Instructor: Svitlana Kobets, PhD


Life Institute, The Chang School, 

Ryerson University, Toronto, Canada 

8 Wednesdays, June 3-July 29, 2020 (no class on July 1)

3-5 pm 

Tolstoy’s renown masterpiece, War and Peace (1869) defies straightforward categorization. It is a family novel, a Bildungsroman, a psychological novel as well as a historical novel. In this class we will explore a wide scope of its themes, which embrace the meaning of human existence, family values, one’s spiritual quest, love and selfhood. We will approach this novel through the close reading, which will go parallel to several background mini-lectures presenting the nineteenth-century European and Russian history, Russian culture as well as Tolstoi the artist, religious thinker, and philosopher.

We will read War and Peace in Peaver/Volokhonsky translation (Vintage Classics, 2008). Assignment for the first class: Vol. 1, Part 1, pages 3-111.



Harrold Bloom (ed.) Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Chalsea, 1991.


George R. Clay, Tolstoy's Phoenix : from method to meaning in War and peace. Northwestern University Press, 1998.


Harry John Mooney, Tolstoy's Epic Vision: A Study of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. University of Tulsa, 1968.


Laura Jepsen, From Achilles to Christ: The Myth of the Hero in Tolstoy's War and Peace. Tallahassee,1978


Kathryn B. FeuerTolstoy and the Genesis of "War and Peace." Cornell University Press, 2008.


Donna Tussing Orwin, Tolstoy’s Art and Thought, 1847-1880. Princeton University Press, 1993.

© 2021 by Svitlana Kobets. All right reserved.