Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)

Leo Tolstoy (1828–1910)

The collection marks the 190th anniversary of the birth of Leo Tolstoy – one of the most prominent Russian writers, great novelist, enlightener, thinker, founder of the religious and moral teaching – ‘Tolstoyism'.

Leo Tolstoy is primarily known as the author of great literary works. The collection provides access to electronic copies of first magazine publications of his novels – War and Peaсe (Russkiy Vestnik periodical began publishing the novel under the title 1805) and Anna Karenina.

However for the writer his literary oeuvre was less important than the books, which expressed his world view, the results of his spiritual search. These works may be found in the “Essays” subsection, “The oeuvre of Leo Tolstoy” section. It features A Confession (1870), the religious and philosophical treatise What I Believe?, which came out in 1884 and was instantly banned. The treatise stated the basic principles of Tolstoyism, which led to the denial of existing forms of the state, religious and public life.

The teaching of Leo Tolstoy sparked off a public controversy. The collection includes both the materials about Leo Tolstoy’s followers, as well as the works, which denounce Tolstoyism. These are in particular digitized diaries of John of Kronstadt, who criticized the value system proposed by Leo Tolstoy. This view on Tolstoyism was shared by the Orthodox Church. In 1901 Leo Tolstoy was excommunicated by the Holy Synod. The archival records of K. P. Pobedonostsev, Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod, available in the collection, feature the correspondence dealing with the excommunication of Leo Tolstoy, and in particular the letters of S. A. Tolstaya, who vehemently stood up for her husband.

The collection also provides access to electronic copies of pedagogical articles and educational books written by Leo Tolstoy, images of Leo Tolstoy and places associated with his name.

A total of 250 items build up the collection.

The collection is based on the documents, books, visual materials from the holdings of the Russian State Historical Archive, the Russian State Library, the Russian Institute of Art History, the Herzen State Pedagogical University Fundamental Library, the Children’s Postcard Museum and other sources.