Your shopping cart is empty.
Log in

Medical tragicomedy (the case of A.K. Tolstoy)

V.A. Kotel’nikov
80,00 ₽

UDC 821.161.1-6+61                  


Kotel’nikov Vladimir A.,

Doctor of Philology, Professor, Chief Researcher

Institute of Russian Literature (Pushkin House) of the

Russian Academy of Sciences

ORCID: 0000-0002-5135-6782



A.K. Tolstoy had a bright talent for comic transformation of cultural, literary and everyday phenomena. In this aspect, the “medical” topic is presented in his letters to N.V. Adlerberg. He widely and effectively used grotesque, absurd and pun techniques in the development of this topic. As his illnesses multiplied and worsened, Tolstoy found new ways to mitigate his suffering with laughter in literature and in life. In 1863, asthma attacks began, which did not stop until death. However, he finds the strength to endure the disease with humor and in letters portrays himself in such severe conditions in a comic way. He is forced to increasingly resort to painkillers, including morphine, but does not attach serious importance to his dependence on it. With a sharp but good-natured humor, he draws the figure of his attending physician A.I. Krivsky in “Medical Poems”. The poet’s humorous poetic and epistolary texts also describe cases of deviant and pathological eroticism.

Keywords: A.K. Tolstoy, medical theme in life and literature, tragicomedy.