Author Topic: Are there Orthodox short story writers?  (Read 314 times)

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Offline Doof

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Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« on: March 22, 2015, 09:22:34 AM »
I'm a huge fan of short stories and novellas. I got into them in my youth when I would read authors like Harlan Ellison. Now, I wonder if there are any Orthodox writers? I'm willing to explore any genre.

Offline eddybear

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2015, 09:58:07 AM »
If you want a classic author, you could Dostoyesky. I've only read his novels, not his short stories, but they were excellent, and quite influential in my early inquiry into Orthodoxy.

Offline genesisone

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2015, 03:00:53 PM »
Anton Chekhov

Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2015, 03:16:16 PM »
Count Tolstoy obviously. One of the best-regarded short story writers of all time, and he wrote more than a few.
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 03:16:59 PM by Porter ODoran »
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Offline Doof

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2015, 05:03:50 PM »
If you want a classic author, you could Dostoyesky. I've only read his novels, not his short stories, but they were excellent, and quite influential in my early inquiry into Orthodoxy.

Thanks, I'll look into his work.

The other suggestions listed in the thread: I had heard Chekhov was an atheist and Tolstoy was an excommunicant, that's why I hadn't read them before. Thanks for the suggestions.

Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2015, 05:20:39 PM »
Count Tolstoy obviously. One of the best-regarded short story writers of all time, and he wrote more than a few.
However, I would counsel against thinking Tolstoy truly Orthodox. I am aware that St. John of Kronstadt considered him the greatest heretic of his age, and it is known that Tolstoy rejected the Church in favor of his own interpretation of the Gospel. Tolstoy was certainly a great author, and a very devout Christian in his own way, but I'm not sure he could be considered Orthodox.

For some reading on Leo Tolstoy and his relationship with the Church:
http://www.returnofkings.com/9577/the-man-who-questioned-his-church
http://humweb.ucsc.edu/bnickell/tolstoy/tolstoy/heretic.html
http://rbth.com/literature/2013/04/16/leo_tolstoy_and_father_john_the_rivalry_of_an_age_25067.html

And an essay on the Gospel according to Leo Tolstoy:
http://www.necessaryprose.com/tolstoysgospel.htm
« Last Edit: March 22, 2015, 05:22:29 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Justin Kissel

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #6 on: March 22, 2015, 07:16:26 PM »
Harry Mark Petrakis (born 1923; American)
Valentin Rasputin (d. March 14, 2015; Russian)
Vasily Belov (d. 2012; Russian)
Alexander Solzhenitsyn (d. 2008; Russian)
Vladimir Soloukhin (d. 1997; Russian)
Boris Pasternak (d. 1960; Russian)
Elin Pelin (d. 1949; Bulgarian)
Yordan Yovkov (d. 1937; Bulgarian)
Ivan Vazov (d. 1921; Bulgarian)
Peter Kocic (d. 1916; Serbian)
Alexandros Papadiamantis (d. 1911; Greek)
Fyodor Dostoevsky (d. 1881; Russia; mentioned earlier, but I wanted to add that I believe the mid-20th century volume of translations by Garnett and edited by Phillips has almost all his short stories)
Nikolai Gogol (d. 1852; Ukrainian)

Other Books:
Home for Christmas - Stories for Young and Old (Amazon or SVS Press)
Everyday Saints and Other Stories (Amazon or Light N Life)
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Offline Volnutt

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #7 on: March 22, 2015, 07:47:58 PM »
I had heard Chekhov was an atheist

Ckekhov was an interesting case. He claimed to be an atheist and certainly had an eye for the ladies, yet he also went to Church every Sunday and his writings show a keen interest in the structure of the liturgy and the struggles of simple country clergy and faithful.

I tend to think years of brutal abuse at the hands of his choir director father likely contributed to much of his pain in this regard. So, I think he was definitely a seeker (and he definitely lived the Gospel in his faithful medical practice).

Perhaps had he lived longer, he'd have reconciled to the Church. I think he definitely needs our prayers.
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Offline LenInSebastopol

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #8 on: March 23, 2015, 10:09:01 AM »
The article on Tolstoy rendition of the Gospel cracked me up. Sounds like many folks (some even Russians!) that 1. dismiss the Holy Sprit driven Gospel.  2. They figured out the original writers missed the essence of His message, but he did not so he's going to tell me the real-deal.  Also, as I understand Jefferson's rewriting, it was to give the Gospel to the growing factions in America that were rubbing contentiously, absent state mandated religion, the same Good News but without the "theology" that men argue over again & again, thus missing His message. Two different motives.
Speaking out of ignorance, Tolstoy grew up during Marxists promulgation, noting the peasants of Russia rather terrible conditions in comparison to the rest of a growing middle class in Europe. Cognitive dissonance as his love for Rodina and the Church while also noting the condition of the poor could have been at cause for such hubris in his Gospel re-writings. But I suppose that is obvious. Never mind.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 10:11:42 AM by LenInSebastopol »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #9 on: March 23, 2015, 11:21:43 AM »
St. John was not free of controversy himself, being perceived as too allied politically with the fascistic reactionaries to e.g. Count Tolstoy's gentler politics. So I suppose those were controversial times.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2015, 11:32:33 AM »
St. John was not free of controversy himself, being perceived as too allied politically with the fascistic reactionaries to e.g. Count Tolstoy's gentler politics. So I suppose those were controversial times.
But my post did raise the needed challenge to your idea that Tolstoy can be listed among the Orthodox. Seeing that the subject of this thread is Orthodox short story writers and NOT pre-Bolshevik Russian politics, I think I have the position of strength here. Furthermore, the fact that the Church excommunicated Tolstoy in 1901 shows that Tolstoy's problems with the Church authorities involved much more than just one St. John of Kronstadt. The OP asked for a list of Orthodox short story writers; Leo Tolstoy cannot rightfully be listed among them.
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Offline wgw

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2015, 01:42:40 PM »
Tolstoy from what I understand was directly involved in supporting the heretical Doukhobors and in organizing the financing of their emigration to Canada.  The Doukhobors were extremists who rejected all of the New Testament except Matthew, and in Matthew reallly only cared about the Sermon on the Mount.

Once in Canada they objected vigorously to state schooling of their children and held nude protests.  This led to public nudity being banned in British Columbia under statutory law (I'm surprised it wasn't a common law offence, but I guess in the past there were more occasions where there were legitimate uses for it...parading down high streets to make a political point au naturel not being one of them).  There was a violent breakaway group from the mainstream Doukhobors community that relied on arson attacks to protest Canadian oppression into the 1960s apparently.

Note that up through the 1960s Canada was a fairly servere compared to rhe US.  No prohibition, but corporal punishment was commonly inflicted on prisoners in federal and state penitentiaries, using a leather strap; at the turn of the century Delaware srill had a whipping post but I believe we discontinued such practices well ahead of the Canadians, as the definition of "cruel and unusual punishment" was tightened up throughout the 20th century.  And in the 1930s the Canadians seized from their family quintuplets in order to exhibit them Ina sort of Zoo in Ontario somewhere I believe called Quinnland in order to cheer up the proletarian classes during the depression.  And there was much unpleasantness for the Indians, or First Nations as they are now called.  So it's very possible the Doukhobors had legitimate grievances upon settling in Canada.  They should probably have picked the US at the time and I believe a Minority did move south, along with some Old Believers who initially tried Canada and are now in South Carolina, the so called "Wanderers."

But Tolstoys involvement with the Doukhobors, and his very enthusiastic support of them theologically and philosophically as well as practically, does seem to suggest a certain disdain for the Orthodox Church and especially her doctrinal approach in favor of a sort of Unitarian universalist ethos on Tolstoys part.  I have even seen the word "Tolstoyism" used to describe his religious views.

So frankly I think St. John of Kronstadt was probably at least partially correct, in that Tolstoy was probably a heretic.   We recognize John of Kronstadt as glorified for a reason, so if he identifies someone as a heretic we should heed that identification.

Now, was Tolstoy the worst heretic of his time?  That's a harder question.  He had stiff competition.  Madame Blavatsky, Mary Baker Eddy, and Ellen G. White come to mind for starters.  There was during his time a lot of Bohemian fascination with the occult and the sort of quietist universalist deism of Tolstoy and the Doukhobors seems a far cry from the excesses of the Theosophical Society.  But I'm sure St. John was at least aware of them.  He probably was not aware of the emerging American cults like Christian Science and the Jehovah's Witnesses and how many lives would be needlessly lost due to their strange views on medical treatment.   But either way, Tolstoy doesn't seem very Orthodox to me at least, although there's no denying he was a nice enough chap.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #12 on: March 23, 2015, 01:50:24 PM »
We recognize John of Kronstadt as glorified for a reason, so if he identifies someone as a heretic we should heed that identification.

That's not how that works. Unless he was recognized as a saint for his conflict with Count Tolstoy, I suppose.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #13 on: March 23, 2015, 01:55:13 PM »
We recognize John of Kronstadt as glorified for a reason, so if he identifies someone as a heretic we should heed that identification.

That's not how that works. Unless he was recognized as a saint for his conflict with Count Tolstoy, I suppose.
Porter, you would do well to finish your catechumenate and live the Orthodox life for a year or so before you presume to lecture an Orthodox Christian on how our Orthodox Church works.
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 01:56:51 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #14 on: March 23, 2015, 02:01:28 PM »
No, that's not relevant.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #15 on: March 23, 2015, 02:07:00 PM »
You could tell me I'm wrong, tho. That would make sense. Or not illumined, which would make some sense in an esoteric way.
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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #16 on: March 23, 2015, 02:23:26 PM »
No, that's not relevant.
Actually, it's VERY relevant, but I would rather not explain why on this thread. Maybe via PM or on another section of the forum where some level of debate is permitted. For the sake of this thread, though, suffice it to say that Leo Tolstoy is not Orthodox, and no amount of attempt to discredit our Church and our Saints is going to change that, no matter how much you might like the man and his writing.
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Offline Porter ODoran

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #17 on: March 23, 2015, 02:29:23 PM »
I haven't disagreed with anything you've put forward. There's no arguing Count Tolstoy was not in good standing with the Church.
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Offline Agabus

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #18 on: March 23, 2015, 02:43:02 PM »
...
Of you can read The Kingdom of God is Within You. He lays out his feelings about the Church fairly plainly.

His work has plenty of Christian themes and is worth reading (if sometimes unnecessarily long-winded, as 19th-century Russians were wont to be), but he would have balked if you'd tried to call him Orthodox to his face.
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Offline augustin717

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #19 on: March 23, 2015, 03:31:09 PM »
To the OP:
For an orthodox version of the left behind series, try St. Paisius prophecies.

Offline wgw

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #20 on: March 23, 2015, 08:21:59 PM »
There is one noted Orthodox writer of short stories whose name frustratingly I can't recall.  I believe Metropolitan Kallistos quotes from him in The Orthodox Way.  But I may just be misremembering.

But it's good to see were of one accord on poor Count Leo.  He slipped into a spiritual trap, which is a shame.  I did try to read War and Peace; what stopped,e wasn't the length but the domestic sentimentality of the work.
I am Oriental Orthodox but love the Eastern Orthodox, and the Byzantine liturgy.  I also love the Western liturgy.  I hope for the reconciliation of our churches.

Please forgive any offense my posts cause; none is intended. No statements I make should be regarded as authoritative, regardless of tone. Let us bless the Lord ar all times.

Offline Agabus

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Re: Are there Orthodox short story writers?
« Reply #21 on: March 24, 2015, 09:24:07 AM »
But it's good to see were of one accord on poor Count Leo.  He slipped into a spiritual trap, which is a shame.  I did try to read War and Peace; what stopped,e wasn't the length but the domestic sentimentality of the work.
For me it was all the damned French.

Anna Karenina is better even though it can spend entire chapters describing someone sitting at a table. It is also in no sense a short story.
« Last Edit: March 24, 2015, 09:25:03 AM by Agabus »
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