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date: 01 December 2021

Leo Tolstoy and US Utopian Literaturelocked

Leo Tolstoy and US Utopian Literaturelocked

  • Galina AlekseevaGalina AlekseevaState Museum-Estate of Leo Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana

Summary

American utopia in literary and documentary texts by American writers had an impact on Leo Tolstoy’s ideas and writings, which can be seen in the marginalia and annotations he left in his extensive personal library.

The concept of utopia was deeply ingrained in Tolstoy, beginning with the childish legend of “the green stick” engraved with the magic words of universal happiness. As a child Tolstoy was fascinated with the potential of the “green stick” and its secret that could make all men happy, and he tried many times to find it. Tolstoy examined and developed this concept of universal happiness throughout different periods of his life.

From the mid-1880s to his departure from Yasnaya Polyana in 1910, Tolstoy stayed in close contact with American religious writers. During this period, he received many books and periodicals from America and thus got to know the works of numerous American writers, philosophers, and public figures who were close to him in spirit. Tolstoy had a keen interest in American history, culture, art, traditions, and especially in the religious movements of America. Some of these ideas found expression in Tolstoy’s fiction and other writings.

Subjects

  • North American Literatures

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