Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 516–528
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Yuri A. Azarov
Azarov, Y.A. “Intimate Circle of the Bunin Family: Ilya Fondaminsky.” I.A. Bunin and His Time: Context of Life — History of Work. Ex. eds. T.M. Dvinyatina and S.N. Morozov; Eds. A.V. Bakuntsev and E.R. Ponomarev. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 516–528. (In Russ.) https://

About the author:

Yuri A. Azarov, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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The present paper considers the relationship between Ivan Bunin and Ilya Fondaminsky, a public figure, historian, socialist revolutionary and revolution participant, a member of the Constituent Assembly, who took part in critical events of the Russian revolution. In Paris the Fondaminskys became closest friends and assistants of the Bunin family, but the history of relationship between these families has not yet come in scope of a special analysis. In the Vera Muromtseva-Bunina’s diary and in “The Grasse Diary” by Galina Kuznetsova one can find evidence of the high esteem in which Bunin held Fondaminsky — an outstanding storyteller, writer and educated person. He was a member of the “Sovremennye zapiski” journal editorial board and long before Bunin won the Nobel prize never had any doubt publishing Bunin’s prose would be a prominent publication for the journal. Many of his literary works including “The Life of Arseniev” were published here. The letters of the Fondaminskys addressed to the Bunins preserved in Leeds Russian Archive cover a period of 16 years and largely reveal the nature of their relationship. Questions related to cooperation in the journal are uppermost in the correspondence, but such topics as the assessment of émigré writers, issues related to the joint rental of the Belvedere villa in Grasse, and tips for solving money problems were also touched upon. Fondaminsky is also represented in the correspondence as a reader of Bunin, a publisher, and a seller of his books.

Keywords: Russian émigré literature, Ivan Bunin, Ilya Fondaminsky, “Sovremennye zapiski”, “The Life of Arseniev”, personal correspondence.