Title of the article:



Anna S. Akimova

Information about the author/authors

Anna S. Akimova — PhD in Philology, Senior Research Fellow, А. M. Gorky Institute of World Literature of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Povarskaya St. 25a, 121069 Moscow, Russia.
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0732-1854
E-mail: a.s.kimova@mail.ru.


Philological sciences




Vol. 69


pp. 326–338


March 27, 2023

Approved after reviewing

April 18, 2023

Date of publication

September 25, 2023



Index UDK


Index BBK



This study was supported with a grant from the Russian Science Foundation (project no. 23-18-00303). Available at: https://rscf.ru/project/23-18-00303/.


The research bases on reviews of Soviet critics collected and systematized for the first time on the works of A.N. Tolstoy dedicated to the Peter’s I epoch such as the story Peter’s Day (1918) and the play On the Rack (1929). These works directly related to the idea of the novel Peter the Great. As shown in the periodical press reviews of the play, as well as of the performance, soon to be staged by the Moscow Art Theater 2 (1929), their perception determined the tone of the papers dedicated to the first book of the novel Peter the Great (1930). The study provides an overview of all six reviews written by Boris Valbe, Gerge Gorbachev, Cornelii Zelinsky, Nikolai Jesuitov et al., and outlines their main provisions and comments. The main drawback, according to critics, was the lack of a Marxist understanding of history in the novel reflected in the selection of historical sources and facts and in the image of the main character, Peter I. Assessing the chronicle order of the composition of the work differently everyone noted the colorful language, cheery humor and dialogues. 

The reviews of 1931 shaped the main approaches to the evaluation of the novel which will be developed in 1935 after the release of the second book through the concept of a lonely ruler, historical parallelism, i. e. solving the issues of modernity based on the Peter’s epoch, reflection in the novel of the role of “trading capital”. The study of the reception of the first book by A.N. Tolstoy will allows us determining its role and significance in the historical and cultural context as well as — more broadly — considering the main approaches to the evaluation of the historical novels and the representation of images of historical figures in Soviet culture.


Literary Criticism, Aleksey N. Tolstoy, the Novel Peter the Great, Historical Concept the Image of Peter I.


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