Leo Tolstoy and the Canadian Doukhobors
A Study in Historic Relationships. Expanded and Revised Edition
Imprint: University of Ottawa Press
Following the completion of his major novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Russian writer Leo Tolstoy experienced a spiritual crisis that led him to denounce the privileges of his social class and its attendant material wealth and embrace the simple rural life of the peasantry. In the persecuted Russian Doukhobor sect, who also rejected militarism and church ritual in favour of finding God in their hearts, he saw a prime example of how it was possible to live his new-found pacifist ideals in everyday life. He was so taken with their lifestyle, calling the Doukhobors “people of the 25th century” that, in 1898, he decided to help finance their mass emigration to Canada, away from the persecutions of the Russian church and state.
Andrew Donskov’s expanded study presents an outline of Doukhobor history and beliefs, their harmony with Tolstoy’s lifelong aim of “unity of people,” and the portrayal of Doukhobors in Tolstoy’s writings. This edition features Tolstoy’s complete correspondence with Doukhobor leader Pëtr Vasil’evich Verigin. Three guest essays by prominent Canadian Doukhobors are also included.
This expanded and revised edition is especially timely and applicable to a world fraught with conflict, distemper and belligerence on many sides. The issues it deals with are relevant to mainstream society’s day-to-day relationships with any identifiable group marked by ethnic, cultural, religious, or simply geographical distinctiveness. Donskov’s book is the first thorough and profound research work on this important subject. It covers the entire history of the Tolstoy–Doukhobor relationship, including the pre-emigration period [...] This is an ambitious, inclusive work, and is a wonderful reference and resource on this specific subject.
Supported by a considerable array of source materials, this monograph will be of relevance to anyone interested in religious, philosophical, sociological, pacifist, historical, or literary studies.
Published in English.