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Nabokov and Bunin: A History of Rivalry (Non-fiction)

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Rights sold to: China - Heilongjiang Education Publishing House, Russia - ALPINA NF, Slovakia - VSSS

Ivan Bunin (1870-1953), the first Russian writer to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature, and Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977), the great Russian-American literary enchanter, were contemporaries and fellow exiles. Artistic geniuses both of them, Nabokov and Bunin were old-fashioned liberals, staunch anti-Bolsheviks, and extraordinarily complex individuals. In the new book by the award-winning author and scholar Maxim D. Shrayer, the story of these writers' complex literary and personal relationship is set against the rich backdrop of the history of Russian emigration from the 1920s to the 1970s, from Germany and France to America and, later, Switzerland. How are literary legends formed and forged? What stood behind the competition of these two literary geniuses? Based on over twenty years of archival investigations, this captivating story of Bunin and Nabokov's rivalry reveals many previously unknown aspects of Russian and émigré cultural history while also highlighting fascinating aspects of literary dynamics. Simultaneously a double literary biography and a cultural history of exile, the book has broad appeal to readers the world over.

 

 



Praise for Maxim D. Shrayer's Nabokov and Bunin: A History of Rivalry

Maxim D. Shrayer's brilliant investigation of the literary kinship and rivalry of Bunin and Nabokov—the vibrancy of thought and the impeccable style of the book itself—serves as the best proof that one can emigrate from Russia, but not from the Russian language.
— Sergei Medvedev, historian

One reads the preface to this book and instantly recalls the opening pages of The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco ... Shrayer has not only included in his book... fascinating evidence of Bunin and Nabokov's rivalry but has also succeeded in unifying all the evidence into a whole picture which the reader will regard with pleasure.
— Oleg Lekmanov, literary scholar

Maxim D. Shrayer tells his story with new details because he managed to study the archival materials that had been previously virtually unknown ... New colors have been added to the portraits of two great writers.
— Sergei Ilyin, translator [of Vladimir Nabokov into Russian]

In this wonderful, scrupulously researched book, the case of Bunin and Nabokov reveals a matrix of a falsely-genuine friendship of two major Russian authors, each of them single-minded to the point of being doomed to solitude.
— Viktor Erofeev, writer

Maxim D. Shrayer's book offers a fascinating journey through time, filled to the brim with recollections and pictures of the past. Such literature always enjoys success with a wide reading audience.
— News of Petersburg

In his new book Maxim D. Shrayer ... untangles ... the complexities of the personal and literary relations of the two principal 20th-century Russian authors who lived in exile... This enthralling book is also unique because of of its 'supporting' materials and layers of archival information: the correspondence of Bunin and Nabokov, diaries, photographs taken from archives....
— Komsomolskaya Pravda

At the [2014] Non/fiction Book Fair the Russian-American writer Maxim D. Shrayer presented a book about the history of [Nabokov and Bunin's] rivalry—an intelligent, thoughtful book, to which one keeps wanting to return. I read it with a pencil in hand, admiring the author's text, comparisons, juxtapositions, notes....
— Echo of Moscow