Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1885

Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1885

by Inessa Medzhibovskaya

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Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1885 by Inessa Medzhibovskaya

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780739140765
Publisher: Lexington Books
Publication date: 07/15/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 450
File size: 754 KB

About the Author

Inessa Medzhibovskaya is assistant professor of literature at the Eugene Lang College of the New School.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Table of Contents
Chapter 2 Dedication
Chapter 3 Epigraph
Chapter 4 Preface and Acknowledgements
Chapter 5 Introduction
Chapter 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
Chapter 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

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