Skip to main content

Leo Tolstoy and Liberalism

Wednesday, January 18, 2023, 11:00 am – 1:00 pm

One of the most outspoken proponents of modern anarchism, Leo Tolstoy developed his political outlook in dialogue with a number of European and Russian liberal thinkers. In this lecture I will discuss Tolstoy’s lifelong fascination with the Decembrists, a group of early Russian liberals who organized Russia’s first secret societies in the late 1810s and early 1820s. Tolstoy’s critical appropriation of the Decembrists’ legacy informs not only War and Peace, which was originally conceived as a historical novel about the Decembrists, but also Tolstoy’s later novels, treatises, and essays.