Andrew Donskov. Leo Tolstoy and Nikolaj Strakhov. A Personal and Literary Dialogue. L. N. Tolstoi i N. N. Strakhov: Epistoliarnyi dialog o zhizni i literature. Ottawa: Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa and State L. N. Tolstoy Museum, 2008. 138 pp. Illustrations. Bibliography. $15.00, paper.
The year 2003 saw the welcome publication of the complete correspondence between Lev Tolstoi and Nikolai Strakhov [L. N. Tolstoi i N. N. Strakhov. Polnoe sobrante perepiski. Ottawa: Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa and Moscow: State L. N. Tolstoy Museum]. This two-volume publication included a critical introduction written in English by the editor, Andrew Donskov. The book under consideration here offers a separate, revised printing of this essay, as well as a Russian translation of it by Arkadi Klioutchanski. The texts are annotated, and each is followed by a bibliography. The bibliographies are in different formats: after the English text, all entries are listed alphabetically in the Roman alphabet; after the Russian text, the bibliography first lists Russian sources in the Cyrillic alphabet and then English sources in the Roman alphabet. Entries are not given in identical fashion: note, for example, that Dostoevskii's letters are listed under the name of the editor, A. S. Dolinin, in the English bibliography and under Dostoevskii's name in the Russian one. There are two illustrations: a copy of the first page of Tolstoi's first letter to Strakhov, dated 19 March 1870; and a copy of Strakhov's first letter to Tolstoi, dated 18 November 1870. One also finds a small portrait of Tolstoi and of Strakhov on the cover of the book.
In comparison to the first printing of the introduction, the essay in the publication of interest here does not contain major revisions. Its basic purpose, in addition to arguing convincingly of the value of the Tolstoi-Strakhov correspondence itself, remains to acquaint the reader with Strakhov as a person, critic, and thinker and with the basic aspects of the relationship between Strakhov and Tolstoi. …