On the path of spiritual healing: Leo Tolstoy and the Tolstoyans in search for moral meaning of work.



The human work occupies one of the main places in the religious and philosophical concept of life by Leo Tolstoy. In his system of values, the labour remains one of the foundations of human existence, while reinforcing the soul salvation doing. According to the writer, however, not any labour can give meaning to life. Tolstoy presents his point of view on this subject in the article Non-doing and the essay Work, death and illness. The most convincing from this point of view are the scenes of “bread labour” in the novel Anna Karenina, where gospel motifs are evident, as well as the story Kreutzer Sonata, where the idle life of the privileged classes is condemned with the help of the series of animalistic metaphors. Tolstoy’s ideas are also reflected in activities of a number of Tolstoyan communes including Life and Labor in Siberia.


L.N. Tolstoy; labour; Kreutzer Sonata; Non-doing; Tolstoyan communes.

DOI: 10.31249/lit/2022.04.05

Download text