This book is a fascinating exploration of largely uncharted territory in the history of Russian religious thought. Focusing on four brilliant representatives of the "Russian religious renaissance" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuriesVladimir Solovyov, Vasily Rozanov, Nikolai Berdyaev, and Boris VysheslavtsevAnna Lisa Crone masterfully details their efforts, which were at first quite independent of the work of Sigmund Freud and later highly critical of it, to establish the importance of the sex drive in human life and to reinterpret Christianity as a religion of the flesh as well as the spirit. Crone's use of the concept of sexual sublimation (developed by Solovyov and Rozanov before Freud had described it) and its connection with human creativity is the perfect foil for bringing out and clarifying the agreements and differences between the Russian religious thinkers on the one hand and the secular psychoanalysts such as Freud, Carl Jung, and Otto Rank on the other. New light is cast on all these figures by Crone's adroit analyses, which will also be welcomed by anyone interested in the roots of creativity, the cultural significance of sexuality, or the essence of Christianity.James P. Scanlan, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, The Ohio State University
About the Author
Anna Lisa Crone was Professor of Russian Literature at the University of Chicago. Her first monograph, published in 1978, was an innovative literary study of the Russian philosopher Vasily Rozanov. Entitled Rozanov and the End of Literature: Polyphony and the Dissolution of Genre in Solitaria and Fallen Leaves, it opened a new chapter in the study of Russian philosophical discourse.In 2001 she published The Daring of Deržavin: The Moral and Aesthetic Independence of the Poet in Russia. In 2004, together with Jennifer Day, she published My Petersburg/Myself: Mental Architecture and Imaginative Space in Modern Russian Literature. Her final years were devoted to the present monograph on the philosophies of eros in Russian modernism.