About the author:
Anastasiya Yu. Dunaeva, PhD in History, independent researcher, Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-3369-5641
The paper examines the ‘tsar theme’ of “The Clean Monday” story and reconstructs Bunin’s creative concept. In the finale of the story, where Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna appears, Ivan Bunin reproduces the episode verbatim from his diary with the date preserved: he came to the Marfo-Mariinsky monastery on December 30, 1914. In December 1914 the book “1914” was published with two poems by Ivan Bunin in a benefit of the Grand Duchess’ committee. The publication of the poem “The Day of Wrath” in the newspaper “Great War” on December 20–21, 1914, another publication under the patronage of the Grand Duchess, is then introduced in the paper. This coincidence leads to the analysis of the history of links between the Grand Duchess and the writer. Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna was the wife of the Moscow governor-general Grand Duke Sergey Alexandrovich, who was appointed to Moscow by his brother Emperor Alexander III (his monument was located next to the house of the heroine of the story). The Grand Ducal couple played an important role in the formation of the Moscow Art Theater, shared acquaintances with Bunin — Konstantin Stanislavskii, Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko, Victor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov. The tragic death of the Grand Duke in 1905 almost coincides with the death of Bunin’s son. The tragedy of the Grand Duchess, it is argued, was an influence on the heroine of the story, who wants to experience the feeling of love and loss of her lover, before following her to the Marfo-Mariinsky monastery, thereby committing a crime against the hero. Her demonic image of Pushkin’s Shamakhan Tsarina kind, destroying the Kingdom, is opposed by the image of the Grand Duchess Elizaveta Fyodorovna, who embodied Pushkin’s Tsarina Swan — a symbol of the coming resurrection of Russia.