Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 14–65
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: Alexander V. Gulin
Gulin, А.V. “The Epic Novel ‘War and Peace’ as a Religious and Poetic Unity.” L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 14–65. (In Russ.) 9208-0664-2-14-65

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.



The article is devoted to the study of the spiritual basis of Leo Tolstoy’s epic novel “War and Peace”. The connection between the poetics of the novel and the religious and philosophical concepts that defined the writer’s worldview by the mid-1860s is studied. The hypothesis is put forward that, in relation to the novel, one can speak not only about religious and philosophical issues, but also about religious and philosophical poetics. An attempt is made to establish the nature of the attitude to reality of the artistic picture of the national past created on this basis. Tolstoy was characterized by a sensory-psychological experience of the past and, to a much lesser extent, its contemplation, correlated with certain stable truths located outside the artist’s personality. The great work of Russian literature is considered primarily as a complex body of interrelated poetic insights and philosophical paradoxes. The author determines the place of Tolstoy’s historical and religious thought in the spiritual movement of Russia in the middle of the 19th century, the correlation between traditional and revolutionary principles in the ideological and poetic structure of “War and Peace”.

Keywords: “War and Peace”, poetics, religious philosophy, Leo Tolstoy, Napoleon, Bolkonsky, Bezukhov, Natasha Rostova.