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Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy: Resident and Stranger

Richard F. Gustafson
Copyright Date: 1986
Pages: 504
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  • Book Info
    Leo Tolstoy
    Book Description:

    Much of what was central to Tolstoy seems embarrassing to Western and Soviet critics, points out Richard Gustafson in his absorbing argument for the predominance of Tolstoy's religious viewpoint in all his writings. Received opinion says that there are two Tolstoys, the pre-conversion artist and the post-conversion religious thinker and prophet, but Professor Gustafson argues convincingly that the man is not two, but one.

    Originally published in 1989.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6027-2
    Subjects: History

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Preface
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  5. Translation and Transliteration
    (pp. xv-xviii)

      (pp. 3-52)

      Tolstoy was a man of many crises. Throughout his long and full life, from his youthful Caucasian adventures and military service, his enthusiastic pedagogical endeavors, his inspired period of literary creativity, his histrionic mid-life conversion, his intense immersion in matters theological, and his tortured attempts to reshape himself and the world, culminating in the tragic drama of his married life, he was moved by one continually reiterated experience. “I feel that I am perishing—that I am living and dying, that I love life and fear death—how can I be saved?” (48,187;1878). And with these repeated crises came the...

    • Chapter Two THE CAREER OF LIFE
      (pp. 53-109)

      In his first attempt at a philosophical essay Tolstoy argued that his experience of life resulted from the interaction of the “I” and the “non-I” (1,226;1847). His basic assumption was that the relationship between self and other involves what he called love. Not surprisingly, then, in his simplistic and moralistic “Rules” for life from this same period, Tolstoy asserted that the “source of all feelings in general is love, which can be divided into two classes: love for self . . . and love for everything that surrounds us. All feelings which have as their source love for the whole...

    • Chapter Three THE STRUGGLE FOR LOVE
      (pp. 110-160)

      InThe CossacksandWar and Peacethe heroes seek to learn who they are. They discover their identity in relationship to the All but find their vocation only at the end and in abstract visions. They do not live or work in the ordinary, everyday world of Russian upperclass reality. Both fictions assume that, once faith is apprehended, one’s career in this life should be resolved, as it is in the epilogue toWar and Peace,in family happiness. One’s true vocation is not questioned. The happiness of love simply comes to those who are married and devoted to...

    • Chapter Four THE WAY TO LOVE
      (pp. 161-214)

      The crisis recorded inA Confessionwas Tolstoy’s turning point in self-articulation. His sense of purpose and meaning which he had found in his participation in cultural and family life faded into the ever-present question “why.” “My life stopped. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and couldn’t help breathing, eating, drinking, and sleeping, but there was no life because there were no desires whose satisfaction I could find reasonable” (iv). The source of his depression, he came to see, was his own failure to participate in true life and true love. In the black past, Tolstoy now believed, he...


    • Chapter Five THE WAYS TO KNOW
      (pp. 217-276)

      For tolstoy the fundamental questions—who am I? where am I going? what is good? what bad? what is life? what is death?—are the questions that the thinkers of his time could not and would not answer. The materialist assumptions of the positivists and their growing faith in science and technological progress were leading the human race, he thought, into an intellectual and moral impasse. The natural and social sciences, while capable of elucidating particulars in great detail, seemed to see the world only in fragmented bits and answered only unnecessary questions. What was even worse, Tolstoy felt, was...

      (pp. 277-337)

      The representation of the character’s knowledge is one of the central features of Tolstoy’s fiction. Moments when the characters confront themselves or something outside themselves are singled out and scrutinized with a microscopic focus on the process of knowing. Often such moments are telling in the lives of the characters, so that the psychological eavesdropping is a part of the general psychological analysis of character. But even so at times, from the point of view of the development of the story, the detail may seem excessive for this purpose. The narration stops, and the author indulges in an exploration of...

      (pp. 338-402)

      Tolstoy’s psychology of human consciousness is grounded in the acts of remembering and forgetting. Recollective consciousness discloses and reveals who we are and where we are going. To the extent that this recollection turns one toward the divine self within, it is an act of faith or a moment of prayer. However, there is another kind of remembering, diametrically opposed to this state of awareness. For Tolstoy the recollection of self as personality blocks the awareness of the divine. This is the consciousness of self that to the young Tolstoy was the “greatest evil” (46,66;1851). This self must be forgotten....

      (pp. 403-455)

      The vast majority of people in Tolstoy’s fictional universe have no moment of recollection, intoxication, infection, or ecstasy. We see them only for brief moments in their lives, and they are represented in one unaltered state of awareness. They do not grow or change. These people do not seek to know themselves or find God. In contrast to these people, the central figures change. They do not have a fixed identity, and they are in quest of their vocation. Unlike the static souls, these people have an awareness of themselves. This consciousness of themselves varies, and itself can go through...

    (pp. 456-464)

    Leo tolstoy is a Russian Christian artist and theologian of the second half of the nineteenth century. His task was to create an image and idea of life as understood in the Eastern Christian tradition but freed from what he believed were ecclesiastical misreadings of dogmas and from what he felt was the pompous and meaningless jargon of most philosophical and theological discourse. His two guiding ideas are freedom and unity, and over these he saw himself at odds with both the religious and secular sectors of the world in which he lived. The Russian Orthodox Church and the traditional...

  9. Bibliography
    (pp. 465-470)
  10. Index
    (pp. 471-480)
  11. Back Matter
    (pp. 481-485)