Pray for Chekhov: Or What Russian Literature Can Teach Conservatives

Research output: Book/ReportOther report


American conservatives can learn much from the great literary output of 19th century Russia. Though seemingly distant in time and place, the great Russian novelists faced intellectual and moral circumstances remarkably similar to those we find today in America and in the West generally. Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov all wrote in opposition to the powerful ruling class emerging in Russia and the West, the intelligentsia. The revolutionary doctrines of the intelligentsia pointed toward authoritarianism, sought the destruction of individuality and religion, and the imposition of pseudo-scientific doctrines onto human life. The weapon of choice for Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Chekhov to combat this was literature—the best means both to appeal to man’s sentiments and reason and to demonstrate their opponents’ utopianism and destructiveness.

Lecture 1279.
Original languageEnglish (US)
PublisherThe Heritage Foundation
StatePublished - Mar 28 2017


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