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book cover

6 X 9 inches, 488 pages

ISBN 0889273200
Temporarily out of print

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Slavic Research Group

Leo Tolstoy and the Canadian Doukhobors

An Historic Relationship

Andrew Donskov

Cover art by Jan Kabatoff

Canada-Russia Series, No. 7

THIS STUDY, BASED IN GOOD PART on a variety of hitherto unpublished documents (government and official Orthodox Church reports, diaries and letters, as well as Tolstoy's treatises and works of fiction), and complemented by guest essays, oral interviews and questionnaires, seeks to trace the nature of the evolving relationship between one of Russia's greatest writers and the people known as the Doukhobors, to whom he was a kindred spirit, lending his moral and financial support to their emigration en masse to Canada in 1899.

A pragmatist, Tolstoy was not content to confine his creative output to the philosophical plane. He was constantly searching for practical examples to illustrate his theories about the attainment of truth, on the meaning of life. He had for some time been looking to the simple peasant way of life to satisfy this need. It was in the Doukhobors's beliefs — and especially in their lifestyle, their honest toil, their communal ethos, their pacifist principles — that Tolstoy saw the practical embodiment of the ideals he himself would have liked to achieve.

A joint project of the Centre for Research on Canadian-Russian Relations at Carleton University and the Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa

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