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  • Faculty

  • Inessa Medzhibovskaya

    Associate Professor of Liberal Studies and Literary Studies


    Office Location
    B - 65 West 11th Street

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    Inessa Medzhibovskaya


    Inessa Medzhibovskaya holds a joint appointment in the Departments of Literary Studies at Eugene Lang College and Liberal Studies at The New School for Social Research. With training in philology, intellectual history, Germanic, and Slavic Studies, and international education, she is interested in how literature and philosophy transmit human values in their cultural and historical specificity and universality. Since arriving at The New School in 2004, she has taught seminars on Russian, German and European classics, Shakespeare, Schopenhauer, the theatre masters Bertolt Brecht and Erwin Piscator; single-text courses on Anna Karenina, Faust, Hamlet, War and Peace; and problem-oriented courses on such topics as “Bildungsroman,” "Romanticism," “crime and salvation,” “writing and confinement,” “the anxiety of possession,” “love and its genres,” “laughter and politics,” “labor and dignity,” “philosophical selfhood,” “modernist identity,” and “exile.” She was named a distinguished teacher in 2007.

    Prof. Medzhibovskaya is the author of the first definitive biography of Tolstoy’s religious and philosophical evolution and edited several volumes addressed to his art and thought in relation to the historical milieu that shaped his problems and eternal quests. Her newest book (about to be released, 2019) immerses the reader in the story of the struggle of Russian thought for self-definition. She has published over fifty journal essays and book chapters on literature (focusing mainly on Russian and European authors and thinkers), ideology and education, and the interplay of philosophy, religion, politics and literary aesthetics. In addition to a new monograph, Tolstoy and the Fates of the Twentieth Century for Princeton University Press, she is completing the first anthology, in English, of Tolstoy’s thought, along with a companion volume of introduction to his thought (both under contract with Academic Studies Press). She is also excited to have recently contracted with Oxford University Press for the creation and maintenance of a detailed online bibliography entry “Leo Tolstoy” for its “Oxford Bibliographies in Literary and Critical Theories” series. She is now returning to a reappraisal of the Hegelian-Marxist legacy dating back to the foundation of her academic career as a literary and intellectual historian: new projects have emerged that include studies in the history and practice of Marxist aesthetics.


    Degrees Held

    PhD, Slavic Languages and Literature, Princeton University

    Professional Affiliation

    Editorial board member of Tolstoy Studies Journal; Yasnopoliansky Sbornik; Tolstoy and World Literature (Tolstoi i mirovaia literatura)

    The Society for Textual Scholarship; Society for Romanian Studies; ASEEES; AATSEEL

    Recent Publications


    Tolstoy’s On Life. From the Archival History of Russian Philosophy. By Inessa Medzhibovskaya. (Toronto and deLand, Fl.: Imprint of the Tolstoy Society of North America and Tolstoy Studies Journal). 424 + xxi.  Scheduled for release in the fall of 2019.

    Tolstoy and the Religious Culture of His Time: A Biography of a Long Conversion, 1845-1887. By Inessa Medzhibovskaya (Lanham, MD: Lexington Books, a division of Rowman & Littlefield, 28 April 2008).  404+ xliii. Released in paperback: June 28, 2009.

    A Critical Guide to Tolstoy's On Life: Interpretive Essays. ed. and intro. Inessa Medzhibovskaya. Toronto and deLand, Fl.: Imprint of the Tolstoy Society of North America and Tolstoy Studies Journal. Published May 30, 2019. 162 pp.

    Tolstoy, On Life: A Critical Edition. Edited by Inessa Medzhibovskaya. Translated by Michael Denner and Inessa Medzhibovskaya. (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, November 15, 2018). 246+xii

    Tolstoy and His Problems: Views from the Twenty-First Century. Edited by Inessa Medzhibovskaya. (Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, November 15, 2018). 233+xiv

    Short Story Criticism/ volume 267. General Editor Catherine C. diMercurio. San Francisco/New York/Chicago: Gale/Cengage, 2019. ISBN-13: 9781410379344. Academic Advisor of the Leo Tolstoy part of the volume: : Leo Tolstoy (pp. 137—305).



    • “The Vocations of Nikolai Grot and the Tasks of Russian Philosophy” by invitation to The Palgrave Handbook to Russian Thought. Edited by Marina F. Bykova, Lina Steiner, and Michael N. Forster. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2019. Final version submitted. Forthcoming.


    •  “L.N.Tolstoy” for Oxford Bibliographies. A scholarly article of 30-40 printed pages with text, annotations, commentary, and recommended reading. By invitation of the Oxford University Press. Forthcoming.


    • “The Jubilee Edition and a History of Publication of Tolstoy’s Works” for L.N. Tolstoy In Context. Ed. Anna A. Berman. Commissioned by Cambridge In-Context series. Cambridge University Press, forthcoming.


    • “The Importance of Knowing Greek: On the Portable Values of Philosophy in Exile” by invitation to the cenntennial issue of Graduate Faculty Philosophy Journal (forthcoming).


    • “On Life in Critical Perspective” an introductory essay for A Critical Guide to Tolstoy's On Life. Interpretive Essays. Edited by Inessa Medzhibovkaya. DeLand, FL. and Toronto:  Tolstoy Studies Journal/the Tolstoy Society of North America, 2019: 15-25.


    • "Tolstoy’s Jewish Questions.” Tolstoy and His Problems: Views from the Twenty-First Century (ed. Inessa Medzhibovskaya). Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, November 15, 2018: 89 -134.


    • "Tolstoy’s Problems: on Finding a Perspective.” Tolstoy and His Problems: Views from the Twenty-First Century (ed. Inessa Medzhibovskaya). Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, November 15, 2018: 3-21.


    • “Tolstoy’s On Life and Its Times,” an introductory chapter for Leo Tolstoy, Tolstoy’s On Life. A Critical Edition (the annotated critical edition of Tolstoy’s work O zhizni with commentary, Introduction and Historical Supplement). Edited by Inessa Medzhibovskaya. Evanston, Ill.: Northwestern University Press, 2018: 3-41.


    • "Three Attempts on Carthage: Tolstoy’s Designs of Nonviolent Destruction”  in Tolstoy and Spirtuality, edited by Predrag Cicovacki and Heidi Nada Grek. Brookline, MA.: Academic Studies Press, 2018: 180-211.


    • "Tolstoy and Heidegger on the Ways of Being” in Heidegger in Russia and Eastern Europe, ed. Jeff Love (New Heidegger Research Series, edited by Gregory Fried and Richard Polt); London and New York: Rowman and Littlefield, 2017: 55-94.   


    • “Like a Shepherd to His Flock: The Messianic Pedagogy of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Its Origin and Conceptual Echoes” in Dostoevsky Beyond Dostoevsky (eds. Svetlana Evdokimova and Vladimir Golstein). Brookline, MA.: Academic Studies Press, 2016: 343-63.



    • “Education" in Dostoevsky-in-Context. Eds. Deborah Martinsen and Olga Maiorova. Cambridge University Press, 2015


    • “Punishment and the Human Condition: Hannah Arendt, Leo Tolstoy, and  Lessons from Life, Philosophy, and Literature” for Punishment as a Crime? Eds. Julie Hansen and Andrei Rogatchevskii. Uppsala Universitet, Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis/Uppsala University Press, 2014: 137-61.  Reviewed in International Affairs 91: 2, 2015 (pp. 428-9). Revised version “Strafe und Menschlichkeit” in German in Extreme Erfahrungen: Grenzen des Erlebens und der Darstellung. Eds. Christopher F. Laferl /Anja Tippner. Berlin: Kulturverlag Kadmos, 2017: 199-225.


    • “Goethe and Hegel in the Commissariat of Enlightenment: Anatoly Lunacharsky’s Program of Bolshevik-Marxist Aesthetics.” Studies in East European Thought, volume 65, nos. 3-4 December 2013 (227-241). Special issue: Hegel in Russia. Advisory editors Ilya Kliger and David Backhurst. published online April 2014. Online citation reference: DOI 10.1007/s11212-014-9189-y. Printed May 15, 2014.


    • “Tolstoy on Pogroms?” Publication, translation and commentary of the newly discovered archival document from the memoirs by Isaak Teneromo.” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXV 2013 (78-82).


    • “Evreiskii vopros Tolstogo” in Tolstoi v Ierusalime (Tolstoy in Jerusalem). ed. Elena D. Tolstaya. Intro. Vladimir Paperni. Moscow: Novoe Literaturnoe Obozrenie, 2013 (73-108).


    • “Russian Classics on Trial: Reflections on Critics and Criticism.” Clio. A Journal of Literature, History, and the Philosophy of History. Special Issue: G.W.F. Hegel. 41.2 (fall 2012): 73-94.


    • “Ob iskrennosti postupka: simvolika dveri v nezakonchennykh zamyslakh Tolstogo. Volume 4, 2010: 69-79 [Russkaia literatura, 1958-quarterly], St. Petersburg: Institute of Russian Literature, Academy of Sciences of the Russian Federation.


    • “Terror Unsublimated: Militant Monks, Revolution and Tolstoy’s Last Master Plots.” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXII 2010: 17-38.


    • “Tolstoy’s Original letter Found: On Benedict Prieth, Ernest Crosby and Aphorisms of Immortality in The Whim.”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXII 2010: 65-78.


    • “Bakhtin, Dostoevsky, Tolstoy on Art and Immortality” (with Caryl Emerson). Critical Theory in Russia and the West. Alastair Renfrew and Galin Tikhanov, eds. BASEES/Routledge Series on Russian and East European Studies. London and New York: Routledge. Taylor and Francis Group, 2010: 26-43.


    • “Tolstoy’s Hieromonk” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XXI 2009: 55-63. 


    • “Lucid Sorrow and Political Foresight: Simon Frank on Pushkin, and the Challenges of Ontology for Literature.”Pushkin Review volume 10~ 2007 (published 2009): 59-102.


    • “Tolstoy’s Response to Terror and Revolutionary Violence.”Kritika. Explorations in Russian and Eurasian History,  volume 9, no.3, (summer 2008): 505-531.


    • “Tolstoy and Religious Maturity” American Contributions to the XIV International Congress of Slavists . Ohrid 2008.  vol. 2: Literature, David M. Bethea,ed.  Bloomington, Indiana: Slavica Publishers, 2008,2:  91-106.


    • “Lev Kassil: Childhood as Religion and Ideology.”Russian Children’s Literature and Culture. Marina Balina and Larissa Rudova, eds. New York/London: Routledge, 2008: 241-62.


    • “Every Man in His Tolstoy Humor: On Lev Osterman, Questions of Method, and More.” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XIX, 2007 (108-118).


    • “Simon Frank Confronts Tolstoy’s Ethical Thought (The Later Years).” Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XVII, 2005: 43-58.


    • “Aporias Of Immortality: Tolstoy Against Time.” Word, Music, History. A Festschrift for Caryl Emerson.Stanford Slavic Studies, volumes 29-30. Lazar Fleishman, Gabriella Safran, Michael Wachtel, eds. Stanford, Ca., 2005 (Part One: 370-384).


    •  “Dogmatism or Moral Logic? Simon Frank Confronts Tolstoy’s Ethical Thought (1902-1909)”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XVI, 2004: 18-32.


    • “On Moral Movement and Moral Vision: The Last Supper in Russian Debates.”Comparative Literature., volume 56, No. 1 (winter 2004): 23-53.


    •  “Teleological Striving and Redemption in “The Death of Ivan Il’ich”.”  Tolstoy Studies Journal, volume XII 2000: 35-49. Reprint: Short Story Criticism ed. Jelena Kosovic (SSC-131), 2010, Gale Group/Cengpage Learning Publishers. Forthcoming.


    • “Hamlet’s Jokes: Pushkin on ‘Vulgar Eloquence’.” Slavic and East European Journal, volume 41, 1997, No 4 (winter):.554-79. Reprint:  the Gale Group/Cengpage Learning Publishers Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism, vol. 204 (NCLC-204), 2008-2009: for subscribed libraries hard cover text edition and e-book.

    Performances and Appearances

    To be provided

    Research Interests

    Russian and Central East European Literature and Culture, Romanticism, Idealism, The Study of the Novel, Critical Theory, Intellectual and Cultural History, Literature and Philosophy, Literature and Education, Tolstoy

    Awards And Honors

    Faculty Research Fund Award (The New School) for “Tolstoy as Philosopher” (2019-2020)
    The Centennial of the New School Festival Event Award (fall 2019)
    Dean’s Opportunity Award (Eugene Lang College) (2018-2019)
    Dean’s Opportunity Award (Eugene Lang College) (2017-2018)
    Invited Speaker (the 100th anniversary of the State Tolstoy Museum in Moscow; fall 2011)
    American Philosophical Society Franklin Grant (2010)
    Distinguished University Teaching Award (The New School, 2007)
    2002-2003 Mellon Post-Doctoral Fellow (Society for the Humanities, Cornell University)
    Center for Human Values Mellon Graduate Prize Fellow in Residence (Princeton University 1998-1999)
    Certificate in Advanced Polish and Polish Culture, 1996 (Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland)

    Future Courses

    Crime and Salvation
    LLSL 3373, Fall 2022

    Ind Senior Project
    LLSL 4990, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

    Independent Study
    LLSL 3950, Fall 2022, Spring 2023

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2023

    Studies In Radical Aesthetics
    GLIB 5133, Spring 2023

    The Philosophical Self
    LLSL 2043, Fall 2022

    Past Courses

    Anton Chekhov
    LLST 3521, Spring 2022

    Ind Senior Project
    LLSL 4990, Spring 2022

    Independent Study
    LLSL 3950, Spring 2022

    Independent Study
    GLIB 6990, Spring 2022

    The Life of the Mind
    GLIB 5208, Spring 2022

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