Bounine, Ivan Aleksejevitsj

BORN 22 Oct 1870, Voronej - DIED 8 Nov 1953, Paris
CAUSE OF DEATH cardiac arrest
GRAVE LOCATION Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, Essonne: Cimetière russe de Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois, rue Léo Lagrange (Tomb 2961, plan II)

Son of a land owner, who lost his property in card games. He was able to go to school for only a five years, but his older brother (who had been a university student and a political prisoner) encouraged him to read books by the great Russian writers. When he was 17 years old his first poem was published and a story followed when he was 21.

In 1889 he became assistant editor to a local newspaper and soon his stories were more widely published. He corresponded with Anton Chekhov and eventually they became friends. In 1894 he met Tolstoy and in 1899 Gorky.

In 1903 he won the Pushkin Prize for his translation of Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha". He also translated "Manfred" by Lord Byron and work of Tennyson and De Musset. His first wife was a daughter of a Greek revolutionary. They married in 1898. After their divorce he married again in 1907 and this marriage lasted all his life.

In 1909 he became a member of the Russian Academy of Sciences and in 1910 his first novel was published, "Derevnya" ("The Village"). When the revolution broke out in 1917 he moved from Moscow to Odessa and in 1919 he had to leave his belongings behind and he fled to France. There he published a work on the revolution, "Okayannye dni" ("The Accursed Days") in 1925/1926.

In 1933 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. The nazis arrested him on his way to Stockholm and made him drink a bottle of Castor oil. He survived and a Jew hid him in his house during the German occupation of France. He wrote several important novels during the thirties and the fourties.


The grave of Ivan Bounine at the Cimetière Russe, Ste.-Geneviève-des-Bois.
Picture by Androom (18 Nov 2006)


• Adler, Josef, Handbuch der Grabstätten, 2. Band, Die Grabstätte der Europäer, Deutsches Kunstverlag, München, 1986
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Bourbon, Pascal de, comte de Bari

Published: 17 Feb 2007
Last update: 26 Jan 2022