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

IWL RAS Publishing

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


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

About the author

Ornella Discacciati (Italy), Professor, Department of Russian language and literature at the University of Bergamo and member of Doctoral board of Germanic and Slavic studies at the University of Rome La Sapienza, laureate of the Yeltsin Fund and the Ministry of culture RF for the translation of the novel of A.P. Platonov “Chevengur” (2015). In 2018, the Italian Ministry of culture and tourism awarded a Special lifetime award for her special contribution to the spread of Russian culture in Italy.

ORCID ID: 0000-0002-3880-9118.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


This paper investigates the novel “The Life of Arseniev” and the novella “Mahogany” by contemporaries-authors Ivan Bunin and Boris Pilnyak, respectively. Although written in the same period, these two multi-faceted literary works were produced in different historical and cultural contexts. The purpose is to identify the underlying characteristics that they share in order to define an invariant model of the “topos of the country estate” in Russian literature on the cusp of the 1920s and 1930s. The conclusion that can be drawn is that, despite the diametrically opposed political milieus in which the two authors operated — Bunin was an émigré writer of the first wave; Pilnyak was a Soviet writer — in both works the country estate posits itself not only as the cultural space encompassing the history of the Russian state as a whole, but also as the chronicle of the private lives of the people who lived in it, the very quintessence of their being and a covenant for future generations.

  • Keywords: “estate text”, Russian literature of the Soviet period, I.A. Bunin, B.A. Pilnyak, rizoma.


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