Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 345–381
Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
Rights – URL:
Language of the publication: Russian
Type of document: Research Article
Collection: L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory
Year of publication: 2021
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Irina I. Sizova
Sizova, I.I. “Peasant Diaries and Folk Theme in L.N. Tolstoy’s Creative Laboratory of the 1870s.”ˮ L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 345-381. (In Russ.)

About the author:

Irina I. Sizova, PhD in Philology, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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


The article examines the folk theme in Leo Tolstoy’s historical works of the 1870s; for the first time, materials from the diaries of Yasnaya Polyana peasants D.D. Kozlov and A.R. Bocharov are introduced into scientific circulation, and their reception in the writer’s work is revealed. The structure of the work is maintained in a certain sequence. The manifestation of the peasant theme is first considered in the entries of notebooks and diaries of the indicated period. Then, in this key, the novels about Russian bogatyrs, from the times of Peter I, “The Decembrists”, “One Hundred Years”, “Toiling and Burdened” are analyzed. Excerpts from the diaries of D.D. Kozlov and A.R. Bocharov, the most significant for understanding the artist’s creativity and worldview, are given in the “Appendix”. On a broad biographical and artistic basis, it is concluded that the diaries of D.D. Kozlov and A.R. Bocharov influenced Tolstoy’s understanding and artistic expression of the peasant theme. Features of the author’s awareness of the concept of “people” reveals the complex of aspects: the dynamics of the development of the category of nationality in the poetics, aesthetics, historiosophy of Tolstoy, principles of the formation of peasant images, the issue of their prototypes. In the artist’s legacy, the people act as the engine of history, as the creator, carrier and guardian of language and culture.

Keywords: historical novels, L.N. Tolstoy, diaries, category of nationality, poetics, aesthetics, historiosophy, artistic image and its prototype.