Study Guide

Resurrection

by Leo Tolstoy

Resurrection Analysis

Places Discussed (Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Law court

Law court. Government court in which the prostitute Katusha is tried and sentenced for murder. When Prince Nekhludoff, acting as an officer of the court, first sees Katusha, he does not recognize her, since she is using the name Lyubov (which in Russian literally means “love”). When the judge demands to know her baptismal name, her patronymic, and her surname, Nekhludoff is horrified to realize that this is the same peasant girl he seduced and then abandoned many years earlier.

While many authors use the courtroom setting as a symbol of justice, Tolstoy makes it a seat of the miscarriage of justice. Katusha is found guilty of the murder of the merchant and sentenced to hard labor in Siberia, although she believed the poison she used on the merchant was in fact a harmless sleep drug. Nekhludoff is stricken with guilt at the knowledge that his seduction and abandonment of her has led to this.

Prison

Prison. Institution in which Katusha is detained while awaiting transportation to a Siberian penal camp. Here she meets a large number of other women sentenced for various crimes. Many of these people are not guilty of the crimes for which they are charged, and many of the others have committed crimes that should not be considered crimes at all.

*Moscow

*Moscow. Russia’s largest city, in which Katusha is tried and convicted for murder. Tolstoy pays little attention...

(The entire section is 571 words.)

Resurrection Bibliography (Great Characters in Literature)

De Courcel, Martine. Tolstoy: The Ultimate Reconciliation. Translated by Peter Levi. New York: Scribner’s Sons, 1988. A thorough discussion of Tolstoy, touching on all his important works. Describes the people and events in Tolstoy’s life during the long and arduous writing of Resurrection and includes an analysis of that novel.

Noyes, George Rapall. Tolstoy. New York: Dover Publications, 1968. Connects the many works of Tolstoy with reference to biographical information that is pertinent to the understanding of his writings. Includes many of Tolstoy’s published writings, diaries, and letters. Concludes that Resurrection is a novel of accessories, where the importance lies in gestures, mannerisms, and analysis of its characters’ thoughts.

Rowe, William W. Leo Tolstoy. Boston: Twayne, 1986. Indicates the historical facts from which Tolstoy contrived Resurrection. Suggests the possible meanings and images of the novel. Includes biographical information as well as discussions of several novels and stories. An excellent source.

Simmons, Ernest J. Tolstoy. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1973. Focuses on Tolstoy as a major thinker of his time and a religious, social, and political reformer. Describes Tolstoy’s childhood and life as a writer, and explains Tolstoy’s motivation to write Resurrection and the structure and intent of the novel.

Troyat, Henri. Tolstoy. Translated by Nancy Amphoux. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday, 1967. A thorough treatment of the author, with many illustrations. Gives a long explanation of the conditions surrounding the writing of Resurrection and some explanation of the text.