Keywords: M. N. Tolstaya, L. N. Tolstoy, Catholic treatise, Scupoli, temptations, knowledge of God, humility, service, deaconess, catechism.
For citation:

Belousova, E. V. “Review of Tolstoy’s Mother M. N. Tolstaya Collection in the Manuscript Department of the National Library of Russia.” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 5, no. 3, 2023, pp. 236–273. (In Russ.)

Author: Elena V. Belousova
Information about the author:

Elena V. Belousova, Senior Researcher, L. N. Tolstoy Museum-estate “Yasnaya Polyana”, 301214 Yasnaya Polyana, Russia.

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

Received: June 27, 2023
Approved after reviewing: August 02, 2023
Published: September 25, 2023
Issue: 2023 Volume 5 No. 3
Department: Textual Criticism. Source Study
Pages: 236–273

UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"


The article presents an analysis of M. N. Tolstaya collection, kept since 1903 in the Manuscript Department of the National Library of Russia. It consists of 85 manuscripts with a common volume of 4027 sheets. In the 1810s–1820s Tolstaya translated from French into Russian the treatise “Le combat spiritual,” which was a translation of the medieval work of L. Skuupli “Il combattimento spiritual.” She titled her manuscript “Spiritual Combat.” She did not know the Russian text of Skupoli’s work, translated by I. S. Andreevsky in 1787, since it was forbidden to be printed. The article compares some fragments of the “Spiritual Battle” with the “Invisible Warfare” of St. Theophan the Recluse — the famous Russian translation of “Il combattimento spiritual.” For the purpose of religious enlightenment of the Yasnaya Polyana peasants in the 1820s Tolstaya writes “Instruction on the Christian Law, Selected from the Poor’s Store” — an independent work in the catechism genre. It is not known whether she knew the Catechism of Metropolitan Filaret, however, the general structure of these works has much in common. Tolstoy’s activity as a spiritual writer was caused by the desire to improve in the knowledge of God and to serve others.


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