Muza (Bunin)

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Summary of the Short Story
Microsummary: A man studying painting in Moscow fell in love with a conservatoire student. They lived together until she left him for a neighbor, leaving him heartbroken and alone.

A man, who was no longer young, decided to pursue his passion for painting and moved to Moscow. He took lessons from a well-known but talentless artist and lived a dull life.

Narrator — narrator; a man studying painting in Moscow; passionate, romantic, and heartbroken.

One day, a young woman named Muza Graf, a Conservatoire student, visited him. She had heard he was an interesting person and wanted to meet him.

Muza Graf — a conservatoire student; young, strong, direct, and independent.

I’m a Conservatoire student, Muza Graf. I heard you were an interesting person and I’ve come to meet you. Do you have any objection?

They quickly became close and spent a lot of time together, attending concerts, exhibitions, and even public lectures.

The day after tomorrow I want to have dinner with you at the Prague. I’ve never been there, and I’m very inexperienced in general. I can imagine what you think of me. But in actual fact, you’re my first love.

In May, they moved to an old country estate outside Moscow. Muza began to live with him as his wife, managing the household. They were visited often by a neighbor, Zavistovsky, a poor landowner who was also a good musician.

Zavistovsky — a poor landowner and musician; puny, gingery, and timid.

One day, the man returned home to find Muza missing. He went to Zavistovsky's house and found her there. She told him that she was leaving him for Zavistovsky. The man was heartbroken and left, unable to bear the sight of them together.