Forthcoming Publication: My
Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya
My Life offers an intimate view of Tolstoy as both a writer and a human being. It offers a new and better understanding of Tolstoy’s character, his failings as a husband and a father, and portrays the quintessential Tolstoyan character which underlies his fiction. It presents new factual details of his life and sheds new light on old ones. It sets forth important facts and commentaries concerning Tolstoy’s life and work to which Tolstaya alone was privy, especially since her memoirs cover a period during which Tolstoy’s diary entries were sparse.
It also reveals that Tolstaya was an accomplished author in her own right—as well as a translator, amateur artist, musician, photographer, and businesswoman—a rarity in the largely male-dominated world of the time. She was instrumental in the relief efforts for the 1891–92 famine, fundraising among Russia’s cultural elite. She was a prolific correspondent, in touch with many prominent figures in Russian and Western society. Guests in her home ranged from peasants to princes, from anarchists to artists, from composers to philosophers. Her descriptions of these personalities read as a chronicle of the times, affording a unique portrait of late-nineteenth-century Russian society, ranging from peasants to the Tsar himself.
My Life lay dormant for almost a century before it was considered ready to be offered to the world in its entirety, even in its original language. Now its first-time-ever appearance in Russia is complemented by a full English translation, the rights for which were granted by the State L. N. Tolstoy Museum in Moscow to the Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa in Canada.
My Life will be published in a single hardcover volume,
including a critical introduction by Andrew Donskov and a series of practical
appendices. The complete and unabridged English translation by John
Woodsworth and Arkadi Klioutchanski is highlighted by useful annotations for
Western readers. The publication date is scheduled for May 2010.
Compiling the new Complete Collected Works of
Tolstoy in One-Hundred Volumes
Along with research on literary and philosophical connections between
Tolstoy’s creative heritage and world culture, attention ought be paid to the
reactions abroad to Tolstoy and his creative works during his life; for
instance, first publications of his works in foreign languages and information
about his translators.
We hope that the proposed program will interest our colleagues abroad and that the cooperation with become a substantial addition to the academic project of the Complete Collected Works of L. N. Tolstoy, a unique cultural project of the twenty-first century. More detailed information can be obtained from Marina Ivanovna Shcherbakova, director of the Department of Classical Russian Literature at the Institute of World Literature:
Professor Andrew Donskov, Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at the University of Ottawa, has joined the editorial board for the new, 100-volume Complete Collected Works of Tolstoy, published by the Gorky Institute for World Literature, under the general supervision of A. V. Gulin. Donskov is the only non-Russian national to be included on the board.
Professor Donskov is a leading Canadian Slavist in Russian literature and a world-renowned Tolstoy expert. His meticulous research on Tolstoy's drama and the perception of the Russian peasantry (especially religious dissidents) on the part of Tolstoy and other nineteenth-century Russian writers challenged prevailing critical opinion. His ongoing work on Tolstoy's epistolary legacy and his publication of hitherto unpublished archival materials has likewise been met with worldwide acclaim. He is the first Canadian to be awarded the Pushkin medal for scholarly achievements in Russian literature, and the only North American scholar invited to participate as a contributor in the massive new edition of Tolstoy's works now being published by the Russian Academy of Sciences.