From the aesthete to the pedagogue : the Yasnaya Polyana peasant school as the experimental laboratory for Tolstoy's creative transformation

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Title: From the aesthete to the pedagogue : the Yasnaya Polyana peasant school as the experimental laboratory for Tolstoy's creative transformation
Author: Clayton, Nadya Yurievna
Abstract: This dissertation examines Tolstoy’s reevaluation of his creative approaches to writing through the medium of his experimental pedagogical work with the peasant children on his estate . It is argued that Tolstoy’s pedagogical interlude forms an important bridge to the writer’s fiction and should not be viewed as a digression from his development as a writer , but as an integral part of it . This project explores how the educational essays Tolstoy wrote during this period facilitate his transition from championing the aesthetic theory of “pure art” in his formative years as a writer for The Contemporary to a more mature author of War and Peace , the major masterwork that is imbued with conclusions reached during his pedagogical interlude . Tolstoy’s evolution as a writer is examined in the context of his relationship to the aesthetic ideas of the 1850’s that became a springboard for Tolstoy’s later aesthetic concepts . A comprehensive textual analysis of Tolstoy’s lesser known early works such as Notes from Lucerne and “Albert” is undertaken in order to highlight some of their important stylistic peculiarities that provide a valuable insight into the authorial presence and the nature of Tolstoy’s aesthetic rhetoric . Further , it is demonstrated how the school at Yasnaya Polyana becomes the writer’s experimental workshop , a testing ground for Tolstoy’s pedagogical theories and his creative ideas , which he checks against his students’ perception . Finally , the study is concluded by examining Tolstoy’s most encompassing work , his epic novel War and Peace through the medium of his educational writings and ideas . By locating some of the main concepts of his pedagogical philosophy in the context of this monumental masterwork , we illuminate their meaning more clearly as filtered through the prism of Tolstoy’s creative thought in order to demonstrate to what extent Tolstoy’s educational ideas informed his creative writings . It is established that all the central principles of Tolstoy’s educational thought such as his pedagogy of freedom , his ideas of aesthetic education through reading , art and music , his religious and moral education found their reflections on the pages of War and Peace and commend a great deal to a modern educator .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2433
Date: 2011-02-10

Citation

From the aesthete to the pedagogue : the Yasnaya Polyana peasant school as the experimental laboratory for Tolstoy's creative transformation. Doctoral dissertation, University of Texas at Austin. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /2152 /ETD -UT -2010 -12 -2433 .

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