BN.com Gift Guide

Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1887

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
$100.00
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $75.00
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 25%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (7) from $75.00   
  • New (6) from $100.59   
  • Used (1) from $75.00   

Overview

The first book-length study on the subject in any language, Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time treats Tolstoy's experience as a massive philosophical and religious project rather than a crisis-laden tragedy. Inessa Medzhibovskaya explains the evolution of Tolstoy's religious outlook based on his ongoing dialogue with the tradition of conversion in Europe and Russia, as well as on the demands of his own heart, mind, and spirit. The author contextualizes Tolstoy's conversion, comparing his pattern of religious conversion with that of other notable religious converts-Saint Paul, Saint Augustine, Luther, Pascal, Rousseau-as well with that of Tolstoy's countrymen-Pushkin, Gogol, Chaadaev, Stankevich, Belinsky, Herzen, and Dostoevsky. Stressing the importance of the religious culture of his time for Tolstoy, this study investigates the nineteenth century debates that inspired and repelled Tolstoy as he weighed arguments for or against faith in his dialogues with the culture of his time, covering widely differing fields and disciplines of experimental knowledge. The author considers German Romantic philosophy, the natural sciences, pragmatist religious solutions, theories of social progress and evolution, and the historical school of Christianity. Medzhibovskaya stresses the fact that influential intellectual currents were as important to Tolstoy as believers and nonbelievers were from and beyond his immediate environment. The author argues that, in this sense, Tolstoy's conversion emerges as deeply intertextual, and this surprising discovery should not diminish our trust in Tolstoy's sincerity during his religious evolution, which occurred both spontaneously as well as deliberately. The polyphony of discreet spiritual moments that Tolstoy created by fusing in his narratives of conversion religious and artistic realms is arguably his greatest contribution to spiritual autobiography.
Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Richard Gustafson
With this authoritative and revealing study of Tolstoy's quest for faith, based on his every word and placed in its appropriate Russian and Western philosophical context, Inessa Medzhibovskaya emerges as the leading Tolstoy scholar of her generation in Russia and the West.
Caryl Emerson
Tolstoy's spiritual conversion—severed from its rich European contexts and unjustly reduced to guilt, moral epiphany, pathology, personal caprice, fear of death—has remained the greatest puzzle of his life and career. This marvelous book reconnects Tolstoy with his culture by following, step by step and over four decades, his quest for 'reasonable necessity and conscious freedom,' in a story that expands the conversion moment from a singular threshold into a vast, fraught, thrilling terrain.
Donna Orwin
Critics usually treat Tolstoy's frequent references in his writings before 1880 to God and religion as unself-conscious cultural clichés or occasional swallows that do not make a spring. In Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of his Time, Inessa Medzhibovskaya weaves such references into a retelling of Tolstoy's life and works from beginning to end. Neither traditional Orthodox Christian nor doubting Western philosopher, Medzhibovskaya's Tolstoy employs all available weapons in a lifelong struggle with faith very relevant to readers today.
Spring 2009 Slavic and East European Journal
Tolstoy and the Religious Cutlure of His Time is an important book on several levels. It offers a beautifully scholarly examination of Tolstoy's thinking on faith that gives us new readings of both his philosophy and his literary works, while also offering an exploration of faith, doubt, and conversion in nineteenth-century Russia.

Medzhibovskaya explores Tolstoy's movement towards conversion within a rich variety of contexts. She offers a highly detailed profile of the complex environment in which Tolstoy came of age as a thinker, an environment that incorporated Western philosophy, Orthodox theology, and the Russian literary and political tradition. She also puts Tolstoy's conversion within the context of contemporary theories of how conversions work.

Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time offers a fresh, powerful, and convincing reading of Tolstoy's life, work, and faith. Grounded in careful, thorough scholarship, it provides us with a way of thinking about Tolstoy that is ultimately new. It is a must-read not only for Tolstoy scholars, but also for anyone interested in Orthodoxy, doubt, and conversion.

Fall 2009 Slavic Review
This book is indeed a very detailed intellectual-or rather philosophical-biography of Tolstoi, from the age of 17-59. . . . The quantity and thoroughness of Medzhibovskaya's research are stupendous.
Slavic and East European Journal
Tolstoy and the Religious Cutlure of His Time is an important book on several levels. It offers a beautifully scholarly examination of Tolstoy's thinking on faith that gives us new readings of both his philosophy and his literary works, while also offering an exploration of faith, doubt, and conversion in nineteenth-century Russia.

Medzhibovskaya explores Tolstoy's movement towards conversion within a rich variety of contexts. She offers a highly detailed profile of the complex environment in which Tolstoy came of age as a thinker, an environment that incorporated Western philosophy, Orthodox theology, and the Russian literary and political tradition. She also puts Tolstoy's conversion within the context of contemporary theories of how conversions work.

Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time offers a fresh, powerful, and convincing reading of Tolstoy's life, work, and faith. Grounded in careful, thorough scholarship, it provides us with a way of thinking about Tolstoy that is ultimately new. It is a must-read not only for Tolstoy scholars, but also for anyone interested in Orthodoxy, doubt, and conversion.

Slavic Review
This book is indeed a very detailed intellectual-or rather philosophical-biography of Tolstoi, from the age of 17-59. . . . The quantity and thoroughness of Medzhibovskaya's research are stupendous.
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780739125335
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 4/1/2008
  • Pages: 450
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Meet the Author

Inessa Medzhibovskaya is assistant professor of literature at the Eugene Lang College of the New School.
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Table of Contents Chapter 2 Dedication Chapter 3 Epigraph Chapter 4 Preface and Acknowledgements Chapter 5 Introduction Part 6 I Chapter 7 1 Challenges of Modernity: The Russian Vertigo in Personal Experience and Literature to 1847 Chapter 8 2 Portrait of the Artist as a Young Nonbeliever Chapter 9 3 Superfluity and the Religion of Writing (1852-1863) Chapter 10 4 Belief System in War and Peace Chapter 11 5 The Unfinished Battle: The Case with the Epilogues Chapter 12 6 Tolstoy's Path toward Conversion: 1869-1875 Part 13 II Chapter 14 7 The Course of Tolstoy's Conversion: From Philosophy to Christ (1875-1878) Chapter 15 8 Turning with Christ Chapter 16 9 Religious Experience and Forms of Accounting Chapter 17 10 Logos and Its Life in the World Chapter 18 11The Death of Ivan Il'ich Chapter 19 12On Life and Conclusion Chapter 20 Appendix I: "On Prayer" Chapter 21 Appendix II: "Prayer of Granddaughter Sonechka"; "Prayer" (1909) Chapter 22 Bibliography
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)