Keywords: L. N. Tolstoy, Russian Empire, Third Rome, “War and Peace,” Sevastopol stories, religious philosophy, epic.
For citation:

Gulin, V. A. “Leo Tolstoy as a Singer of the Russian Empire.” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 4, no. 2, 2022, pp. 18–41. (In Russ.)

Author: Alexander V. Gulin
Information about the author:

Alexander V. Gulin, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, A. M. Gorky institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Received: February 04, 2022
Approved after reviewing: March 27, 2022
Published: June 25, 2022
Issue: 2022 Volume 4 No. 2
Department: Russian Literature of the 18th–19th Centuries
Pages: 18-41

UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"


The reported study was funded by Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFBR), project number 20-012-00102.



 The article is devoted to the study of a unique literary phenomenon: the transformation of the subjective anti-state aspirations of the artist into images glorifying the Russian Empire in the work of Leo Tolstoy. The originality of Tolstoy’s poetic principles is largely determined by the unity of his personal religious faith and creative method, psychological in nature. The Russian Empire is considered by the author of the article as the highest expression of the ideals of the Third Rome, opposite to Tolstoy’s, which received their formalization in the organizing formula of S. S. Uvarov “Orthodoxy – Autocracy – Nationality.” It is proved that imperial insights and revolutionary paradoxes in the creative world of Tolstoy form an indissoluble unity, where paradox is always a necessary condition for insight, its tool, its driving force. On the material of the Sevastopol stories, the epic novel “War and Peace”, the novel “Anna Karenina” it is shown how the subjective epic nature of the writer’s works in contact with the material of Russian reality “grows” with objective meanings, acquiring the features of a truly national, imperial epic. Simultaneously with the research article, it is methodological in nature; the principles of a strictly authentic interpretation of Leo Tolstoy’s heritage as a whole are formed in the work.



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