Keywords: Leo Tolstoy, Sevastopol stories, Crimean War, Malakhov Kurgan, historicism, poetics, documentary.
For citation:

Shcherbakova, M. I. “Sevastopol Stories by L. N. Tolstoy as a Document of the Epoch.” Dva veka russkoi klassiki, vol. 5, no. 2, 2023, pp. 90–103. (In Russ.)

Author: Marina I. Shcherbakova
Information about the author:

Marina I. Shcherbakova, DSc in Philology, Director of Research, А. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


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Received: March 16, 2023
Approved after reviewing: April 28, 2023
Published: June 25, 2023
Issue: 2023 Volume 5 No. 2
Department: Textual Criticism. Source Study
Pages: 90–103

UDK: 821.161.1.09"19"


The article deals with the Sevastopol stories of Leo Tolstoy in comparison with memoir sources and documents reflecting the events of the Crimean War of 1853‒1856. The works of M. I. Bogdanovich, E. I. Totleben, H. J. Gubbenet, F. K. Zatler, N. I. Pirogov, N. V. Berg, O. I. Konstantinov demonstrate the examples of historical evidence. The article shows that the source of the genre nature of the Sevastopol stories was the military experience of the young officer Tolstoy, who created a panorama of events woven from a qualitatively different figurative and artistic material and having an immeasurably greater impact than statistics and official documents. The analysis covrers artistic techniques of the writer in the paintings of the Sevastopol hospital, the assault on the Malakhov Kurgan and the departure of the Russian army from Sevastopol. Summing up the results, it can be concluded that the artistic scale of the Sevastopol stories created by Tolstoy corresponds to the historical scale of military events. The author not only did not deviate from the historical truth, but revealed the tragic depth and sacred meaning of the Crimean War in Russian history.


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