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Grant number like: FA-56536-12

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Irina Paperno
University of California, Berkeley (Berkeley, CA 94704-5940)

Fellowships for University Teachers
Research Programs

[Grant products]

$50,400 (approved)
$50,400 (awarded)

Grant period:
9/1/2012 – 8/31/2013

"Who, What am I": Leo Tolstoy and the Narrative of Self

The project explores the non-fiction writings of the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy: his diaries, letters, memoirs, and tracts. The goal is to analyze Tolstoy's unique experimentation with the exploration of self in writing--his attempts to answer the question "Who, what am I?" I argue that what was at stake was more than a literary task: it was a philosophical, moral, and religious quest. In its approach and method, the project follows the path of those scholars in the humanities (Paul Ricoeur, Peter Brooks, Paul John Eakin, and others) who investigate the problems of self (personal identity) as it relates to various narrative forms. To this day, the large body of Tolstoy's personal documents and non-fictional texts has not been a subject of monographic research. Taken Tolstoy's importance as a writer and his enormous influence as a moral and religious philosopher, I hope that my project will have intellectual significance to scholars as well as the general audience.