Vladimir Sergeyevich Soloviev, author
Translated by Vladimir Wozniuk
Vladimir S. Soloviev (1853–1900), moral philosopher, social and literary critic, theologian, and poet, is considered one of Russia’s greatest philosophers. But Soloviev is relatively unknown in the West, despite his close association with Fyodor Dostoevsky, who modeled one of his most famous literary characters, Alyosha Karamazov, on Soloviev. In The Heart of Reality, Vladimir Wozniuk offers a lucid translation, careful annotations, and a substantive introduction that make many of Soloviev’s writings accessible for the first time to an English-speaking audience.
Soloviev worked tirelessly in the name of the mystical body of the Universal Church. The vast bulk of his writings can be construed as promoting, in one way or another, the cause of ecumenism. His essays also display the influence of Platonic and German Idealism and strands of Thomistic thinking. Wozniuk demonstrates the consistency of Soloviev’s biblically-based thought on the subjects of aesthetics, love, and ethics, while at the same time clarifying Soloviev’s concept of vseedinstvo (the unity of spiritual and material), especially as applied to literature.
Containing many previously untranslated essays, The Heart of Reality situates Soloviev more clearly in the mainstream of Western religious philosophy and Christian thought.
“The nineteenth-century Russian theologian-philosopher Vladimir S. Soloviev’s renowned ‘Three Addresses in Memory of Dostoevsky’ leads off a number of masterful and, in the West, little-known essays on aesthetics, philosophy, and literature—all in Professor Wozniuk’s excellent renditions. The Heart of Reality is a supremely rewarding book—an introduction to the mind of one of Russia’s greatest thinkers and to the spirit of Russia itself.” — Robert Louis Jackson, Yale University
“Vladimir Wozniuk’s translation and edition of Vladimir Soloviev’s work is a major contribution in Russian thought and theology. What is particularly impressive about this collection is the thoughtfulness with which it is put together.” — Gary Saul Morson, Northwestern University
“This collection . . . provides a good introduction to the thinker Berdyaev called Russia’s greatest philosopher. . . . The central essays of this collection focus on beauty in nature, on the meaning of both beauty and of love, and an approach to aesthetics.” — Religious Studies Review
“The present anthology is right on target in emphasizing that the centrality of aesthetics and its close interconnection with religion were arguably Soloviev’s most substantial contribution to philosophy and theology . . . The Wozniuk volume . . . is a meritorious increase of our awareness of this significant thinker.” — The Review of Metaphysics
“This book is a reliable and fascinating introduction to the springs of Soloviev’s own thought, in the Russian culture that was so dear to him. It is important and timely.” — Studies in Christian Ethics
“. . . A useful volume for readers who wish to follow up their interest in one of Russia’s key religious thinkers.” — Theological Book Review
“. . .Illuminating . . . and immensely informative. . . .” — Slavonic & East European Review
“ The Heart of Reality is obviously an attempt to help situate Soloviev more clearly in the mainstream of Western religious philosophy and Christian thought. For this, we should be grateful to the editor.” — Contact
“The translations of Soloviev’s texts are in clear, elegant English. One is able to get a grasp here of the genius of this often contradictory, controversial, and, in many ways, overshadowed personality and his thinking.” — Cistercian Studies Quarterly
“. . . Excellently translated. . . . featuring a useful introduction, endnotes, and index, this book will be valuable for academic and large public libraries.” — _ Choice_
“One of the strengths of The Heart of Reality remains Wozniuk’s Introduction, which contextualizes Soloviev’s writings on aesthetics for the general reader by summarizing the overarching characteristics of Soloviev’s ambitious philosophical, religious, and social project: his commitment to the process he termed all-unity. Wozniuk’s translations of the Russian essays are carefully crafted, paying attention to the nuances of the original and manifesting an awareness of the pitfalls of decoding the linguistic structures of one language and representing them in another. As a result of this attention to detail and awareness of the issues involved in translation, both the poetic and non-poetic aspects of the translation emerge as elegant and readable. Wozniuk’s translation of Soloviev’s essays on beauty, love, and ethics makes a noteworthy contribution to the body of available English translations of Russian religious philosophy and aesthetics. I highly recommend it not only for graduate and undergraduate libraries, but also for undergraduate courses in the humanities on Russian and Western intellectual history.” — Ars Disputandi