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New approaches to the study of L.N. Tolstoy's creative work

The article presents a comparative description of several scientific approaches to the study of L.N. Tolstoy's creativity. The author mainly compares the ways of studying the writer's personality and creativity in the Soviet academic literature and the latest science of the last twenty years. In the Soviet years, the fundamental foundations of Tolstoy studies were laid, which are still the basis for understanding the writer's artistic world. However, according to the authors, there was a significant ideological emphasis in the study of the writer's work, made by Lenin, who called Tolstoy a mirror of the Russian revolution. The article analyzes the main trends of post-Soviet Tolstoy studies. Special attention is paid to the research of the writer's spiritual and religious world, which significantly changes the idea of Tolstoy as an ideologue of the revolution. The authors conclude that there is a significant change in the interpretation of the personality and creativity of the great Russian writer.

At different times, literary scholars used different methods and approaches in the study of literary works. Sustained attention to L. Tolstoy's legacy is evidence that it remains the most important factor in culture in 21st century. However, in modern science to this day there is no universally accepted concept of his creative work, «every time... It turns out to be a problem» in both the research understanding and the reader's understanding.

Modern literary scholars see the reason for the difficult reading of his works in that Tolstoy was not previously viewed as a thinker or spiritual mentor. Mostly literary scholars of the Soviet period focused on its importance in shaping social and political development. Therefore, for all the variety of points of view on the Tolstoy's phenomenon, the purpose of the modern researcher of his heritage should be to identify «the true essence of the writer, the deep meaning of his throwing».

Literary scholars of our time — A.S. Kondratiev, M.Y. Belyanin pay close attention to the poetry of his works and emphasize the identification of the peculiarities of artistic detail. At the same time, in their opinion, the spiritual component of L. Tolstoy's works, concluded in his texts, was previously completely ignored, and if we find its mention in the works of literary scholars of the 20th century, the study does not go beyond the boundaries of long-existing and proven works, noting the existing religious component in the texts as Tolstoy's confirmation of Christian purity. Therefore, modern literature believes that the artistic heritage of the writer needs a new interpretation that meets his artistic and philosophical principles.

In view of the task set, it is necessary to expand the limits of perception of patterns and to try again to understand the spiritual dominants of the writer's consciousness. For this reason, Belyanin and Condratiev consider the comment of V. Remizov to be fair: «We do not have a developed concept of Tolstoy's worldview». This judgment has not lost its relevance and reflects the state of modern Tolstoy's science in general.

The lack of an established scientific concept of the history of Russian literature led researchers to a distorted perception of Tolstoy's worldview. A typical example of such an attitude to Tolstoy's heritage is the article of N.I. Prutskyi «L.N. Tolstoy, History, Modernity», in which the researcher, by virtue of a known installation, distorts the content of his teachings, offering his interpretation, which goes back to Leninist postulates.

Characterizing the state of modern literature science, it can be concluded that the focus of research attention on the methodology of analysis of texts goes back in one way or another to Marxist-Leninist methodology, despite all polemicity and even opposition to the source of post-Soviet scientific thought. Tolstoy's science of the Soviet period was methodologically based on articles expressing V. Lenin's view about Tolstoy. According to him, in the work of the writer there is a protest... «Against the impending capitalism, ruin and disallowing of the masses, which was to be generated by the patriarchal Russian village» [1; 63]. In these words, Lenin wanted to express the importance of Tolstoy-Artist. «Tolstoy is funny, as the prophet who discovered new recipes for saving mankind — and therefore very little foreign and Russian «Tolstoyans» who wished to turn into dogma just the weakest side of his teaching. Tolstoy is great as an expression of the ideas and sentiments that have developed among millions of Russian peasants by the time of the bourgeois revolution in Russia. Tolstoy is original, for the totality of his views, taken as a whole, expresses just the peculiarities of our revolution as a peasant bourgeois revolution» [1; 66]. Lenin believes that it was this protest that gave rise to him with the peasants, and the mighty element of peasant sentiment was took over by the author.

Consequently, the concept of his creative work of that time was this: his texts express a slice of the views of the widest popular masses in Russia (and it is village, peasant Russia). Tolstoy shares the view of a patriarchal, naive peasant; he transfers his psychology to his criticism, to his teaching. Tolstoy in Soviet times presented to all the writer both contradictory and holistic, he is a critical artist-denunciator, whose world perception was caused by sharp change of norms and centuries of entrenched foundations of prerevolutionary Rus. Accordingly, Tolstoy^ works of the Soviet study is characterized by their perception mainly as an illustration of the social failure of the people.

Famous critics and literary scholars G.V. Plehanov, S.P. Bychkov, M.B. Khrapchenko belong to judgements about the influence of the environment on the writer. They consider a religious artist and thinker based on a class approach, arguing that the spiritual crisis he suffered in 1870–1880 is due to the influence of society, in which he becomes a writer on matters of everyday life of the highest class. The causes of the crisis should not be sought in its life circumstances, but attention should be paid to the social factor of their emergence. As the root cause in his work, M.B. Khrapchenko points to the writer's impressions of the people's liberation movements and the protest of peasants who lived in patriarchal society and by all forces opposed to the offensive of capitalism.

In the works of the above-mentioned literary scholars, we see an emphasis only on the social impact on the creative work of the writer. Its origins and meaning are explained by the logic of the revolutionary democratic movement. G.V. Plekhanov does not comply with his judgment with the peculiarities of the phenomenon of Tolstoy consciousness: «The brewing and completion of the fracture in Tolstoy's worldview lies between two democratic ups in the country — 1859–1861 and 1879–1880» [1; 12].

As well, one of the main Soviet methodological settings of the study of L. Tolstoy's creative work is the provision that the works of the writer have a pronounced Christian dominant. [2; 58]. In the perception of D.S. Mezhkovsky — poet, literary critic and religious philosopher — Tolstoy is a living embodiment of Christian spirituality and the embodiment of true Orthodoxy (he... «Oddly to say, more ecclesiastical than the church itself, more Orthodox than Orthodoxy itself». «If you have excommunicated Tolstoy from the church, you will excommunicate us all because we are with him and we are with him because Christ is with him» [3; 143]. The literary critic, publicist and religious philosopher V.V. Rosanov also held the opinion about the fertile influence of the writer on moral culture: «Tolstoy... there is a huge religious phenomenon, maybe — «the greatest phenomenon of religious Russian life in the 19th century» [4; 17].

Today, most of the researchers of creative heritage of L.Tolstoy (V.S. Sabirov, O.S. Soina, O.A. Kirichenko, etc.) refute Mezhkovsky 's judgment, because his judgment «not only does not reveal the logic of Tolstoy 's own reasoning, but even obscure it, because the true position is D.S. Mezhkovsky himself, not Tolstoy, and therefore it is not clear how the «true» church can be, which is so easily abandoned, and excommunication from such a church is necessary only because, that «they» are with Tolstoy, and what then is her «truth» if Christ is not with her?» [5; 112].

I.A. Yesaulov continued the ideas of V.V. Rosanov and D.S. Mezhkovsky. His research echoes their writings: «The understanding in the artistic work of the Christian essence of man and the Christian picture of the world testifies to the Christian tradition itself» [4; 71]. He agrees with their judgment that there are no characters, personalities, heroes and even actors in the works of Tolstoy. There are only «contemplating», «suffering» people, victims who do not give themselves up to fight, but humbly accept the flow of naturalanimal life (for example, Anna Karenina) [4; 34].

We cannot say unequivocally that the spiritual component of L. Tolstoy's works is not of interest to literature in modern times. Tolstoy's spiritual searches as a subject of study still attract the attention of some scientists (for example, B.I. Bursova, G.J. Galagan), but it should be noted that today they are less relevant for modern science. In a different way, Tolstoy^ texts were interpreted during the Soviet period. Tolstoy, according to them, came from the idea of good, which should be unconditional and absolute. He was longing for absolute good. Related to this quest for absolute good is his preaching of non-opposition to evil, his philanthropic activities. It is hard to disagree with their judgment, and modern literature accepts this view.

For Tolstoy's studies of the present day, these provisions of the above-mentioned literary scholars are not clearly perceived as correct, as in the 2000s the works see the status of the human person as somewhat vulnerable and downplayed. The early position does not so much clarify the essence of Tolstoy's world perception as it moves further away from the thinking reader, who tries to understand the logic of the reasoning of literary scholars, who prove without appeal that the true religious nature of Tolstoy is by nature a synthesis of Orthodox and pagan (evidence of this can be given by the phrase Merezhkov «divine animality»). Strange for modern literature is their assumption that the abyss of the animal beginning in every person, about whom Tolstoy writes, can protect the person from destruction and death.

Thus, modern researchers (A.B. Tarasov, I.A. Yesaulov, A.S. Condratiev, M.Y. Belyanin and others) do not share the view of Soviet literary scholars about the writer's proximity to coups and revolution, proving that «the Russian Revolution was a kind of celebration of Tolstoy». If you consider him a revolutionary writer, not in a broad sense. In it is necessary to see first of all a close spiritual mentor, but not a social reformer. The social and moral improvement of society that the writer proposed could be achieved by a non-violent change in its structure, and love, which «is God, is life itself» [5; 76].

Literary scholars and critics who revealed the «charge of revolution» in his novels distort his spiritual appearance. L. Tolstoy distanced himself from revolutionary axiology; he recognized the moral crisis of Russian reality, the root cause of which was the coup. Modern literature does not take seriously the comments of E.P. Andreyeva, published in her work «Tolstoy-Artist in the Last Period of Activity»: «The Revolution captured the writer with strength, the justice of its liberation ideas» [5; 64].

Taking into account the religious and proximity to the revolution, the complex consecration of the image of man in the work of L. Tolstoy in the literature of the 20th century was not studied. The situation changed after the publication N.G. Nabiev's monograph «Man in L.N. Tolstoy's World». In it, we see an analysis of the existence of man in the historical process and his self-determination in the family relations presented in the texts of Tolstoy. Nevertheless, in his work we do not find a generic description of aspects of human existence. They have not explored the previously unresolved problems of finding the meaning of life, the formation of personality and faith. The dignity of his monograph can be considered important observations over the artistic embodiment of man in Tolstoy's work, conclusions about the peculiarities of the human soul of Tolstoy, supported by rich material. At the same time, it is necessary to recognize that the content of the inner life of the heroes of Tolstoy remained not covered by the researcher.

N.G. Nabiyev reveals the most important feature of the image of man in the work of L. Tolstoy. For the Tolstoy-artist, the main goal and the highest criterion of artistic character is a person who «can be improved to Christ, she as an earthly beginning through spiritual self-improvement, i.e. through the development of those natural spiritual beginnings that are invested in it by nature itself, can reach the ideal of Christ» [5; 78]. In her research, E.V. Pechurova pays close attention to the study of Evangelical quotations in the work of the late Tolstoy, which are «carriers and exponents of both the idea of a particular work and the writer's religious and moral views» [6; 59].

In recent decades, scientists from the humanitarian fields of knowledge have actively used the achievements of psychology in the study of their disciplines, which has been reflected in literature. Researchers began to try to interpret literary works in the light of the theory of archetypes of K. Yung. The theory of the collective unconscious, or the theory of archetypes, has contributed to active work on the study of the psychology of literary creativity and those patterns involved in the process of creating images, and has also contributed to the development of rethinking artistic texts from the perspective of psychology.

Collective unconscious is expressed inadvertently in sleep, in delusions, speech errors, but it can be activated by methods, associations. They explain the relationship between writer's creativity and reading perception with mental activity responsible for creating archetypal images in consciousness. The result of this activity depends on many factors not fully determined by psychology. Careful consideration is required by the ratio of natural and social, individual and collective beginnings in the psyche, as it finds its realization in the object of art.

The interpretation of the artistic text from the perspective of the theory of the collective unconscious, according to scientists, can add some specificity and clarity to the study of this issue. It focuses on the universal part of the reader's psyche and separates the individual inherent in the literary hero from the socialtypical one.

Dream in a literary work is an oneyrical text. i.e. a difficult organized story invented by the author of dream. having external and internal speech. description. narrative episodes. remakes. comments including fragments of self-analysis and interpretations. «One of the tasks of philological work is to study the poetry of dream. which is the origin not of the Unconscious Dream. but of the author's plan. i.e. Conscious. however realistic and vital a literary dream is depicted». T. Teperic writes in his article («Literary Dream: Terminological Aspect») [7; 30].

V.V. Saveleva. T. Teperik. Y.P. Polonsky. D.A. Nechaenko are united in the opinion that the addressee of creativity is definitely the author. Tolstoy himself is the epitome of the highest forces. the creator of the reality of the world of literary work and heroes who see dreams. That is why the writer is the first addressee. Tolstoy can show or hide it in different forms. Material for dreams of characters is the author's own dreams (for example. the dream of A. Balkonsky. seen by him before his death. echoes the dream of L. Tolstoy). philological analysis of the text — descriptions of the sleep of a hero. etc. In episodes describing character dreams. the author of «War and Peace» does not control them. grants them freedom of action. and does not try to unify human nature at the level of metaphysical. irreal being. as he tries to unify it in the world real. Because in Tolstoy's artistic world. while the character is alive. the reader cannot know for sure what the next dream. dictated by feeling. thoughts and sensations. he will see.

V.I. Porudominsky and V.V. Saveleva believe that in his works there is a connection between the world of sleep and the theme of death and in proof give an example from «Childhood». Awakening the main character from sleep. describing the shame and irritation he experiences towards the awakened Carl Ivanovich. To explain her unexpected tears. Nicolenka invents a terrible. «bad dream» — «as if maman died and she is carried to be buried» [8; 129]. As we remember. a invented dream will be precognitive dream.

Thus. L. Tolstoy's works consist of describing dream as the natural domestic and biological time of human being and describing character dreams as a special area of borderline being consciousness. subconscious and feelings.

As a result of the study of new approaches to the interpretation of L. Tolstoy's creativity. we can conclude that modern science has not fully overcome the temptation to previously tested approaches to the study of works. which sometimes leads to a clear lack of provisions and conclusions about the creative searches of the writer. However. it is worth recognizing that Tolstoy's science of the present day reflects the topical problems of interpreting creative searches of the writer. artist and thinker. among which the most significant attitude of the writer to the revolution and Orthodox faith. continuity of stages of his creative searches. artistic concept of man seem.



  1. Tarasov, A.B. (2001). V poiskakh vysshei pravdy [In search of the highest truth]. Literaturnaia ucheba — Literary study, 6, 178–184 [in Russian].
  2. Yesaulov, I.A. (2004). Pashalnost russkoi slovesnosti [Paschality of Russian literature]. Moscow: Kruh [in Russian].
  3. Merezhkovsky, D.S. (2000). Revoliutsiia i relihiia [Revolution and Religion]. L.N. Tolstoi: pro et contra — L.N. Tolstoy: pro et contra. Saint-Petersburg: RHHII [in Russian].
  4. Yesaulov, I.A. (2005). Hristianskii realizm kak khudozhestvennyi printsip Pushkina i Hoholia [Christian realism as Pushkin and Gogol's art principle]. Hohol i Pushkin: Chetvertye Hoholevskie chteniia — Gogol and Pushkin: The fourth Gogol readings. Moscow: BHU [in Russian].
  5. Remizov, V.B. (1998). Tolstoi: dialohi vo vremeni [L.N. Tolstoy: dialogues in time]. Tula: THPU imeni L.N. Tolstoho [in Russian].
  6. Pechurova, E.A. (2018). Bibleiskie tsitaty v pozdnikh proizvedeniiakh L.N. Tolstoho [Biblical quotations in the later works of L.N. Tolstoy]. Vestnik Karahandinskoho universiteta. Seriis Filolohiia — Bulletin of the Karaganda University. Series Philology, 4, 55–61 [in Russian].
  7. Savelyeva, V.V. (2013). Hudozhestvennaia hipnolohiia i oneiropoetika russkikh pisatelei [Artistic hypnology and oneyropoetics of Russian writers]. Almaty: Zhazushi [in Russian].
  8. Porudominsky, V.I. (1997). Sny i snovideniia v dukhovnykh iskaniiakh Tolstoho [Dreams and Dreams in the Spiritual Searches of Tolstoy]. Chelovek — Man, 6, 149–160 [in Russian].

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