Fascination and Aversion: Science in Tolstoy’s Work
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- Fascination and Aversion: Science in Tolstoy’s Work
- Yoon, Saera
- Tolstoy; Science; Life; Non-Fiction; History
- Issue Date
- 한국외국어대학교 러시아연구소
- 슬라브연구, v.27, no.4, pp.147 - 165
- Tolstoy is known for a vocal critic of science and modern technology. This paper questions the general notion of the Russian master’s hostility toward science and thus investigates Tolstoy’s view in three dimensions: 1) his life and non-fiction, 2) Tolstoy’s artistic representation of Levin and a scientist in Anna Karenina, 3) Tolstoy’s quest of science in history writing. Tolstoy turns out to have devoted much attention to science. He understood the importance of science education and such view is clearly reflected his treatment of science in Azbuka, a textbook for peasant children. Scientific topics such as electricity and heat are included in harmony with other themes. Tolstoy takes the same approach in presenting Levin in Anna Karenina. Levin, a former science student, is fundamentally scientific minded, but ultimately overcomes the limitation of science and its world-view. The comparison of Levin with a biologist Katavasov underscores Tolstoy’s underlying criticism of professional scientists. Nonetheless, Tolstoy’s fiction writing is rooted in thorough analysis and with War and Peace the writer strove to raise history to the level of science. Caught between fascination and aversion, Tolstoy carves out his own unique relationship with science.
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