Night Conversation, Bezhin Meadow, Ivan Bunin, Russian culture, narod, folk, Turgenev, portrait, conversation, setting, Russian folk literature, realist, contemporary


Bunin's "Night Conversation" (1912) counters two conceptions of Russian cultural life that he considered erroneous: the intelligentsia's idealization of the narod or "folk" and their reputed adherence to the realist tradition of Russian literature. Bunin does this by fashioning "Night Conversation" as a polemic with Turgenev's "Bezhin Meadow" and by carrying his argument into three facets of his work: portrait, conversation, and setting. "Night Conversation" can thus be seen as marking a crucial transition in the portrayal of the folk in Russian literature as well as in Bunin's own evolution as a writer. It signals a revamping of the peasant-hero from "realist" to "contemporary" and, what is more important, the implicit willingness of Russia's "last barin in literature" to assist in the passage.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.