‘Bethink yourselves or you will perish’: Leo Tolstoy’s voice a centenary after his death

2011-02-23T16:39:49Z (GMT) by Alexandre J.M.E. Christoyannopoulos
When Leo Tolstoy died in November 1910, he was just as famous for his radical political and religious writings as he was for his fictional literature. Yet during the hundred years that have passed since, his Christian anarchist voice has been drowned by the sort of historical forces he had always been so eager to make sense of. Today, only few of even those acquainted with his literature know much about his unusual and radical religious and political writings (other perhaps than that they were unusual, radical, religious and political). What he has to say to Christians, to anarchists and indeed to the wider public, however, is just as urgent today as it was at the time of writing. In this testimonial to mark the centenary of his death, therefore, I wish to first provide a brief story of what happened to Tolstoy’s voice, and then to hint at the importance of the sort of contributions he can make to a number of vital challenges facing us today.

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