Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Затылок Occiput (The Back of Bunin's Head)
This is a back view of the Bunin statue in Yelets, Russia. Sculptor: Yury Grishko. Bunin, who was always the artist of the keenly observant eye, once remarked that he could develop a vehement dislike for a person just by looking at the back of his head.
This recalls a passage in the Bunin short story, "Петлистые уши" ("Noosiform Ears"). The pervert-protagonist Sokolovich is describing his theories of degeneracy to a casual acquaintance, when the latter asks him how you recognize a degenerate.
"By the ears, for example," answered Sokolovich, half serious, half mocking. "Degenerates, geniuses, tramps and murderers all have noosiform ears, that is, ears shaped like a noose--the very thing used to choke the life out of them" (Night of Denial, p. 271).
In his Grass of Oblivion Valentin Kataev remarks, ironically, that Bunin himself had noosiform ears.