Classification – name: Literary studies
Pages: 391-404
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: Documentary and Fiction Literature in Russia of the 18–19 Century
Year of publication: 2022
Place of publication: Moscow


Author: Natalia I. Gorodilova (Romanova)
Gorodilova (Romanova), N.I. “Author’s Presence in the Novel ‘Anna Karenina’: Documentary in Artistic.” Documentary and Fiction Literature in Russia of the 18–19 Century. Ex. ed. V.M. Guminsky. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2022, pp. 391–404. (In Russian)

About the author:

Natalia I. Gorodilova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the 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 is devoted to the synthesis of artistic and documentary principles in the novel “Anna Karenina”. An appeal to memoirs and epistolary sources made it possible to identify the documentary sources of a number of novel events, prototypes of heroes both main and secondary, mental interests and everyday features of the era reflected in the artistic fabric of the work. All these facts clearly testify to the topicality of “Anna Karenina”, saturated with the spirit of the 1870s. The scientific novelty of this work lies in the fact that the issue of subjectivity of the novel is considered in the context of the creative and spiritual evolution of the author, each stage of which had its own moral dominant, mood. The world outlook crisis of Tolstoy, which preceded his new understanding of life, was reflected in his work on the novel. The story of Levin with his painful search for the meaning of life, religious doubts embodied the innermost thoughts of the author, which he repeatedly expressed in letters to N.N. Strakhov. The novel becomes the artistic embodiment of religious and philosophical thoughts of the writer and precedes the most important stage in his biography. It is no coincidence that after “Anna Karenina” Tolstoy published “Confession”. The kinship of artistic and journalistic works not only testifies to the undoubted proximity between Levin and Tolstoy, but also outlines serious differences between them.

Keywords: the history of Russian literature of the 19th century, L.N. Tolstoy, novel, journalism, memoir-epistolary sources, creative history, fiction, autobiography.