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Wellesley College Research Guides

RUSS 277/377: Lev Tolstoy: Russia's Ecclesiast


This guide points you to some useful starting places for your research on Tolstoy and his works. I'm happy to consult with you about any part of the research process, from finding and evaluating sources to understanding how to cite them. You can email me ( or make a Zoom appointment on my calendar:

Karen​ Storz, Research & Instruction Librarian

Find Overviews, Biography, & Context

See Selected Books on Tolstoy below for more ideas.

Find Literary History & Criticism

Although SuperSearch can be a great starting place for finding sources, it can be challenging to find the most relevant material in a flood of results. More specialized databases, like the ones below, can provide a "less is more" experience, by helping to focus your search on scholarly sources in your area of interest. A database such as MLA International Bibliography will also turn up results that SuperSearch misses. It's always a good idea to search in more than one database. Even when there's considerable overlap in content, the different search capabilities and features of each database can help you find different sources. 

See also Selected Books on Tolstoy below.

Search Tips for MLA International Bibliography

If you search for Tolstoy in MLA and look at the Subjects that come up in the results list, you'll see that the Subject term used for Tolstoy in MLA is Tolstoĭ, Lev Nikolaevich. Using that term will ensure that you get the most relevant results.

Screenshot showing search result from MLA with the Subject heading Tolstoĭ, Lev Nikolaevich circled


Then you can add other terms to narrow your focus:

Screenshot of MLA database search boxes showing the search: Tolstoĭ, Lev Nikolaevich AND "war and peace" AND religion


Look at the Subjects that come up under the citations. They can provide you with ideas for alternative search terms. Using a variety of keywords is essential to getting the best results in MLA.

Screenshot of search result in MLA with two subject headings circled: religious conversion and Christianity

Screenshot of search boxes in MLA showing the following search:  Tolstoĭ, Lev Nikolaevich AND "war and peace" AND (religion OR religious OR christianity)


You can also try out the MLA Thesaurus (above the search box) to find additional terms to use in your search. 

Screenshot pointing to the MLA Thesaurus on the MLA search screen

Search for a term in the thesaurus to find broader, narrower, and related terms. For example, a search for point of view will direct you to related terms such as narration and narrative voice. Clicking on those terms will take you to additional lists of terms. 

For more tips on database searching, see the Search Tips tab.

Selected Books on Tolstoy

Find more books on Tolstoy and his works under the subject heading Tolstoy, Leo, Graf, 1828-1910 in the library catalog.