The Circassian Thistle: Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy's Khadzhi Murat and the Evolving Russian Empire by Eric M. Souder

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Miami University in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts Department of History by Eric Matthew Souder Miami University Oxford, Ohio 2014


The following thesis examines the creation, publication, and reception of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy’s posthumous novel, Khadzhi Murat in both the Imperial and Soviet Russian Empire. The anti-imperial content of the novel made Khadzhi Murat an incredibly vulnerable novel, subjecting it to substantial early censorship. Tolstoy’s status as a literary and cultural figure in Russia – both preceding and following his death – allowed for the novel to become virtually forgotten despite its controversial content. This thesis investigates the absorption of Khadzhi Murat into the broader canon of Tolstoy’s writings within the Russian Empire as well as its prevailing significance as a piece of anti-imperial literature in a Russian context.

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