The Optina Pustyn Monastery in the Russian Literary Imagination

Iconic Vision in Works by Dostoevsky, Gogol, Tolstoy, and Others

by Leonard J. Stanton (Author)
Others XVI, 308 Pages


Between 1821 and 1891, the Optina Pustyn Monastery of Konzel'sk, in Russia's Kaluga Government, was the site of an unprecedented - and as yet unequaled - period of religious and literary flowering. Optina Pustyn was a mecca for many of Russia's most prominent writers and thinkers. Distinguished visitors included Ivan Kireevsky, Nikolai Gogol, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy. This study explains why Optina and its renowned «elders» held a special attraction to Russia's literary giants. It reveals how the elders' use of language was rooted in the «iconic vision» of Optina's fifteen-hundred-year-old tradition of contemplative monasticism. It is the first study to examine Optina's social gravity against the broad background of nineteenth-century institutions of Church and Intelligentsia.


XVI, 308
ISBN (Hardcover)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt/M., Paris, Wien, 1995. XVI, 308 pp.

Biographical notes

Leonard J. Stanton (Author)

The Author: Leonard J. Stanton teaches Russian language, literature, and culture at Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He earned his Ph.D. in Russian Literature from the University of Kansas. Dr. Stanton's areas of interest include Russian religious philosophy, Dostoevsky and the theory of language and word. His research and writing of this book were supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Louisiana State University Council on Research.


Title: The Optina Pustyn Monastery in the Russian Literary Imagination