INSTRUCTOR: Ms. Thompson


The purpose of the course is to familiarize you with the major works of Leo Tolstoy and with the range of interpretations of this writer's works in Russian and American literary criticism.

A secondary goal is to acquaint you with Tolstoy's background as a Russian and as a human being who never gave up his search for answers to the fundamental questions of human existence.


Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (Harper)

Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (Norton)

Tolstoy, War and Peace (Norton)

Tolstoy, The Confession and Other Religious Writings (Penguin)



Tolstoy, by A.N. Wilson (Norton) (biography)

Tolstoy's Major Fiction, by Edward Wasiolek (interpretation)

CLASS SCHEDULE (fall semester):

Meeting 1: Why read Tolstoy? What can you expect from the course?

Leo Tolstoy, "Family Happiness," read by August 31

"The Cossacks," read by September 7

"The Devil," read by September 14

War and Peace, read half of it by September 16, the remainder by  September 30

Mid-term recess: October 11-12

"The Death of Ivan Ilych," read by October 14

"Father Sergius," read by October 19

"The Confession," read by October 21

"The Kreutzer Sonata," read by October 26  

"Hadji Murad" and "Alyosha the Pot," read by November 2

Anna Karenina,  read by November 9

The dates are approximate. Quizzes will be given on "The Cossacks,"War and Peace, Anna Karenina, "The Death of Ivan Ilych," "Father Sergius," "The Confession," "The Kreutzer Sonata," and "Hadji Murad," on or after the day indicated in CLASS SCHEDULE. CLASS PRESENTATIONS can deal with any work of Tolstoy.


Lectures, presentations, discussion.


two presentations - 25 percent of the grade

participation in class discussion - 15 percent of the grade

passing quizzes on the assigned works - 20 percent of the grade

two papers (ca. 2,000 words each) due after mid-semester break and one week after the last day of classes  (earlier submissions are welcome) - 40 percent of the grade


critical essays in the Norton edition of W&P and AK

Tolstoy, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth

Tolstoy, Diaries (Scribner's)

Tolstoy, What Is Art?

R. F. Christian, Tolstoy (Cambridge)

Alexandra Tolstoy, Out of the Past (Columbia)

See you in class!

Updated 05/05/10