Diary of a Lunatic Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diary_of_a_Lunatic

"Diary of a Lunatic" (sometimes translated as "Memoirs of a Madman" and "The Diary of a Madman") is a short story by Leo Tolstoy written in 1884.

According to literary critic Janko Lavrin, in August, 1869, Tolstoy travelled from Nizhny Novgorod (AKA: Gorky) to the Penza district and slept overnight in the town of Arzamas. But he couldn't sleep, though, and was overwhelmed with a maddening fear of death.[1] Many years later he recounted this experience in written form, and Diary of a Lunatic was the result.

Literary analysis[edit]

According to literature professor Inessa Medzhibovskaya, this unfinished work uses an encounter with possible death as a flame to a spiritual awakening, though the conflict remains of misunderstanding between the real world and the spiritual one.[2] According to the editors at the Berkeley Undergraduate Journal, this work was an unfinished fragment, a deeply personal, autobiographical or autobiographical-like, first-person narrative whose resolution exists only within the Death of Ivan Ilyich, as Ivan Ilyich is just Diary of a Lunatic "prefigured in a different form."[3] According to the Cambridge Companions, this is a work which describes Tolstoy's crises in veiled form.[4]

This work is elsewhere very popular in literary analysis in universities, such as with professors and authors Henry W. Pickford at Duke University,[5] and Ernest J. Simmons at Cornell, Harvard, and Columbia.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Janko Lavrin (2014). Tolstoy: An Approach Bound with Dostoevsky: A Study. Taylor & Francis. p. 82.
  2. ^ Inessa Medzhibovskaya (2009). Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1885. Lexington Books. p. 297.
  3. ^ The Berkeley Undergraduate Journal. University of California, Berkeley. Undergraduate Programs. 1990.
  4. ^ Orwin (2002). The Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy. Cambridge University Press. p. 173.
  5. ^ Henry W. Pickford (2015). Thinking with Tolstoy and Wittgenstein: Expression, Emotion, and Art. Northwestern University Press.
  6. ^ Ernest Joseph Simmons (2014). Tolstoy. Taylor & Francis. p. 151.

External links[edit]