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Forthcoming Publication: My Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya
The University of Ottawa Press is pleased to announce the forthcoming publication of My Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya in May 2010. (The preparation of the manuscript was originally announced in Volume XIX (2007) of Tolstoy Studies Journal.)

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.

Publication details:
Tolstaya, Sofia. My Life: The Memoirs of Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya. Ed. Andrew Donskov. Trans. John Woodsworth and Arkadi Klioutchanski. U of Ottawa P, 2010. 1160 pages, 64 pages of color and black-and-white photographs. Hardcover. ISBN: 9780776630427. $89.95.

Participate in Compiling the new Complete Collected Works of Tolstoy in One-Hundred Volumes
The Gorky Institute of World Literature, part of the Russian Academy of Sciences (ИМЛИ-РАН), invites scholars from around the world to participate in compiling the academic edition of Tolstoy’s Complete Collected Works in 100 Volumes. In particular, the Institute welcomes research manuscripts that explore Tolstoy’s personal and literary influence abroad. Tolstoy entered into correspondence with an extraordinarily broad circle of foreign contemporaries. Until now, this material has been published in fragments. For the present Complete Collected Works, a more careful preparation and full inventory is necessary: We need to know, for instance, pertinent information about his foreign correspondents, their fates and creative paths.

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.
The sheer breadth of this program allows us to invite not only established scholars in the field, but also young specialists, graduate students, and university students. If necessary, IMLI-RAN can support these researchers with special lecture courses and individualized tutorials.

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:

Marina Shcherbakova
Gorky Institute of World Literature
Slavic Research Group, University of Ottawa


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.

Read the announcement, in Russian, here.

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.


In Memoriam: Lidia Dimitrievna (click here to read the obituary)