  Samgin, i n that even though he i s acknowledged as superior to the masses, he s t i l l operates as one of them.  He is  not torn away from them, as is Samgin, because there is no greater unity, than the unity between the leaders of  the  people  and the  something which meeting, Samgin,  people  Gorki  and i n e v e r y  conversation  is  constantly  superiority  of  the  the it  of  the  is  1905 Is  a misunderstanding,  historical make  p r o l e t a r i a n hero  events  a man l i k e K u t u z o v  unmask the  w e a k l i n g s of  Kutuzov  at  Is  actively  the  fights  characters  it  Is  best of  to  parts  deal  with  individually.  into  the  Ilya,  the  carpenter  This  the  Osip,  obvious pale  If  for  to  war)  the  Samgins.  they  are  Kutuzov  serve  to  too  Kalmykov,  the  includes  which  The r e s t  of  are  Dunaev,  people  on  stoker  dvornlk  stands  to  placed  workers the  the  representing  numerous  people  o l d stone-mason,  they  representative.  groups,  a n d many o t h e r  society  pathetic  Samgin,  Elizaveta Spivak,  revolutionary group,  segment of  and  and s p i r i t u a l l y t r u e ,  the  as  every  While d i f f i c u l t  reaction,  The f o l l o w i n g  the  the  lesson,  subdivide into  Lavrushka, Yurln,  At  r e v o l u t i o n a r y group  revolutionary group:  Opposite fold.  the  society,  whom K u t u z o v d e p e n d s :  the  over  which Samgin i s  w o r l d of  different  Poyarkov,  strong  head of  the  with  and a t r a g e d y .  (revolution,  Union,  himself.  intellectual.  a serious  Soviet  between Kutuzov  confronted  bourgeois  r e v o l u t i o n of  i n the  no d o u b t w i t n e s s e d  one  squirmings  themselves  Nikolai,  the  capitalistic  from  the  31.  highest  ranks,  Berdnikov,  as  active well  and D e n i s o v .  as  These  of  Imperial Russia,  by  a technical  Journalists, are  also  corps  Into  this  Preis in  with  civil  agitators, group. but  and t r a d e  the  most  People  without  means, carve  it  out  Dronov moves  is  to  become  rich  i n order  is  smarter  than they  of  society  to  Dronov  is  the  Klim's  life  are,  Join or  wretchedness  of  to  their  only character the  their  that  who  own  needs.  Gorki  look out for  social  He,  as  an  interest  developing  "workers'"  since  he d o e s  he for  was is  ladder.  not  a man  himself,  himself  above  who c o m e s  movement. probably  in  society.  He  wants  him t h a t  know w h i c h  like Tagilskii,  society,  novel.  a to  show t h o s e  bourgeois  throughout  philosophers,  c l a i m of  about  niche  up the  follow.  surrounded  preoccupied with  him to  but  rulers  l i k e Varavka regard  personages  a comfortable  successfully  Frolenko  included such people  plainly  up to  the  who a r e  buy them f o r  than worrying  quite  like  and gendarmes,  who d e s p i t e  horrendous  shown as  servants,  i n r e a l i t y more  who s t a t e s  the  actual  of  this  Dronov,  and to  "bosses"  scorn,  are  people  the  g r o u p c o u l d e v e n be  Marxism,  One o f  significant are  corps  of  l i k e V a r a v k a and  characters  and S t r a t o n o v ,  industry  less  lawyers,  part  this  industrialists,  but into  cannot  he part  understands leave  contact  They b o t h s t u d i e d  it.  with with  32.  V  T o m i l i n , who begins as a s k e p t i c and an I n d i v i d u a l i s t , but ends prophesying C h r i s t i a n i t y ; worked f o r Varavka, and g r e e t the February r e v o l u t i o n .  Dronov i s r e a l l y  i n s e p a r a b l e from the world r e p r e s e n t e d by Samgin, f o r he c o u l d never b r i n g h i m s e l f t o l e a v e I t behind. C l o s e l y r e l a t e d t o the capitalists, but not s u f f e r i n g  from the same d e l u s i o n s , t h e r e e x i s t s y e t another group. F o r s a l v a t i o n i t t u r n s toward nihilism, skepticism,  and  I n one case l e a d t o strange Utopian c o n c l u s i o n s about Marina Z o t o v a ' s , i n the n o v e l .  one o f the most i n t e r e s t i n g  life-  personages  She appears throughout most of the t h i r d  volume while K l i m t r i e s t o uncover her system of behaviour, as he does w i t h many o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s .  Marina more than  anyone i s symbolic of the " o l d " R u s s i a which i s I n the process of crumbling.  She i s c l e v e r , s e l f - a s s u r e d ,  and her beauty c o n s t a n t l y t a n t a l i z e s K l i m . to unmask her as w e l l .  rich,  Y e t he manages  She I s a member of a f a n a t i c  r e l i g i o u s s e c t , and a f t e r w i t n e s s i n g her b i z a r r e behaviour d u r i n g a r i t u a l i s t i c performance, her weakness, Samgin d e p a r t s . of t h i s group.  and thus d i s c o v e r i n g  L i u t o v I s a l s o a member  He regards the bourgeois world w i t h  skepticism,  he laughs a t the l i b e r a l i n t e l l i g e n t s i a f o r a w a i t i n g a c o n s t i t u t i o n , but he does not break away from h i s m e r c a n t i l e  c l a s s , and possesses the d e n i g r a t i n g c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h a t c l a s s — c o u r s e n e s s t o h i s u n d e r l i n g s , and a d e s i r e to  cheat even people he knows, such as Turoboev, from whom  he buys l a n d .  He i s a l s o conscious o f , and f e a r s an  u p r i s i n g by the masses, but hides behind a clown's mask from h i s f e l l o w s .  He does d i s c a r d i t w i t h Alena, the  woman he l o v e s , but she does n o t r e c o g n i z e the b i t t e r n e s s , shame, and sorrow which e x i s t e d i n him, u n t i l a f t e r h i s tragic suicide.  Turoboev, belongs here, b u t he i s a  member of the n o b i l i t y , and i s t h e r e f o r e even f a r t h e r removed from r e a l i t y , extremely p e s s i m i s t i c . it,  something which causes him t o become He has r e j e c t e d l i f e as he sees  n o t h i n g i n i t b o t h e r s him, and he adopts the o n l y  philosophy open t o him, f a t a l i s m and n i h i l i s m . a l s o d i e s t r a g i c a l l y , h i t by a s o l d i e r ' s s t r a y in  Turoboev bullet  1905. From a p r e s e n t a t i o n of the few p h y s i o g n o m i c a l l y  memorable c h a r a c t e r s found i n the n o v e l , I w i l l t u r n toward the  d e s c r i p t i v e passages which occur i n the book, some of  which are i n c i s i v e and comprehensive, and worthy of mention. Perhaps the most powerful of a l l , and the one which s p r i n g s to  mind f i r s t ,  i s G o r k i ' s d e s c r i p t i o n of an E a s t e r r e l i g i o u s  s e r v i c e which memorably impresses Samgin, and which i s  34.  written with a beauty so unlike Gorki, so f i l l e d with warmth and s e n s i t i v i t y , that Russian c r i t i c s were at a loss.  They could not c r i t i c i z e a renowned proletarian  writer l i k e Gorki, and yet they could not allow such r e l i g i o u s description to be Ignored or unpurged, because of  the possible harm i t contained, which could adversely  influence Soviet youth.  Klim's f i r s t a r r i v a l In Petersburg,  as a p r o v i n c i a l , warned against the dangers of a shrewd, big  c i t y , i s described with symbolic overtones.  The  gloomy, damp, muffled images are reminiscent of Dostoevski. Kllm*s r i d e through the c i t y does not a l l e v i a t e the impression of glumness, and the same tone i s used i n the description of his lodgings and the meeting with his brother, who  has  aged so much i n four years that Samgin recognizes only his  eyes.  Bauman's funeral, i s a scene of force and vigour.  Gorki e f f e c t i v e l y envisages the crowd as a monolithic s h u f f l i n g moster, from whose bowels issue the deep, muffled sounds of revolution. Gorki masterfully describes the marching crowd on the 9 t h of January, a mass which walks with determination into a wall of s o l d i e r s .  He  manages to show the awakening indignation and animosity of  the marching crowd, more than j u s t i f i e d by the brutal  maleficent cossacks, negligently s p i l l i n g blood with t h e i r  35.  sabres.  I was also impressed with, and enjoyed reading  the description of the f i n a l scene i n volume three, when Samgin witnesses the frenzied, nightmarish performance of Marina and her sect. Unfortunately, the myriad acquaintances and characters whom Samgin contacts, have not received exceptional characterizations of t h e i r inner beings.  Gorki has an  undeniable g i f t f o r capturing external appearances, but one would hope f o r mbre, i n support of an inconsequential main hero. who  Instead, they are f l a t , d u l l representations  serve as v e h i c l e s f o r the expression of Gorki's  p o l i t i c a l , and philosophical ideas.  They exist primarily  to convey i d e o l o g i c a l ramblings, which Gorki must have enjoyed putting on paper, but as f a r as being characterizations of human beings p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n relationships, they are abject f a i l u r e s .  One supposes Gorki had his reasons  f o r w r i t i n g In such a manner.  The term " i n t e l l e c t u a l ; ?  to him was synonymous to the odious term "burgher;? Gorki was an avowed enemy of individualism i n his l a t e r stage, and i n t h i s novel he begins with a v i l i f i c a t i o n of the entire family of the Samgins, who  represent the  " i l l n e s s " of individualism. Theoretically, the author was to show bankrupt p h i l i s t i n e ideology, and the  psychology of the individualistic members of Russian society who were holding back socialistic revolutionary development.  A l l Gorki achieved is a very tedious book,  a view of a part of society which he did not understand and despised.  Basically, Gorki was suffering from the  problem of his own intellectuality coming into conflict with the Irrational, inhuman brutality of the Communist party, and as a result he began to write this book, In order to convert himself toward the party's simple, straightforward ideology, which could not stand close rational scrutiny, without paying undue attention to i t s harsh treatment of the population.  His inability to finish  the book, Is an indication that he never resolved his own personal dilemma.  While he was writing "The Life of  Klim SamginjV Gorki must have admitted to himself that he had produced an Imposture, a sick work, and i t remains unfinished.  At the time i t was being written, there may  have existed a need for a chronological historical novel of this type to satiate the curiosity of the newly risen Soviets about their recent historical past, and the book was Instantly acclaimed as a socio-phllosophical masterpiece. Unfortunately, the four volume novel is a failure as an objective presentation of the conflicts which preoccupied  the Russian intelligentsia.  Gorki's main character,  Klim Samgin, alternately a l i b e r a l intellectual, at times reactionary, at times non-political, is a completely negative character, and is condemned in the novel to failure because of the contradictions inherent in him.  To Gorki, liberal  intellectuals participated avidly in self-deception, hypocrisy, snobbery, lacked interest and ability to participate in politics, and thrived as spineless, useless creatures, who thought themselves invaluable. that he presents his anti-hero.  It is in this light  Gorki does not discuss  historical occurrences outright, but shows them through his characters, their involvement and reaction to these events.  It was his intention to include members from a l l  parts of society,  so that the novel would be a variegated  picture of the existing opinions of the time.  He tried "  to promote a repudiation of a l l the gross errors committed by the Russian people i n the past.  With "The Life of  Klim Samgin j ** he wanted to begin anew for the future, and to solve his own personal dilemma of l i f e , but Instead, he wasted the material available to him, and produced a calamitous, lifeless work.  CHAPTER I I I  Ivan Bunin was born i n t o a landowning, impoverished  although  noble f a m i l y i n I 8 7 O i n V o r o n e z h .  G o r k i , Bunin enjoyed  1  Unlike  a f o r m a l education, but without  g r a d u a t i n g , because of a r e b e l l i o u s s p i r i t which c o u l d not stand to be c o n f i n e d by o f f i c i a l d o m .  Bunin remained  I n Voronezh o n l y three y e a r s , a f t e r which time h i s f a t h e r ' p a s s i o n f o r wine and c a r d gambling, as w e l l as the f a m i l y ' d i m i n i s h i n g i f not d e p l e t e d means, f o r c e d a move to the l a s t remaining  f a m i l y e s t a t e of B u t y r k i , which was deep  i n s i d e R u s s i a , a R u s s i a of f o r e s t s and f i e l d s which surrounded and enchanted the young Bunin, and which he was t o recount  l a t e r , l y r i c a l l y , with ripe perfection,  I n "The L i f e o f Arsenev.1  His father, according to h i s  own d e s c r i p t i o n , was s t r o n g , k i n d , n o t much g i v e n to l o g i c o r l e a r n i n g , b u t an a v i d r e a d e r .  A t the time when the  R u s s i a n e s t a t e s were c o l l a p s i n g and the o l d order was decaying,  he c o n s i s t e n t l y played the complete nobleman,  l i v i n g a b s u r d l y beyond h i s means, and i n d l u g l n g i n pastime which kept him outdoors life.  and p e r m i t t e d him a l o n g l e i s u r e l y  H i s mother, by h i s own d e s c r i p t i o n , was v e r y k i n d ,  s t a u n c h l y r e l i g i o u s , g e n t l e , s e n s i t i v e , and extremely a t t a c h e d t o her c h i l d r e n .  She was n o t as f o r t u n a t e as  h i s f a t h e r i n h e a l t h , and f o r the l a s t twenty years of  her l i f e suffered from asthma.  Biographical material is  readily available on Bunin, so I w i l l not expound further, other than to mention two of the works produced abroad which preceded "The Life of Arsenev."  The f i r s t is "The  Rose of Ierikhon," a collection of short stories which appeared i n 1924, and which surprisingly did not touch upon revolution, or the events which Bunin had so recently witnessed, but delved Into more metaphysical subjects, preponderant among which was death, later to occupy a large part of the philosophical consideration in "The Life of Arsenev."  The other is "Mitya's Love," a poignant,  and b r i l l i a n t l y written novellette with a very simple plot, but dealing with universal human problems of love, misunderstanding, and death.  It is an impressive psychological  study, and foreshadowed the main work with which I am going to deal. "The Life of Arsenev," has been praised by almost a l l c r i t i c s , whether they be Soviet or Emigre, as a work of exclusive beauty, merit, and as the testament of a man in Russian literature whose command of the Russian language w i l l not soon be equalled.  It is hard to describe the  work as a novel because of i t s poetic, and impressionistic qualities.  It is rather a combination of beautiful  tableaus which b r i n g to l i f e , the  tell vividly,  and  particularize  t h o u g h t s , r e f l e c t i o n s , and c o n s i d e r a t i o n s o f A r s e n e v -  Bunin.  I n t h e words of Fedor  Stepun,  . . . I t i s a p h i l o s o p h i c a l poem, o r a s y m p h o n i c p a i n t i n g . . . . T h e s t r e n g t h and e s s e n c e o f A r s e n e v i s t h a t i n h i m two themes e n c o u n t e r and b l e n d : the m e t a p h y s i c a l - p s y c h o l o g i c a l theme o f b r i n g i n g to l i g h t Bunin*s r e c o l l e c t i o n s t o s e r v e p o s t e r i t y , and t h e h i s t o r i c a l - r e a l i s t i c theme o f t h e d o w n f a l l of t s a r i s t R u s s i a . 2  I w o u l d s u g g e s t t h a t i t i s more a p r e s e n t a t i o n o f particular l i f e ,  one  w i t h d e s c r i p t i o n s o f modes o f l i f e ,  and  h i s t o r i c a l e v e n t s as an a d J u n e t o r y b a c k g r o u n d , w h i c h comes i n t o t h e w i d e n i n g s p h e r e o f v i s i o n o f a n d e v e l o p i n g h e r o , b u t more a b o u t t h a t l a t e r . is  s u c h t h a t i t m u s t be a p p r o a c h e d  r e a d s i n a t t e n t i v e l y , o r s k i m s , one i m p r e s s i o n o f the book. to one  internally  Bunin*s a r t I f one  i s l e f t w i t h no  strong  However, i f one t a k e s t h e t i m e  r e a d i n a d e l i b e r a t e , p r o t r a c t e d , d i u t u r n a l manner, c a n s a v o u r e a c h s e p a r a t e image,  rhythms is  correctly.  slowly  and n u a n c e s  and d e l i g h t i n t h e  of the language which u n f o r t u n a t e l y , i t  almost Impossible to t r a n s l a t e .  Z i n a l d a G i p p l u s comments  o n t h e k e e n and s h a r p p o w e r s o f o b s e r v a t i o n w h i c h a l l o w e d B u n i n t o produce  s u c h a work:  B u n i n i s c o n n e c t e d w i t h t h e R u s s i a n s o l i and w i t h t h e R u s s i a n p e o p l e by a m y s t e r i o u s i n n e r t i e . . . . H i s a r t i s t i c v i s i o n i s m o s t a c u t e . I know o f no o t h e r w r i t e r w i t h such v i s i o n . The k e e n e s s o f h i s v i s i o n i m p r e s s e s t h e r e a d e r m o s t . Does B u n i n m e r e l y r e l a t e ? No, he d o e s n o t . Q u i e t l y , and a l m o s t i m p e r c e p t i b l y , he f o r c e s u s t o s e e w h a t he h i m s e l f s e e s . 3  "The Life of Arsenev;* covers the events and proceedings 1  of almost half a century of Russian development, but with a completely different method of presentation to Gorki's attempt.  Bunin, because he was cut off from Russia,  utilizes his memory, and the recollections of his youth and adolescenece, but the book is not simply a memoir, even though i t cannot be denied that Bunin used his own l i f e , parents, and position as a basis for the novel. It remains a "contrived** syllabus of recollections, honed and transformed by great artistry.  It is now concurred,  in fact, that many persons and places in the novel have r e a l - l i f e prototypes.  Bunin's father Aleksei Nikolaevich,  becomes Aleksander Sergeevich Arsenev in the novel.  His  brother Y u l i i , who became a populist, becomes Georgil i n the novel, an eternal student who hobs-nobs with forward thinking members of the s t a t i s t i c a l corps.  His other  brother Evgenii, becomes Nikolai, who settles into a stable married l i f e .  His grandmother's estate (Ozerino)  becomes Baturino, his teacher Ramashkov becomes Baskakov, the farmhouse (Butyrki) becomes Kamenka, and so forth. Bunin*s romantic involvements with a neighbour's maidservant Emilia, (Ankhen), and the d i f f i c u l t , almost tragic, sensitive affair with Vera Pashchenko, which is described with  greats-potency and v i t a l i t y in the f i f t h part—Lika, are a l l taken from actual experiences.  Bunin's wife, V. V.  Muromtseva, i n her memoirs rejected the concept that "The Life of Arsenev", is autobiographical, especially the part about Lika, however, her reaction may be biased. Bunin himself would becomes incensed when i t was said at times that "The Life of Arsenev" is autobiographical, but a quotation from M. Aldanov who knew him well, settles the problem. Of course Arsenev is not Bunin, but there is very much of Bunin i n him; his thoughts, his feelings, his views of l i f e , and his relations with people.4 It must be pointed out that the novel is not only a l y r i c a l and emotional retelling of a Russia on the wane which remained in the mind of the author, but the events which occur in the l i f e of Arsenev are used in such a way that they are transformed into the lifelong questionings of "everyman" about l i f e , love, and death.  The book begins  with the f i r s t Impressions of the youthful and adolescent Arsenev: his l i f e on the estate, his pride for his f i r s t boots and whip, and his f i r s t glimpse of the strange adult world where such things exist as murderers and prisoners. Arsenev's venture away from home as a boarder i n the house  of a merchant, his experiences in school, his pride i n his new uniform and books, his inimitable natural surroundings impoverished manor houses, his sojourn in the provincial hotel for nobles with his father, his f i r s t horse, and hunt, delicately provide the atmosphere which molds his moral and philosophical conceptions.  Descriptions in general  are such that they mingle imperceptibly with the story line, and serve only to accentuate i t .  The passing away of the  nobility is shown veiled with sadness, dejection, and weariness.  Here one dramatic scene inculcates indelibly  on the mind the stultification and end of an epoch in Russian history.  It is Arsenev's witnessing of the burial  of the Grand Duke Nikolai Nikolaevich abroad, which is alternated with his memories of the Duke as a dashing, powerful figure travelling in a sumptuous Imperial train. Polychromes of schoolmasters, peasants, their children, merchants, statisticians,  editors, redolent masses,  for which he feels some aversion, etc., etc., Arsenev-Bunin's keen observations.  reveal  That which makes  these images remain in our minds, is Bunin's command and use of his language.  Everything has been condensed u n t i l  there is only the essential left to present a sharp picture.  Bunin was in the habit of constantly reworking  his material, and as he changed with time, so he would t r y to amend his works. The beautiful panorama which permeates the book, and f i l l s i t with the sights, sounds, and smells of a l i v i n g Russia would have been a considerable achievement i n i t s e l f , but Bunin u t i l i z e s i t f o r the development of the protagonist, Alexel Arsenev, from early youth u n t i l his f i r s t serious romantic involvement with Lika.  Through  the various parts of the book, Arsenev's philosophy of l i f e gradually emerges.  He i s very d e f i n i t e l y part of  the n o b i l i t y , and his sentiments l i e with c l a s s . He i s conscious of his family's long, noble ancestry, and he i s proud of the name he c a r r i e s .  He i s thoroughly i n  favour of everything Russian, be i t a peasant with whom he hitches a ride, or the Baskakov family, representing a staunch middle class Russia, with whom he shares simple food, or as a helper to the peasants i n the f i e l d , working with a scythe himself, he seems to blend e a s i l y into d i f f e r e n t s o c i a l strata, and at the same time remains aloof from them.  Later on, he voices his regret and sorrow  at the passing of the Russia he had experienced, and wonders why  a l l those who were so fervently Russian d i d not come  to i t s a i d and defence.  He asks about the pride which  existed i n every Russian: ...what became of i t l a t e r when Russia was perishing? Why d i d we not defend a l l that which we so proudly c a l l e d Russian, and i n the strength and truth of which i t seemed we were so convinced?5 With h i s brother's c i r c l e of friends, he meets and discusses, but does not share t h e i r ideas, and i n f a c t i s angered by many of them.  He i s very scornful of common people  with revolutionary tendencies, as exemplified by h i s description of a man c a l l e d Melnik: He was scrubby, lean, rickety, of sandy yellow colour, blear-eyed and snuffling, but extremely v i o l e n t and self-opionated; many years after to my complete surprise, he turned out to be a great personage, some kind of "corn dictator"...° Arsenev was much more of an I d e a l i s t than h i s brother's acquaintances, craving "goodness, humaness, j u s t i c e . " 7 He abhorred any r e s t r i c t i o n s being placed on human a c t i v i t y , which people at these meetings suggested.  He could not  see himself devoting a l i f e t i m e to bringing out and edifying drunken peasants, or working f o r a nameless community. In the descriptions of Arsenev's l i f e , h i s family, and travels, there i s no f e e l i n g of movement of h i s t o r i c a l time.  Everything that Arsenev sees and describes seems  as eternal as a gravure, and can be compared to Proust*s **A l a Becherch du Temps Perdu, ** except that i t i s strongly n a t i o n a l i s t i c , i n opposition to Proust's more cosmopolitan approach, and can best be understood by a Russian reader. In plan, the novel covers approximately twenty four years of the author's l i f e , from b i r t h u n t i l his parting with Lika, but i n a c t u a l i t y i t goes much farther, with references to the history of the Arsenev family, and emigre commentary i n the chapters on youth, r i g h t up to his obviously more mature l i t e r a r y period.  Another  p a r t i c u l a r i t y of the book, i s the absence of nearly any dialogue.  In the f i r s t four books there i s v i r t u a l l y  none, and i t i s only i n the f i f t h , dealing with Lika, that some appears.  This i s because the novel deals almost  exclusively with the i n t e r n a l development of i t s major character.  I t i s the story of the formation of his world,  and i t i s invaluable, because i t enables us to peer into the inner sanctum of a writer. Through the novel the theme of "death,'*, which I previously mentioned, runs l i k e an undercurrent, and i t i s necessary to discuss i t i n order to understand the other two themes, l i f e and love, which eventually triumph. From the f i r s t page, Arsenev-Bunin  explains that one's  consciousness of death, enables one to appreciate l i f e more.  He is one of those people who live i n constant  thought about and preoccupation with death.  Death occurs  many times In the novel, and each time causes Arsenev to question l i f e .  The f i r s t such episode occurs with the  tragedy of the shepherd boy Senka, who Is crushed by his horse, followed by the death of Aliosha's l i t t l e sister Nadya, and the death of his grandmother.  One of the more  vivid parts of the book is the extinction of a handsome, part-gipsy, neighbouring landowner, whose l i f e is extinguished suddenly and without prupose.  Arsenev recoils  from the horror of this death, but i t is interesting to note that rather than express condolences, he thinks of himself, and ponders the value of l i f e , which can be taken away with such ease.  It is not u n t i l much later,  when he is present at the death of the Grand Duke i n Prance, already in exile, does he break down, and weep passionately, and ends book four with a roaring, booming, description of the night, of the mistral which wafts u p h i l l , and the irresistable, incontestable,  fluxing,  cataclysmic, surging powers of Nature, i n front of which he makes the sign of the Cross. Death is such a pervasive subject with Arsenev^Bunin,  that the f i f t h part, "Lika," which deals with Arsenev's • love f o r a woman, i s not exclusive of i t . In several instances the author brings i n "death," even when i t i s not i n the sequence of events, such as the thoughts of the young Arsenev about his mother, into which l a t e r memories of her death are injected And i s i t r e a l l y possible that she whose eyeless s k u l l and grey bones are l y i n g somewhere there, i n the church-yard grove of an out-of-the-way Russian town, at the bottom of a now nameless grave, i s i t r e a l l y possible that she i t was who used once to rock me i n her arms...8 In the same way,  he describes the deaths of N i k o l a i  Nlkolaevich and Lika, events which are actually outside the scope of the book. The theme of love, which i s the second great theme i n t h i s work, constantly either appears before death scenes or crosses them, so that the two  intertwine.  After Arsenev's f i r s t episode i n love with Ankhen, when i n a sledge on a wintry night he f o r the f i r s t time holds her hand and experiences an awkard k i s s , the following chapter describes Pisarev's unexpected death.  On his  second encounter with love, i n the editor's o f f i c e of "The Voice," when he i s f i r s t introduced to Lika,  who  became a passionate and exasperating experience in his l i f e , immediately following i n the next chapter, is the Imperial train with the young Duke aboard, with the body of his father, an incident which almost by destiny passes through Arsenev's l i f e .  What It is important to note,  is that love remains triumphant when i t is Juxtaposed with death.  It wins out, It becomes lneradicably rooted in  Arsenev's memory, and leaves only pleasant rememoratlve evocations in him for the rest of his l i f e . Here i t would be opportune to analyze Arsenev's feelings and relations with people, especially his family, and the women who appear in his l i f e .  He is  primarily and irrevocably attached to his family, with his most tender feelings and sympathies directed toward his father, from early days when he was a symbol of courage and straightforwardness, until much later when through irrational actions and drink he had ruined the family, Arsenev would at an instant forgive him. For his mother he had in his own words "the bitterest love of a l l my l i f e " .  9  Mother was to me, among a l l the rest, quite a special being, inseparable from my own, and I probably noticed and felt her at the same time as myself.10  He makes friends easily without distinction of class: a l i t t l e under-herdsman, Baskakov his tutor, Glebochka, etc.  With the peasants he has an easy manner, and they  in turn seem to like him.  It is perhaps right to point  out that his attitude to the peasants is such as i t i s , only as long as they remain within their own framework, a predestined place with which they should be content. His brothers, who were older than him, and thus living in a different world, he regards with tremendous pride, and probably as any youth, hopes to emulate them. He is i n closer contact with Georgii, who encourages him to study, causes him great distress when he is banished for "socialist" activities,  and i n the end brings him into  a society i n Kharkov, which he had not previously known. His feelings toward, and relationships with women, the expression of love, and its presentation as one of the most powerful and all-consuming feelings man is capable of experiencing, is another of the more striking features in the novel.  For Arsenev, this feeling, together with  the feeling of physical attractiveness for "woman" begins at an early age.  His f i r s t inkling or response to the  female form occurs when he sees his brother Nikolai with a pretty, slender peasant g i r l , Sashka, and then these  51  Incomprehensible feelings Intensify and are committed to memory when he sees her talking to his mother one day on the porch of the manor.  He next becomes conscious of  g i r l s during his school days: an evening b a l l , the recollections of which intoxicated him, and his introduction to Nalya, a g i r l with whom he f a l l s in love sight unseen.  His f i r s t  exploratory contact with the opposite sex comes with Ankhen, a young German g i r l .  That interlude lasted an  entire winter, following which he comes under the sway of a new love, Lisa Bibilova, up to his f i r s t complete physical union with the alluring peasant g i r l Tonka, an event which rightly revolutionized his world.  The  portraits of the women i n this book are truly marvellous. They f i l l Arsenev with mysterious romantically veiled feelings toward feminity, f i r s t of youth, then of adolescence.  Each episode is one of passionate yet  discreet images which lead the very sensitive Arsenev toward his stirring and momentous romance with Llka.  Lika is an exceptional work which has evolved from a memory sharpened by time and anguish.  It is not a  work without a few minor faults, but the overall impression i t produces, overwhelms its shortcomings. It is an emotive, heart-expanding, poignant work, i t is afflicting and moving, and perhaps what is most Important, i t is meticulously honest.  As i t was  published as a separate work when i t appeared for the f i r s t time, I w i l l also treat i t as such, even though i t is obviously Intertwined with the story line of the four "books" previous to i t .  Arsenev f i r s t meets  Lika, for whom a state of expectation has been gradually prepared through his preceding encounters, and who becomes the climatic event of his early l i f e and relationships, at the end of book four, and their seemingly ordinary romance, develops into a quite extraordinary work.  What is not ordinary is the  manner of presentation, a sensitive emotional manifestation of recollections, veiled with regrets, common to a l l mankind, when i t is too late to go back and correct or change situations and events the importance of which one was not cognizant of at the time they were occurring.  "Lika,? is infused with the  e g o i s t i c a l l y c a l l o u s behaviour of Arsenev-Bunln which he does not r e c o g n i z e  as such at the time, t h i n k i n g  of i t merely as h i s search f o r freedom, and only a p p r a i s i n g I t a c c u r a t e l y from a much l a t e r  period.  Again, as i n the other f o u r books, the most Important p a r t o f the work I s the r e l a t i o n s h i p and development of the two main p e r s o n a l i t i e s , w i t h the support of various  smaller characters  L i k a ' s f a t h e r and b r o t h e r , which he r e t u r n s  such as A r s e n e v s 1  brother,  and Arsenev's f a m i l y , to  i n h i s b i t t e r e s t moment, t o f i n d i t  i n c r e d i b l y , i n h i s eyes, aged, b r u t a l l y impoverished, i n d e s o l a t i o n , and a t the end of l i f e . When I t h i n k of my f a t h e r , I always f e e l r e p e n t a n t . I t always seems t h a t I d i d n o t v a l u e and l o v e him enough. Each time I f e e l g u i l t y t h a t I know too l i t t l e about h i s l i f e , e s p e c i a l l y h i s y o u t h — I made too l i t t l e e f f o r t to f i n d out about i t , when i t was p o s s i b l e ! I c o n s t a n t l y attempt, and y e t cannot f u l l y understand, what k i n d o f a man he was, — a man of a s p e c i a l century, of a s p e c i a l generation....11 H i s involvement w i t h L l k a , serves point f o r his f i r s t  step,  manhood and m a t u r i t y .  as the s t a r t i n g  and then entrechment i n t o  From t h e i r e a r l y meetings i n  her f a t h e r ' s house, ( a l i b e r a l d o c t o r ) , where he would  spend an entire day content to s i t and look at her, entranced by his variegated feelings of growing love for her, they Journey to the end of an affair which affected Arsenev-Bunin in a very strong and lasting manner.  Her father warns them against a conciliatory  union, in which there was no future, but despite his advice, they both contrive to meet in Orel, and spend a winter there, where she is not yet completely committed toward Arsenev, who experiences great and shattering jealousies when she is complimented by other men, especially in a finely described scene of an evening b a l l , because of his as yet orderless and fluxional character. Their l i f e together is Interrupted temporarily with the arrival of her father from the provinces, with an eligible suitor in tow, who would be able to support Lika, unlike the materially impoverished poet. His pride stung by her seemingly frivolous behaviour, Arsenev does not stop her from leaving town with her father, despite her rejection of the suitor.  During  his period of loneliness, Arsenev travels In the expectation of something, any development or incident to occupy his mind, but in time sends a telegram to  L l k a , who o f f e r s h e r s e l f t o him f o r e v e r . for  In h i s love  L i k a which i s s i n c e r e , there i s much t h a t i s  egotistical.  When f u l l y convinced of her l o v e f o r him,  Arsenev enjoys o t h e r women, and even r e l a t e s these incidents to Llka.  He t r a v e l s without her, o f t e n  l e a v i n g her alone, and a f t e r vowing once never t o t r a v e l a g a i n , w i t h i n the next few days, c a s u a l l y , i s off  again.  T h i s i s r e m i n i s c e n t of Bunin i n r e a l  life  who i n h i s egregiousness d i d not want women t o make demands on him, and as he expresses c l e a r l y i n the book* " I t seemed t o me t h a t I l o v e d her so much t h a t e v e r y t h i n g was allowed me, e v e r y t h i n g was f o r g i v e a b l e . * 1 2 V. V e i d l e wrote about t h i s same matter, but I do not agree w i t h h i s o p i n i o n s wholeheartedly. The t r a g i c d i s c o r d , whose end r e s u l t I s L i k a ' s death, and the opening o f a never t o be healed wound I n the s o u l o f Arsenev, i s brought about by n o t h i n g more than the t h i r s t of c r e a t i v i t y , which g i v e s b i r t h t o such greed f o r l i f e , t h a t i t i n e v i t a b l y s p i l l s over the borders o f the contents o f one i n d i v i d u a l l i f e . No matter how r e a l Arsenev's l o v e may be, L i k a cannot be i t s only o b j e c t . . . through her i t t u r n s t o e v e r y t h i n g i n the w o r l d . H i s s i n f u l behaviour to L l k a develops through a l l i t s stages not because of the a t o m i z i n g of h i s a t t e n t i o n s o r f e e l i n g s , b u t because of the a b s o r p t i o n of h i s e n t i r e b e i n g by t h a t same, once and f o r always set a r t i s t i c problem.13  I do not entirely agree, especially with the last part of that statement, "but rather feel that i t was Arsenev-Bunin's youthful immaturity which prompted the indifference and disregard for the interests and feelings of his loved one, in the later part of their affair, which causes its breakup, and which he w i l l later passionately regret.  As Lika says to him:  Only you are too severe toward me. Each of my dreams you c a l l t r i v i a l , deprive me of everything, and yet do not refuse yourself anything.1^ After Lika leaves him, his surrounding becomes f u t i l e , achromatic, etiolated, irrelevant, and f i l l e d with despair.  The sights which had previously induced  blissful happiness now become faded, sombre, bleak. His train carriage becomes fetid, humdrum, boring; his home is in miserable and barbaric deterioration; he is f i l l e d with remorse, guilt, sorrow, dejection, and from this point, w i l l begin the expansion and progression of his a r t i s t i c substantiality,  his being.  He finds out in the following spring, that she had died within a week after leaving him, but wanted i t to remain a secret.  He ends the book with a dream of his beloved  Lika, a final avowal of the recurrent thematic  postulation that love surmounts and prospers over the dismay and loathsomeness of death, that their felicitious enchanted joint l i f e , which he then did not treat with enough care, remains imprinted in his memory forever, untouched by time... . . . I saw her hazily, but with such strong love, joy, with such corporeal and spiritual nearness, as I had never before experienced toward anyone, ever.15 The genius of Bunin's writing is that he shows us an as yet inexperienced, bristling, sensuous youth who is going through the pains of growing up.  A fact that tends  to get obscured by the emotional force expressed in the relationship between Lika and Arsenev is that he is after a l l , only twenty years old.  At that age he  suffers ignominiously the slightest Infringements on his pride.  He is constantly being hurt by the most  delicate occurrences, an officer delaying Lika's hand In his own as an example, but when he has come irrevocably, in his mind, in f u l l possession of Lika, through youthful v i t a l i t y and In search of different experiences, he branches out into travel and the unavoidable physical attraction and experimentation with other women.  Lika is more mature than her male counterpart, and i t is only because of her, after she leaves him, that Arsenev goes through a complete reappraisal of his position.  His emotional contact with Lika, especially  after she left him, and he learned of her death, causes him to become firmly entrenched in that direction of l i f e which allowed him to recollect the value of what he had held in his hands.  When he does understand what  he had lost In Lika, only then does he step into a period of maturity.  Arsenev is a character with an  ever widening perception of the world and this perception is greatly expanded by Lika.  Even though  she was fully and emphatically in love with him, she realized that because of his youth, his poetic nature, and. his egocentric p a r t i c u l a r i t i e s , he was not ready to embark with her towards the l i f e which she envisaged. Their relationship, either when they are together or apart, demonstrates their individual personalities. Lika hopes eventually for marriage and children. However this was an alien idea, at least at that time, to the free-soaring Arsenev-Bunln.  She disagrees with  him on art forms, cannot understand his hatred of the theatre, nor does she understand his poetry which she  c a l l s c o n s t a n t d e s c r i p t i o n s of w e a t h e r .  Arsenev, i n  h i s t u r n admits t h a t he i s n o t an easy p e r s o n t o with,  live  t h a t he has v e r y s t r o n g and d e f i n i t e v i e w s on  what l i f e s h o u l d be l i k e ,  how i t " e n r a p t u r e s *  1  h i m , but  h i s methods f o r a t t a i n i n g t h i s l i f e , a t h i s e a r l y preclude others from p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n i t . the few c o n v e r s a t i o n s  age,  I n one of  i n the book w i t h L i k a ,  he  explains his views: People c o n s t a n t l y 'await good f o r t u n e , something i n t e r e s t i n g , dream of some j o y , of some e v e n t . That i s the a t t r a c t i o n of the open r o a d . Then freedom, s p a c i o u s n e s s . . . n o v e l t y , w h i c h i s always f e s t i v e , e l e v a t e s the f e e l i n g of l i f e , and t h i s i s a f t e r a l l what we a l l want, s e a r c h f o r i n every strong f e e l i n g . 1 6 There are a few i n t e r e s t i n g comments on A r s e n e v ' s methods of d e s c r i p t i o n and methods of s e e i n g surroundings.  He would j o t down fragmented  his impressions,  and t h e n s o l i d i f y them on the s t r e n g t h of h i s  language.  To writeJ One s h o u l d w r i t e about r o o f s , g a l o s h e s , b a c k s , and not at a l l " t o s t r u g g l e a g a i n s t a r b i t r a r y r u l e and v i o l e n c e , to defend the downtrodden and d e s t i t u t e , t o p o r t r a y v i v i d c h a r a c t e r s , t o p a i n t embracing p i c t u r e s of the contemporary w o r l d , p u b l i c s e n t i m e n t s and t r e n d s ! " 17 His observations  he r e g a r d s not as an e x e m p l i f i c a t i o n  of a g r e a t e r s o c i a l comment, but s i m p l y as an I m p r e s s i o n  of an object which is a r t i s t i c a l l y valid by i t s e l f .  His  descriptions of nature, which I have not yet dealt with, I leave.for the next chapter, where they can be more advantageously displayed, when placed beside the methods utilized by Gorki.  CHAPTER IV  Gorki began his literary career with descriptions of tramps gleaned from his travels about southern Russia. He quickly progressed to the position of Romantic Revolutionary and Social Realist.  While Gorki was doubting his position  on Bolshevism, and thus lived abroad* Bunin at the same time was ignored and hushed up by the Soviets.  Abroad,  Gorki entered the realm of Western literature with his early writings, but i n his later period, he reverted to local themes.  Bunin on the other hand emerged as a  humanist, as a writer whose works have become not only Russian, but supranational classics.  As I have mentioned  before, one of the difficulties i n comparing the two works, is that they are written i n different genres, i n epic and l y r i c a l keys.  This situation, however, does not  i n any way impede a comparative analysis of what each author was trying to achieve: a perception and visualization of l i f e around them, and its presentation to the reader. One can see, after reading the "Life of Klim Samgin," that i t was an attempt by Gorki to take stock of himself. As he developed from his rebellion against Russian society, through his period of hostility for the bourgeois intelligentsia which could not stop whining at the misfortune of their circumstances, to the position of public crier of Social  Realism, and a sympathizer of Bolshevism and Lenin; his rationality and the intelleotualism, which he had gained through his assiduous and voracious reading, estranged him from that ideology which he was supposedly representing. The awesome power of the dictator to Inflict terror and confine freedom frightened Gorki, and he turned to the preservation of Russian culture and tradition. at lienin's request he emigrated abroad.  In 1925  In  1921  he began  to write "The Life of Klim Samgin," in order to appraise, c r i t i c i z e , evaluate, and resolve the anti-communist feelings which he had engendered in  1917*  I w i l l now compare and contrast the structure of the two works, and the authors' attitude toward the reader; Gorki's and Bunin's view of the upper-class family, and the upbringing and ensuing development of the chief characters in those surroundings; the behaviour of both characters toward women, as one of the themes which emerges from both works; the authors' way of looking at, describing, and using the natural world which surrounds them; the manner in which secondary characters are developed by Gorki; the authors' language and style, and f i n a l l y , how each work succeeds or f a i l s i n the presentation of a Russian intellectual. I w i l l begin by analyzing the diverse presentations  of history and historical backgrounds as one of the themes existing in both works.  For Gorki, the theme of history  looms i n the work as a foreplan.  It serves as the spring-  board from which the main hero vaults into society, and which causes his ensuing development. r e a l i s t i c , and effectively  so.  Gorki's style is  In fact, the descriptions  of the mass scenes are one of the strong points of the novel.  Bunin has a completely different approach.  His  novel is impressionistic, made up of partial and segmented observations which are then knitted into a complete, i f diffused picture.  Historical events are not explicitly  revealed, they are more "felt," through descriptions of l i f e and existence.  A good example of this is the  representation of peasants in both works.  In Gorki's  they are shown as oppressed and beaten elements of society who willingly step out for the Revolution, when essentially the opposite was true.  The peasants, the ordinary "mouzhiks,  were one of the most conservative parts of Russian society, and held to their tightly organized and traditional behaviour for as long as was possible against any revolutionary movement.  In Bunin's work a much more  human picture of the peasant evolves.  There is no mention  of p o l i t i c a l strife or ideology, as is rampant in Gorki's  writing.  Bunin manages to show them as people with their  own desires, problems, and interests.  It is true that  in his book they remain i n their own villages, at their own level of society, completely apart from the privileged upper classes, but there is no antagonism on either part, Arsenev's or the peasants' toward each other.  Gorki's  style is r e a l i s t i c in opposition to Bunin's Impressionism in many other ways.  Gorki's descriptions of the tedium  of everyday l i f e , work, travel, are given in a rather straightforward, sometimes grotesquely coloured manner, as any man of ordinary intelligence would see conditions surrounding him.  Bunin sees things in a different way.  He sees everything with a poetic eye.  The smallest incident,  his selling of grain to a trader, assumes expanded literary meaning.  His observations are minute, and they are made  in such a way that they acquire importance simply by existing and providing beauty or feeling for those who are able to see them. The structure of both works is completely  different.  Gorki has drawn out his novel to such an extent that at times i t loses continuity, while at the same time meshing into an almost constant diatribe.  The divisions which  are present in the book are a r t i f i c i a l and of not much  purpose, they do not define or subdivide the books into a coherent structure.  In fact, the only Impression of  planning that went into the writing Is that each book w i l l usually end or propose an event of historical consequence, and each new volume w i l l begin with a discussion of that event.  The complete effect of Gorki's book, is that the  author is doing his utmost to convince us of the worthlessness of the class represented by Klim Samgin, and the superiority of the segment of society headed by Kutuzov. This aspect of leading one forcibly to a predetermined conclusion, the feeling of persuasion and inducement which exists in the novel, I found rather offensive. approach is much easier to accept.  Bunin*s  He develops his book  in such a way that he makes us comprehend the inner workings of his main hero, he develops him i n such a way that when we do understand his workings, we are ready to participate in his problems, and at the same time to outlast and to overcome them.  Such is the f i r s t inkling of the two types  of intellectual beings who are presented by two authors from different camps. An analysis of the two main characters will, show the hopelessness on the part of Gorki to attempt to convince any thinking and knowledgeable Russian that  Klim was and behaved like a member of the intelligentsia. Klim essentially, is a walking, talking robot, spouting borrowed and programmed ideas, maxims, and opinions. In his few moments of self-reflection and self-consideration, he does in a devious way admit that he is talentless, and we find out that his erudition is that of a dilletahte. He skips on the surface of literature, politics, economics, etc., and thus automatically disqualifies himself from membership in the class which he ostensibly represents, and becomes a unique, unsuccessful, and dissatisfied man.  Kllm s formative years are a direct contribution ,  to the type of person he becomes.  He is i n s t i l l e d with  the ideas that the intelligentsia is sacrificing i t s e l f for the good of the people, that i t is not appreciated, that Its rightful place is at the head of the masses, but he is obviously, for lack of talent, not the right type of person to assume such a position.  In his early  years he is praised for witty sayings gleaned from other people, and for the repetition of absurdities. This unquestionably leads to his further ineffectual development.  He cannot achieve on his own a definite  view of l i f e , or what his role must be in i t . stems his failure.  From this  Being born into an intellectual  family, and being i n intellectual surroundings, does not mean that he is a person of intellectual inclinations. That is something that Gorki failed to understand when he chose to make a symbolic vehicle out of the unfortunate Klim. Bunin's Arsenev, is quite the opposite from hapless Klim, and indeed he, Arsenev, can be said to calmly, forcefully, and usefully represent the intelligentsia. Here is someone for whom studies were of incomplete invigoration, someone, whom one might surmise through Gorki's epithets, who has grown up the son of a profligate landowner, and who would instinctively proceed i n the same degenerative way.  But what saves Arsenev is his  Intellectual and creative capacity.  On his own  inclination he Is sufficiently interested and capable in letters to achieve a certain notoriety, and does so without any prodding.  Anyone who is capable of not  remaining i n a stagnant position, who is Interested In his own cultural and Intellectual advancement, naturally becomes part of the intelligentsia.  Arsenev does not  remain at his family's estate any longer than is necessary.  He is avidly interested in travel, in  meeting people, in appreciating his surroundings and  experiences as much as is humanly possible.  He is  receptive towards nature, the seasons, love, work, the ideological conversations of his brother's friends,  etc.,  whereas Samgin concentrates only on his own personal material amelioration and condition.  Arsenev is  constantly going forward, but Samgin freezes forever at a certain level, immobile until his death.  The family  which exerts definite pressure on its developing young members is also very differently presented in each work. In Samgin's case i t is an unsuccessful, somehow inhumane, and disunited array of personalities. receive love, understanding or care.  Klim does not His mother is being  assailed by lovers, among whom we find Tomilin, and Varavka, who takes her as his f u l l time mistress. Therefore, from her side, no emotional attachment occurs. His father who was constantly away on journies, at f i r s t felt a predilection for Klim as something "special", but also turns i n the end toward his brother Dimltri. Thus, from the very beginning Klim is left on his own to propel himself as best he can.  There is no feeling  of warm human relationships imparted to him at any stage, as I w i l l comment upon later i n regards to his behaviour with women.  I have spoken previously of Arsenev's very  strong attachment to his family, which provided him with security, love, understanding and self-confidence,  that  allowed him to achieve a strong independent and clear, appreciatory outlook on l i f e .  I am not trying to say  that Gorki's type of family did not exist, but simply that the relations between i t s members are d u l l , languid, almost indolent, a situation not suitable for the production of an enlightened member.  The f i r s t volume  of the four, I indeed felt to be the strongest, for i t shows the formative years of Klim, and is interesting as a picture of a rural provincial family, when p o l i t i c a l considerations have not yet appeared. As an extension of his upbringing, Klim regards women i n a way completely uncharacteristic to anyone whom one would class as a member of an informed intelligentsia.  He approaches women only because of  his sexual desire.  He contrives to pass time with them  only for sexual gratification. differently.  Arsenev reacts completely  To him the most important part of any  relationship with women is spiritual nearness.  I am  not denying that physical attraction also stimulates him, but i t Is not nearly as crude or offensive as i t becomes with Klim.  Sex for Arsenev becomes a secondary  consideration, or more an expression of his feelings as the culmination of emotional contact and acquaintance. Another weak aspect of Gorki's in the Creation of women, is that they are a l l representatives of various ideologies.  He does not present them as human beings  with p o l i t i c a l inclinations, but rather bases his entire character on a certain ideology, and Induces the character to act from that starting point.  Nekhaeva is a decadent,  Marina represents the Khlysty' sect, Nikonova is a government agent, Spivak is a revolutionary, etc. Everyone has a pigeon hole into which he f i t s , and beyond which he does not stray.  This "social l i n i n g ,  0  which  every character wears, only makes i t more difficult for the reader to accept him. feminine, romantic, gentle.  With Bunin, each woman is With Gorki, not one of  those words applies. Before carrying on with an analysis of the points of language, manner of descriptions and literary devices i n the two works, I would briefly like to return to the topic of the intellectuals, and their attitudes, found i n Bunin.  as are  As I have said before, Bunin tends to  present peasants in a more human way than Gorki, not merely as slogan carriers, but he does express certain  sentiments which are probably the r e s u l t of h i s w  1andowner's" u p b r i n g i n g . . . . I simply c o u l d not bear to be reminded, even j o k i n g l y (and y e t of course e d l f y i n g l y ) : "A poet you need not be, but a c i t i z e n you must be!" —when t h a t "Mustness" was imposed on me, when I was b e i n g i n s t r u c t e d , even i n d i r e c t l y , a l l e g o r i c a l l y t h a t the whole meaning of l i f e l i e s " i n work f o r the good of the community, i n o t h e r words, f o r the peasants o r workers. I felt b e s i d e myself. WhatI Must I s a c r i f i c e myself f o r the sake of some e v e r l a s t i n g l y drunken locksmith.... 1 H  The problem of a t t i t u d e s i s a p h i l o s o p h i c a l one,  and  t h e r e f o r e d i f f i c u l t to d i s c u s s . And now there i s n o t h i n g , but t h a t t a l k of "repaying one's debt to the people".... But I don't f e e l , nor cannot, nor do I wish t o , s a c r i f i c e myself f o r the people's sake, o r " s e r v e " i t , or p l a y , as my f a t h e r puts i t , at p a r t i e s and problems at the county assemblies. 2 I cannot say whether such a statement i s wrong or not, I t i s e n t i r e l y p e r s o n a l , and I t h i n k b e s t to leave i t a t that.  I tend to agree much more w i t h Bunin's d e p i c t i o n  of the R u s s i a n r e v o l u t i o n a r y , than w i t h G o r k i ' s . b r o t h e r s t r i k e s me  as a much more p l a u s i b l e ,  i f misguided young man,  than the horrendous  Arsenev'  idealistic, Kutuzov.  And what, generally speaking, is a Russian protestant, a rebel, a revolutionary, always ridiculously severed from reality and despising i t , unwilling to submit himself in the slightest measure to reason, to calculation, tc inconspicuous, unhurried, unobtrusive activity? ...Ideas were very well; but i n those youthful revolutionaries how much was there also of the mere longing for gay idleness under the cloak of hectic activity, of self-intoxication with meetings, noise, songs, a l l sorts of clandestine dangers...3 Perhaps one of the biggest differences in the two authors is their method of looking at, and describing Nature.  Bunin presents It as one of the forces inseparable  from the activities of men.  Bunin s Impressions or descriptions 1  are not overflowing with activity, nor are they a sumptuous picture of v i t a l i t y , but they do have one clear encompassing characteristic, which gives them absolute strength, their exactitude.  He w i l l never use general terms for any object  which he wishes us to see, but w i l l use the correct name or term.  This may prove d i f f i c u l t for the average reader  to follow, but by his exact and apt use of terminology, no confusion can occur.  He comes into such close proximity  to the object he is describing, that we can see i t as clearly as he does himself.  His precision extends to  colours, sounds, odours, and he transmits the exact sensation which they produce i n him.  In the natural changing world,  which does not remain s t i l l for an instant, he captures  a moment which has surprised or availed i t s e l f to him with just the exact word to evoke the necessary picture.  His  infusion of colour and tincture into his descriptions, and the plasticity with which they are molded, is inimitable. As he states i n the novel: Por a long time I would tremble from head to foot at the very sight of a box of paints, daub paper from morn to night, and stand for hours looking at flowers, sunlight, and shadows, and at that marvellous blueness of the sky, bordering on the mauve, which shows on a hot day facing the sun, among the tree-tops bathing as i t were in that blueness; and I became for ever imbued with a deep sense and consciousness of the truly divine meaning and significance of the colours of earth and sky.^ One of the descriptions which lingers i n one's memory is his masterful portrayal of the last August days before his departure for school.  He accompanies his father on  a hunt, and the surrounding natural world, already tinted with autumn colours, reveals to them i t s treasury of beauty. There is a constant alternation of seasons, and he can capture their essence simply and unobtrusively: ...the vast tree already thinned by autumn, picturesquely defaced by the autumn rain storms and f i r s t frost, bespattered with rotting leaves, its trunks and branches blackened and with motley remnants of i t s yellow and red garb; a fresh bright morning; the dazzling sunlight glittering on the lawns and descending i n warm golden pillars among the distant trunks into the damp coolness and shadow of the ground, into the thin smoke of the s t i l l lingering morning mist shining ethereally blue;...5  or an equally effective Interpretation of spring: Looking at the tree one morning, you are struck by the abundance of buds that have covered i t during the night. And after a certain time the buds suddenly burst forth—and the black pattern of the twigs is at once strewn with countless bright-green flecks. Then the f i r s t cloud comes over, the f i r s t thunder roars, the f i r s t warm shower comes rushing down and again a miracle happens: the tree has become so dark, so splendid i n comparison with i t s bare tracery of yesterday, has spread out i t s wide glossy greenery so thick and far, stands In such beauty and strength of young firm foliage, that you simply cannot believe your eyes." In Book Two, Chapter X, his picture of winter is one of the best found anywhere in Russian literature.  To be  fully appreciated, i t must be read i n entirety. Perhaps the most important aspect of Bunin's wordpaintings of his natural surroundings, is their elemental influence in the formation of Arsenev-Bunln's character, but he does not restrict this influence only to himself. Nature mirrors the Joys and anguishes of man, i t reacts to and accompanies his inner struggles.  As Charles Ledre  states i n his book on Bunin: Le decor lui-meme appartient au drame: i l materialise les sentiments des personnages, i l les traduit au dehors, on d i r a i t volontiers: i l les orchestre.7 There are Innumerable passages which I would like to  quote to further illustrate what I am trying to show, for i t is impossible to comment with t r i t e language on Bunin*s descriptions, as they speak for themselves.  As one goes  along in the book one finds that after marvelling at one passage, immediately following is another of even greater symmetry and,beauty.  This display of talent, causes one  to be very dogmatic in trying to demonstrate to those as yet uninitiated, the beauty of colour and language which belonged to Bunin, and i n trying to induce them to share in the pleasure of reading this work.  Paustovski makes  an interesting comparison between Bunin's work and Nesterov' painting "Sainte Russie." This picture has something in common with the books of Bunin. However, there is one difference. Bunin*s people are completely real and known to a l l , and his country Is much more unpretentious and poorer than Nesterov*s. Bunin's language and s t y l i s t i c method one might Imagine to be of great complexity, but in truth, i t is very simple, clear and p i c t o r i a l .  Through unpretentlousness of style,  and lack of ornamentation, he achieves great richness in levels of language, and in abundance and magnificence of images.  Bunin has in effect developed a new genre  in prose writing.  He has discovered a rhythmical quality  In prose which enables him to construct his "novel" as a prose poem.  He has found a rhythm which he u t i l i z e s in  producing a melodious work.  With his command of his  native tongue, and use of his tremendous talent, he produced a beauteous, exquisite work.  In the words of  Paustovski: It is a fusion of a l l earthly grief, charms, considerations and joys. It is the amazing gathering of the occurrences of one l i f e , of roamings, countries, c i t i e s , seas; but i n the centre of these multitudinous images of the world, is our Middle Russia.9 Gorki also wrote about f a i r l y simple, fluxing,  realities  of everyday l i v i n g , but he observed events in a twisted, ornamented, forced, and a r t i f i c i a l style.  He declared  at every opportunity that writing should be as simple, truthful, clear, and exact as possible, that i t was necessary to throw out everything that was excessively  decorative  which could detract from easy understanding of the text, yet i n "The Life of Klim Samgin," he achieved very few of his own objectives.  His ideal was probably to be able  to see the world as Bunin did, and to present i t with Bunin's talent, but he failed completely to do so, and his attempt hatched a style which at times Is embarrassing for i t s crudeness and unnatural images.  Gorki's desire  to become a word-painter, to achieve a r t i s t i c palpability  in his characters and locations, results at test i n a kind of strained presentation.  His work i s f i l l e d with  innumerable literary devices, but instead of blending harmoniously into the narrative, they dissect i t by their pretentiousness. Gorki's.descriptions of nature when compared with Bunin's are at best laconic.  His epithets and metaphors  usually present i t as cold and d u l l .  Gorki is not  content to provide natural landscapes, for their own sake. Weather, nature, and seasons tend to exist for the purpose of acting on a character i n coming to some conclusion about man's social position in society.  I  should add that what descriptions there are, occur infrequently, and are usually short.  I am including  a few examples which are characteristic for this work. Vytsvetshee, tuskloe solntse mertvo torchalo sredi serinkoi ovchiny oblakov...lO V okno smotrelo serebryanoe solntse, nebo—takoe zhe kholodno goluboe...H Zarya, bystro izmenyaya tsveta svoi, teper okrasila nebo v ton staroi, deshevenkoi oleografii...12 Even when he is abroad in such l i g h t - f i l l e d places as Geneva and Paris, his descriptions s t i l l convey gloom  and dark colours. Gory prikryty 1 smyagcheny golubovatym tumanom... Sinevatoe tumannoe nebo...!3 These colours are carried over Into descriptions of Russia as well. Samginu nravilos ezdit po kaprizno izognutym dorogam, po beregam lenivykh rek i pereleskami. Mutnogolubye d a l i , sinevataya mgla l e s o v . . . l 4 Unlike Bunin's constantly changing and alternating scenario, there is almost no perception of the different seasons i n Gorki's work, but an all-pervasive atmosphere of fog, rain, wetness, surrounds and seemingly points out the harshness and inhospitability of big c i t i e s . Gustoi tuman okutyval gorod, 1 khotya bylo ne bolee trekh chasov popoludnl, Nevskii prospekt pytalis osvetit raduzhnye pu^yri fonarei, pokhozhykh na gigantskie oduvanchiki. 15 Gorki's strength l i e s i n his intimate knowledge of the lexicons of various classes.  Each of his characters  speaks with the jargon which belongs to the class which he is representing.  Gorki's characters in fact become  placed or located at a certain level i n society by their language.  The deacon's speech is f i l l e d with archaisms  and expressions which are natural to a man of the church.  Tomilin utilizes scientific and studied terminology, Lyutov speaks with the language belonging to the commercial class, Margarita's speech is resplendant with popular sayings, and the colourful expressions of the common people.  Elena speaks with the sophisticated  language of the salons, and Klim has structured his language from those he contacts, and thus has his own conglomerate  style.  In his descriptions of people, Gorki stresses their outer appearance and their mannerisms, coupled to their speech, to provide what he hopes Is an understanding of the character.  He also tries to make us see and  understand the character through variations in their descriptions as they age, change, and pass through the novel.  There are endless descriptions of Lidia, f i r s t  when she is young, seen in bright colours; Litso ee tozhe zagorelo do tsveta bronzy, tonenkuyu stroinuyu flgurku krasivo oblegalo slnee plate, v nei bylo chto-to neobychnoe, udivitelnoe, kak v devochkakh tsyrka. 1 6 Later when she has gone through difficult times, we get a new picture of her. Ee figura, okutannaya dymchatoi shalyu, kazalas ploskoi. l7  Dronov, before achieving h i s desire to become wealthy, behaves In a manner quite d i f f e r e n t to when he i s moneyed, and Gorki shows his change i n behaviour  and  attitude by pictures of his appearance and mannerisms. Izredka, ostorozhnoi pokhodkol bitogo kota v kabinet Varavki prokhodil Ivan Dronov...18 Sam on b y l odet shchegolevato, zhydenkie volosy ego smazany kakim-to zhyrom i f o r s i s t o prichesany na kosoi probor. Ego novenkie botlnki negromko i vezhllvo s k r i p e l i . 19 These " p o r t r a i t s ^  H  may be successful f o r what they  are, but by the farthest stretch of the imagination, they do not delve into or reveal the psychological behaviour of the character.  I cannot perceive t h e i r  i n t e r i o r feelings and motivations, and they remain only o r i g i n a l innovative " p o r t r a i t s . "  While not succeeding  i n his presentation of nature, change of seasons, landscapes, etc., Gorki does succeed with i n t e r i o r views of the l i v i n g quarters and meeting places of his characters.  Nehkaeva's apartment i s exactly right f o r  the type of person she i s , or i s presented to us as being.  Teplo osveshchennaya ognem silnoi lampy, prikrytoi oranzhevym abazhurom, komnata byla ukrashena kuskami voctochrrykh materii, podobrannykh v bleklykh tonakh ugasayushchei vechernei z a r i . Na stole, na kushetke razbrosany zheltenkie tomlki frantsuzkikh knlg, tochno l l s t y a strannogo rasteniya. Nekhaeva, v zolotlstom khalatike, podpoyasannom zelenovatym shyroklm kushakom, pozdorovalas ispuganno. 2 0 Dronov's, Frolenkov's Denlsov's apartments and even Samgin's lodgings are described well, but they s t i l l f a l l to impart to us any knowledge of the internal composition of their occupants. Gorki's descriptions.  This is true of a l l  Taken by themselves, striving for  originality of concept, in their own studied way they are successful.  But they f a i l , and with them the book f a i l s ,  because they a l l run on parallel courses.  The descriptions  of characters, their manner of expressing themselves, the descriptions of nature, of apartments appearances, furniture, clouds, buildings, cities exist apart and Independently of each other.  The descriptions are like  streams that course endlessly side by side, and not once do they ever manage to overflow or cross, and thus attempt to produce an integrated a r t i s t i c whole.  Man  in Gorki's novel is shown on the background of nature. He is never an intrinsic part of i t as he is with Bunin.  With a l l his a r t i s t i c devices, aphorisms, proverbs, adages, multitudinous scenes, events and characters, Gorki f a i l s to create a true picture of Russia, or even one which would suggest i t s flavour. In Bunin's "The Life of Arsenev,** from the very f i r s t words of the text, one can feel that they are the words of a Russian philosopher and intellectual.  Two  s t y l i s t i c devices that Gorki lacks, but which are natural to Bunin, help to establish this impression. These are his use of rhetorical questions and the use of exclamations, which add a special emotional, yet analytical dimension to his work.  The questions force the reader  to stop and evaluate the thoughts which have been expressed. And had I been born and lived on a desert island, I should not have suspected even the existence of death. "What luck that would have been?" I am tempted to add. Yet who knows? Perhaps, a great misfortune. Besides, is i t really true that I should not have suspected it? Are we not born with the sense of death? And i f not, i f I had not suspected i t , should I be so fond of l i f e as I am, and as I used to be? 2 1 Bunin's artistry and genius lies in the fact that he can make us see poetic qualities In the most ordinary of objects, and make us observe and see beauty in things which we may never have noticed before.  But the most marvellous of a l l things i n the town proved to be the boot-polish. Poor human heart! I am not joking in the least: never in my l i f e did I experience from things seen by me on earth— and I have seen many things—such rapture, such joy, as I did in the market of that town holding in my hands the box of boot polish. That round box was made of simple bast, but what bast i t was! And with what incomparable artistic s k i l l the box was made! And the polish i t s e l f ! Black, tough; with a dull lustre and an intoxicating spirituous smell. 22 His descriptions do not suffer from those alien comparisons which are infused into Gorki's writing. With the most ordinary words, gathered into a simple phrase, he can disclose the inner essence of a man, as he does i n the description of a convict. On that face was written something complicated and painful, something which again I had never seen in my l i f e (and which only now I can somehow put into words): a mixture of the deepest longing, sorrow, blunt resignation, and at the same time some passionate and sombre dream, a greedy attention to that departing sun... 23 As a final computation of the two works i t Is not difficult to see that Bunin's is much wider in scope and concept than Gorki's.  The love and feelings which  he expresses for Russia are much greater and more vociferous than Gorki's.  His presentations of beautiful  landscapes, folklore, Russian cities and people, customs  and traditions, his association and proximity to the monumental past—Lermontov, Pushkin—his religious feelings,  tie him much more closely to Russia than Gorki's  feelings of patriotism.  Religious lexicon, taken from  the service of the Russian church and references to legendary tales of Russia add to the evocation of its essence.  The eternal problems of mankind which he touches  through his philosophic character, l i f t the work out of a simple nationalistic context, and place i t firmly i n world art. The two literary works in the portrayal of the Russian Intellectual convey very different meanings. Gorki's work in the presentation of an intellectual gives very l i t t l e , because what he actually creates is an enormous collector of thoughts, who grew to tremendous proportions, and then exploded like a baloon, leaving nothing behind.  Gorki began writing with a  pre-formed, biased judgement of his main character, a man not connected inwardly with the events of Russian l i f e , but .only by his external actions.  If we accept  i  that one of Gorki's main ideas was to present a r e a l i s t i c literary portrait of a sympathizer to the revolutionary movement, the previously mentioned Kutuzov, then i t has  failed too, because he is only very roughly sketched out.  Neither Samgin's crude excursions with women, nor  Kutuzov's involvement with art, help i n any way to establish a true portrait of the intellectual i n the beginning of our century.  A l l that is left are numerous  descriptions of everyday physical conditions surrounding people, i n which the intelligentsia i t s e l f bogs down. Bunin's hero ( a l l his characteristics help to create a portrait of a Russian intellectual) comes forward poeticized, enriched, intensified with national tradition, by his relations with other people, and nature.  That is why Bunin's Arsenev joins the gallery  of Russian authors writing about the intelligentsia, something that one cannot say about Samgin.  Gorki  showed once again that he remained a great master in the depiction of the lower middle classes, but not of the intellectual whom he never liked.  During their  stay abroad, and both of these writers lived abroad for years, both were by their acquaintanceships tied to the world of Western l i t e r a t i . midst as an equal member. foreigner.  Bunin entered their  Gorki in Europe was always a  This is also later reflected in the fate  of the two authors.  One is viewed as a local Russian  author who received his world reputation on the strength of his romantic-revolutionary views.  When Gorki gave  sketches of humble l i f e , he did so with f i d e l i t y .  The  l i f e of tramps he described with extraordinary vigour. When he described the rebel, the man in revolt against society, he could draw from personal knowledge, and thus enlist our sympathies, but with the other classes, especially the educated, he was not equally successful. Bunin*s authority i n literature grew gradually, establishing Itself, until he had achieved what was his due:  through brilliance of style and delicacy of  !  language, a classic on the same level with Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Chekhov.  Bunin is the last writer of the  nobility, brought up in the traditions of the nobility. He was the continuation of that level of authorship and concern which belonged to Chekhov, Korolenko, Veresaev, etc.  In his work he was true to the Russian classical  school, but as he lived during the breakdown and collapse of the established order, he carried with him forever his sorrow for the past.  His social theme was thus the  decline and f a l l of the patriarchal system of l i f e , in which the eternal themes of love, l i f e and death were discussed.  To conclude, I would l i k e to quote some extracts from an i n t e r e s t i n g chapter on Gorki by Jurgen Ruhle, which I f e e l shed some l i g h t on Gorki's c o n f l i c t within himself, and his i n a b i l i t y to solve i t , as i s evident i n "The L i f e of Klim Samgin.  H  Thus throughout his l i f e the romantic and the r e a l i s t , the p o l i t i c a l revolutionary and the l i b e r a l i n t e l l e c t u a l , the man who invents l i f e and the man who sees through the invention, were i n c o n f l i c t . His return to the Soviet Union was a v i c t o r y f o r his romanticism... Gorki the romantic needed Gorki the r e a l i s t i n order to f i g h t the r e a l i s t . He needed Samginism i n order to k i l l Samginism, and he became entangled i n this complicated d i a l e c t i c . The c r i t i c lacerated himself. True, he beat the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a with t h e i r own weapons, by illuminating and destroying one system of phrases after another. But how, i n so doing was the Communist Ideal to be saved? How was unreason to be defended with the arguments of reason? This i s the contradiction on which his project foundered. 24 This question was never answered, and the novel was never f i n i s h e d because Gorki was not able to f i n i s h i t . He could never resolve the c o n f l i c t between his desire to support the Bolsheviks and his i n a b i l i t y to do so because of his r e a l i s t i c approach. Despite these t r i b u l a t i o n s , Gorki has been proclaimed by the Soviets as the "Father of Soviet Literature."  This t i t l e , , this position,  embraces and touches upon the  entire complex of themes i n l i t e r a t u r e which are t i e d to the presentations of Russian i n t e l l i g e n t s i a . In the opinion of Soviet o f f i c i a l s , Gorki exemplified, indeed was the i d e a l representative of the Russian i n t e l l e c t u a l and revolutionary.  Such an understanding  of course precluded the r e a l Russian i n t e l l e c t u a l s from being counted as such, f o r they were not attaining new goals i n the f i e l d s of knowledge and culture.  Such  Russian i n t e l l e c t u a l s were the great contemporaries of Gorki, the writers A. Kuprin, V. Veresaev, and the one under discussion here, I. Bunin.  Any of them could  have been chosen to play the role of " f a t h e r , or w  "precursor" of Soviet l i t e r a t u r e , but they were not chosen to play such a r o l e .  Why?  Kuprin was the son  of a c i v i l servant, Veresaev the son of a doctor, and Bunin the son of a landowner.  Gorki however, did not  descend from the i n t e l l i g e n t s i a .  His s o c i a l o r i g i n  harmonized with the ideas of the Social-Democrat Party members.  Neither Bunin, nor Veresaev, nor Kuprin, :  were acquainted or connected with the ideas of the Social-Democrats, neither were they acquainted with Lenin.  Gorki's personal knowledge of Lenin made his  position completely different to Bunin's or Kuprin's, when a l l three were abroad.  A l l three were known not  only within the boundaries of their country, but abroad as well.  A l l three were c r i t i c a l of the new Soviet  regime.  Nevertheless, for his social origin, and his  party connections, Gorki was chosen in preference to the intellectual Bunin and Kuprin.  Veresaev, who  remained i n Russia, could not hope to compete with Gorki because of his own unsuitable origins, because of his t i t l e as the spokesman of the intelligentsia, and because of the generally d i f f i c u l t situation in the country, which for a time even refused to admit intellectuals into the party.  Gorki was chosen as the  leading writer of the new intelligentsia, to which politics were more important than a r t i s t i c merit. Once again I would like to reiterate the statement I made in the introduction which refers to the different genres the two works represent.  Bunin in "The Life of  Arsenev" created a new unnamed genre.  In i t poetry and  prose have joined into a single unit.  It is not a novel  i t is not a story, yet i t could be easily called a poem or a r e c i t a l or a narration.  It is not, as Bunin himself  declared, an autobiography, for i t is too freely adapted  for that.  It Is the union of the many faceted experiences  of a human beings existence, in which the charms and doubts of the world are reflected.  It is the authors  expression of deep and poetic love for his country, and sadness for the expiration of an era.  While doing this,  Bunin troops the entire gallery of Russian citizenry before our eyes.  In this presentation I wanted to point  out how Gorki's devices in the presentation of the Russian intelligentsia leave much to be desired, and how Bunin*s a r t i s t i c compositions prevail over those of his great compatriot.  Erroneous as i t may seem,  voluminous c r i t i c a l appraisals of Gorki's works appear i n the Soviet Union with regularity, whereas Bunin has been largely forgotten.  It is only recently that his  complete works were issued, and even so with deleted passages in "The Life of Arsenev, which seemed harmful M  to vigilant, wary, authorities.  FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER I  1 Cited i n Moissaye J . Olgin, A Guide to Russian Literature, Jonathan Cape, London, 1921, p. 152. 2 I . Tkhorzhevskii, Russkaya Literatura, Izdatel'stvo Vozrozhdenie, Paris, 1950* v o l . 2, pp. 432-433. 3 V. V. Veresaev, Sochlnenlya v Chetyrekh Tomakh. OGIZ, Moskva, 1948, v o l . 4, p. 372. * A l l translations unless otherwise noted are my own.  92. FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER I I  1 C i t e d i n Henry G i f f o r d , The Novel i n Russia, and Row, New York, 1964, p. 143.  Harper  2 M. Gorki, Sobranle S o c h l n e n l l v 30 tomakh. Gosudarstvennoe I z d a t e l ' s t v o Khudozhestvennoi L i t e r a t u r y , Moskva, 1950, v o l . 30, p. 282. 3 G o r k i , Sobranle S o c h l n e n l l , v o l . 6, p. 4 G o r k i , Sobranle S o c h l n e n l l , v o l . 20,  239.  p. 442.  FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER I I I  1 I am i n c l u d i n g s e v e r a l "biographical f a c t s which are necessary f o r a f u l l e r understanding o f "The L i f e of Arsenev." 2 Fedor Stepun, V s t r e c h l , T o v a r i s h c h e s t v o Zarubezhnykh P i s a t e l e i , Munich, 1962, p. 100. 3 Temira Pachmuss, "Ivan Bunin through the Eyes of Z i n a i d a G l p p l u s , " S.E.E.R.. 1965-66, v o l . 44, p. 342. 4 M. Aldanov, "0 Bunine," Novyi Z h u r n a l , v o l . 35, p. 132. 5 1. Bunin, The Well of Days, t r a n s . Gleb Struve and Hamlsh M i l e s . Hogarth P r e s s , London, 1933» P. 117. 6 I b i d . , p. 308. 7 I b i d . , p. 315. 8 I b i d . , p. 24. 9 I b i d . , p. 23. 10 Loc. c i t . 11 I b i d . , p. 386. 12 I b i d . , p. 365. 13 V. V e i d l e , v o l . 3, p. 86.  "Na Smert' Bunina," Opyty, New York, 1954,  14 I . Bunin, Zhlzn" Arsen'eva, Chekhov P u b l i s h i n g New York, 1952, p. 377. 15 I b i d . , p. 388. 16 I b i d . , p. 349. 17 I b i d . , p. 314.  House,  94 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER IV  1 I . Bunin, The Well of Days, t r a n s . Gleb Struve and Hamlsh M i l e s . Hogarth Press, London, 1 9 3 3 » P« 3l6. 2 I b i d . , p.  295.  3 Ikld., p. 156. 4 I b i d . , p. 5 8 . 5 I b i d . , p.,  159.  6 I b i d . , p.  172.  7 Charles Ledre, T r o i s Romanolers Russes, Nouvelles E d i t i o n s L a t l n e s , P a r i s , 1935, P» 29. 8 K. P a u s t o v s k i , B l l z k l e 1 D a l e k l e , I z d a t e l ' s t v o Molodaya Gvardiya, Moskva, 1967, p. 268. 9 I b i d . , p.  271.  10 M. G o r k i , Sobranle S o c h l n e n l l v 30 tomakh, Gosudarstvennoe I z d a t e l ' s t v o Khudozhestvennoi L i t e r a t u r y , Moskva, 1950, v o l . 21, p. 46. 11  I b i d . , p.  118.  12  I b i d . , p.  203.  13  G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 22,  p.  26.  14 G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 20,  p.  303.  15  G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 19,  P»  190.  16  I b i d . , p.  17  G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 20,  p. 143.  18 G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 19,  P. 496.  19  p.  76.  G o r k i , Sob. Sooh., v o l . 20,  20 G o r k i , op. c i t . , p.  2l6.  272.  21 I. Bunin, The Well of Days, trans. Gleb Struve and Hamish Miles. Hogarth Press, London, 1933* P» 9. 22 Ibid., p.  19.  23 Ibid., p. 20 2k Jurgen Ruhle, Literature and Revolution, trans, and ed. by Jean Steinberg. Frederick A. Praeger, New York,  1969, (I960) p. 30.  96 SOURCES CONSULTED  Adamovich, Georgii. Odlnoohestvo 1 Svoboda. New York: Chekhov Publishing House, 1955. Afanasev, V. A.  1966.  I. A. Bunin. 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