Article name How and Why “Mother’s Box” Was Turned into “The Beauty”: On the History of One Short Story from “The Dark Avenues”
Bibliographic description Anisimov K. A. How and Why “Mother’s Box” Was Turned into “The Beauty”: On the History of One Short Story from “The Dark Avenues” // Humanitarian Vector. 2019. Vol. 14, No. 5. PP. 145–151. DOI: 10.21209/1996-7853-2019-14-5-145-151.
UDC 82-32
DOI 10.21209/1996-7853-2019-14-5-145-151
Article type
Annotation The textological problem of the short story The Beauty that affects the author’s intention as well as the semantics of whole work lies in the change of its title (the story’s initial name was Mother’s Box), undertaken by Bunin while reworking the typescript prior to the publication. In order to clarify the history of The Beauty text and reasons of its renaming the author of this article has attracted a number of primary sources: the manuscript held now in Leeds Russian Archive, typescript from the Russian State Archive of Literature and Arts, first publication of 1946 and the final version which contains last Bunin’s remarks. Alongside with the investigation of this short story’s textology all Bunin’s alterations are discussed in a broad context of the writer’s last year’s creative activity. Even a single lexeme “stushevat’s’a” (self efface) that had been initially written but then crossed out of the text, throws some light upon Bunin’s reflection of Dostoevsky’s experience as a pioneer of children’s suffering theme in Russian literature. The author of the article points out the ties of Bunin’s vision of the beauty with Dostoevsky’s novel Idiot in which this idea not just forms one of the pivotal aesthetic constructions of this masterpiece but later on is coined into a universal ethical idiom: beauty must save the world. This thesis is proved with some observations on frequency of the very word ‘krasavitsa’ (the beauty) usage on the pages of the manuscript, as well as this word’s correlations with the set of crossed-out variants. Likewise the reasons of gradual overshadowing of the image of the “box” that consequently led to the story’s name change are revealed. The results of the present study help to specify and clarify the nuances of Bunin’s 1940s aesthetic position, regarding the fact of the Russian émigré writer’s deep involvement into his great precursors, Tolstoy’s and Dostoevsky’s, heritage, features of The Beauty location within the micro-cycle Short Stories, where this piece adjoins with A Simpleton and A Guest, as well as within the whole structure of The Dark Avenues prosaic cycle.Detailed exploration of Bunin work’s textual history helps to draw the conclusion that the concept “krasavitsa” (the beauty) echoes the theory of the beauty that was elaborated by Dostoevsky. The Tolstoyan layer of allusions combines motifs that trace back to the novel Anna Karenina and the short story After the Ball.
Key words Ivan Bunin, prosaic cycle The Dark Avenues, Leo Tolstoy, F. M. Dostoevsky, textology, ballad, motif, plot
Article information
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Full articleHow and Why “Mother’s Box” Was Turned into “The Beauty”: On the History of One Short Story from “The Dark Avenues”