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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

Information about the author:

Olga A. Kaznina, DSc in Philology, Senior Researcher, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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The present article is devoted to the multidimensional analysis of the book by I.A. Bunin “Liberation of Leo Tolstoy” (1937). Attention is devoted to the history of its creation and to its unique structure, combining the genres of memoirs, journalistic sketch, diary, epistles and literary portrait with philosophical contemplation. Special consideration is paid to the properties of style of the text as well as to the development of the artistic image of Leo Tolstoy. The center of the research is occupied by the problem of the spiritual and religious quest of Tolstoy in the latest decades of his life, to his multifaceted concept of liberation and also to the enigma of his last flight from Yasnaya Poliana. Bunin’s interpretations are investigated on the complex background of literary, philosophical and theological evaluations of Tolstoy’s worldview, as it took shape after the spiritual crisis of his later years. Different reactions to his final escape are also taken into account. The article reflects the positions of G. Adamovitch, V. Hodasevitch, V. Maklakov, I. Shahovskoy, S. Bulgakov, as well as many other literary critics, philosophers and theologians. Bunin’s book is investigated as a source for the studies of spiritual and intellectual quest on the verge of the centuries, i.e. the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th century. Bunin’s book is presented also in the context of Russian émigré literary and philosophical criticism.

  • Keywords: Leo Tolstoy, I.A. Bunin, spiritual quest, liberation, Buddhism, Christianity, philosophical diaries, literary and philosophical criticism.


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