For citation:

Gulin A.V. The “Rebellion” in Bogucharovo in Leo Tolstoy’s War And Peace: Sources, Philosophy, Poetics. Studia Litterarum, 2020, vol. 5, no 1, pp. 162–177. (In Russ.)

DOI: 10.22455/2500-4247-2020-5-1-162-177

Author: A.V. Gulin
Information about the author:

Alexander V. Gulin, DSc in Philology, Leading Research Fellow, А.M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of Russian Academy of Sciences,
Povarskaya 25 а, 121069 Moscow, Russia.

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

Received: January 12, 2020
Published: March 25, 2020
Issue: 2020 Vol. 5, №1
Department: Russian Literature
Pages: 162-177

UDK: 821.161.1
BBK: 83.3(2Рос=Рус)52
Keywords: Tolstoy, Pushkin, Pugachev, Napoleon, civilization, novel, history, people, Nikolai Rostov.


The article attempts to comprehensively analyze the scenes of “the revolt in Bogucharovo,” the only episode in War and Peace devoted to the theme of civil unrest. The study of the historical sources used by Tolstoy allows us to conclude that the literary representation of a failed rebellion was deeply rooted in the realities of 1812. The article reveals a correlation in the national consciousness of the epoch between the figures of Emelyan Pugachev and Napoleon Bonaparte as different embodiments of a single life model, which proclaimed the will of a sinful man as the only driving force of existence. The article also brings to light the originality of Tolstoy’s ideological position, which was based on the principle “There are no guilty people in the world.” The author examines the scenes of “the revolt in Bogucharovo” from the standpoint of the conflict of natural life and civilization, which is present throughout the novel. The poetics of the episode, that is the poetics of spontaneous emotion and action, is derived from the religious and philosophical views of the writer. The scenes of “the revolt in Bogucharovo” in the novel realistically present episodes of Russian history and artistically “darken” the natural course of life. Artistic realism and religiousphilosophical utopianism in Tolstoy’s novel interact in a paradoxical yet productive manner.


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