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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

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Yulia G. Morozova
  • Pages: 900–923
  • 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: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: I.A. Bunin and his Time: Context of Life — History of Work
  • DOI:
  • Year of publication: 2021
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Morozova, Y.G. “Bethlehem and Its Symbolism in the Works of Ivan Bunin.” 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. 900–923. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Yulia G. Morozova, PhD in Philology, Associate Professor, Moscow State Medical and Dental University named after A.I. Evdokimov, Delegatskaya st., 20/1, 127473 Moscow, Russia.


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


The paper deals with the essays from the Bunin’s book “Shadow of the Bird” (“Judea” and “Gennesaret”), poems of 1906–1907 (“Abraham”, “Star Worshippers”, “The Source of the Star. From the Syrian Apocrypha”, “Rachel’s Tomb”, “Jerusalem”, “Temple of the Sun”) and Vera Muromtseva-Bunina’s memoirs about the pilgrimage to the Holy Land in 1903–1909. The image of Bethlehem with its symbolic and toponymic signs can be drawn from those sources. The author indicates the genre, artistic, and compositional originality of works dedicated to Palestine and its main city. A special place in the paper is given to the temple of Bethlehem and the image of the Magi, whose origin (in the historical and cultural context) is associated with the most ancient peoples of the Sabaean culture. The author attempts a reconstruction of the semantics of the main biblical phrases and word forms associated with the ancient sites of Judea and Bethlehem. It is pointed out that the artistic descriptions of the nature and history of the Holy Land in Bunin’s texts reveal the writer’s historiosophical views, important conceptual positions, such as the theme of memory, the cyclicity of life and world development, and the idea of the world circle. The color symbolism and semiotics of the landscape of Bethlehem and its surroundings are considered. Biblical characters associated with the history of the city, its artifacts, and concepts that recreate the appearance of an ancient syncretic culture are considered — Ruth, David, Rachel, Virgin Mary, and Christ. It is concluded that the image of Bethlehem is a collective “mosaic”, generating different readings and expanding the already complex hermeneutical field of Bunin texts and their versions.

  • Keywords: Ivan Bunin, the book “Shadow of the Bird”, poetic symbolism, Sabaean culture, Holy Land, Bethlehem, literary heritage.


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