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A.M. Gorky Institute
of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences

IWL RAS Publishing

A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature
of the Russian Academy of Sciences


Povarskaya 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia



Types of publications

  • Classification – name: Literary studies
  • Author: Marina A. Mozharova
  • Pages: 184–208
  • Publisher: A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences (IWL RAS Publ.)
  • Rights – description: Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 (СС BY-ND)
  • Rights – URL: Visit Website
  • Language of the publication: Russian
  • Type of document: Research Article
  • Collection: L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory
  • DOI:
  • Year of publication: 2021
  • Place of publication: Moscow
  • PDF

  • Mozharova, M.A. “Textual Criticism of L.N. Tolstoy’s Unfinished Works of 1860–1870s.” L.N. Tolstoy: Moral Search and Creative Laboratory. Moscow, IWL RAS Publ., 2021, pp. 184–208. (In Russ.) 9208-0664-2-184-208

About the author:

Marina A. Mozharova, PhD in Philology, Senior Researcher, A.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya 25 a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.


E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


The article is devoted to L.N. Tolstoy’s unfinished works, published in academic Complete Works in 100 volumes (vol. 9, 2014). The author explores textual features of comedies “The Contaminated Family”, “The Nihilist” and the novel “The Decembrists”. Complications in studying the text of unfinished works arise from many factors, the main being the preservation of manuscript collection. Textual critic often has to reconstruct separate words or text fragments predicating on autographs and authorized copies. Another factor which greatly influences  author’s text is the work of copyists. Their deliberate or unintentional meddling in the text usually results in losses but sometimes it becomes Tolstoy’s new source of inventive solutions. Another problem is the peculiarity of the writer’s handwriting which causes textual discrepancy. When it comes to selecting the main text source for the publication, the most difficult case is with “The Contaminated Family”. Although Tolstoy had finished the comedy, to this day we only have its unfinished copy as some manuscripts and the last version proofread by the author have not been preserved. The author of the article compares old publications of comedy (1928, 1930, 1936, 1982) and substantiates the main source for the academic edition. On the basis of detailed study of the preserved autographs and handwritten copies of Tolstoy’s unfinished works the progress of the writer’s work is shown, copyists’ work is analyzed and new interpretation of certain words is offered.

  • Keywords: L.N. Tolstoy, textual criticism, incomplete work, publication, autograph, manuscript, author’s handwriting.


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