Tolstoy and Spirituality

Tolstoy and Spirituality


Edited by Predrag Cicovacki & Heidi Nada Grek

ISBN: 9781618118707 (hardback)
Pages: 264 pp.
Publication Date: November 2018

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This interdisciplinary collection of essays examines Leo Tolstoy’s unorthodox and provocative approach to spirituality, as presented in his numerous literary and his philosophico-religious works. The collection includes twelve contributions written for this volume. Its contributors are writers, philosophers, literary critics, and experts in Russian literature. Six of the essays examine Tolstoy’s literary works while the other six scrutinize more closely his philosophical views. The two central foci of examination are The Kreutzer Sonata and The Kingdom of God is within You.

Predrag Cicovacki is Professor of Philosophy at the College of the Holy Cross. He is the author of ten books, including The Luminosity of Love (2018), Gandhi’s Footprints (2015), and Dostoevsky and the Affirmation of Life (2012).

Heidi Nada Grek is a PhD candidate in German and Comparative Literature at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research interests include Goethe’s Faust, the European epic tradition, and world literature. She is also a co-translator (from Serbian) of Laza Kostić, The Basic Principle (2016).


Tolstoy and Spirituality, edited by Predrag Cicovacki and Heidi N. Grek, will genuinely deepen our understanding of Tolstoy both as creative artist and as a philosopher. Cicovacki and Grek brought together some of the world’s finest scholars of Tolstoy to engage with each other on the daunting subject of Tolstoy’s spirituality, and the resulting volume is intensely focused, carefully organized, and of great interest. In other words, this is not a book of ‘conference proceedings’ but represents, instead, a major contribution to Tolstoy studies.
— Robin Feuer Miller, Edytha Macy Gross Professor of Humanities and Professor of Russian and Comparative Literature, Brandeis University

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors


1. But to Continue the Life—For What Purpose?
Mikhail Shishkin

2. Tolstoy’s Fiction: Its Spiritual Legacy
Rosamund Bartlett

3. What Is the Good According to Tolstoy, and How Good Can I Be?
Donna Tussing Orwin

4. Tolstoy’s Unorthodox Catechesis: English Novels
Liza Knapp

5. Tolstoy and Diderot on Women as “Dangerous Objects”
Miran Bozovic

6. Tolstoy’s Divine Madness: An Analysis of The Kreutzer Sonata
Predrag Cicovacki

7. The Kreutzer Sonata, Sexual Morality, and Music
Alexandra Smith

8. A Prophet of the Family: Vasily Rozanov Reads Tolstoy
Diana Dukhanova

9. The Death of Ivan Ilyich: Death and Authentic Life
Božidar Kante

10. Tolstoy’s Spiritual Nonviolence
Robert L. Holmes

11. Three Attempts on Carthage: Tolstoy’s Designs of Nonviolent Destruction
Inessa Medzhibovskaya

12. Tolstoy’s Philosophical Legacy
An Interview with Abdusalam A. Guseynov