Slavic and Eurasian Studies

CREEES Director Dr. Mary Neuburger Writes about "Bulgaria’s Tolstoyan Vegetarians" in Not Even Past

Thu, March 1, 2018
CREEES Director Dr. Mary Neuburger Writes about
Museum in Yasna Polyana, Bulgaria

Notes From the Field:
Bulgaria’s Tolstoyan Vegetarians


Dr. Mary Neuburger writes in the UT History Department's
Not Even Past



 "It seemed like a bad idea at the time, but I did it anyway."


This past summer, CREEES Director Dr. Mary Neuburger journeyed through the mountains of the Bulgarian Strandja to the small village of Yasna Polyana in search of a small, out-of-the-way museum dedicated to housing the "intellectual remnants" of the members of Bulgaria's first Tolstoyan commune. Established in 1907 (and bearing the name of Leo Tolstoy's estate, Yasnaya Polyana), the commune was home to those who wished to live in accordance with Tolstoy's writings on morality, spirituality, and ethics. Their efforts, which mirrored a global interest in the "Tolstoyan movement," included a commitment to non-violence, temperance, and vegetarianism.

Dr. Neuburger, whose current project focuses on food history in Bulgaria, was particularly interested in the Bulgarian Tolstoyan's ideas on meat and vegetarianism. Though her research interests in Yasna Polyana may seem academic, she found that the Bulgarian Tolstoyans' thoughts on meat-eating reflected an ongoing conversation surrounding subjects as diverse as health and nutrition, ethics and animal rights, and meat processing and the environment—a conversation, she explains, that is still with us today.

See the full article here.

Not Even Past was developed by the Department of History at The University of Texas at Austin in order to bring great history writing to the public.

Not Even Past offers monthly features focusing on faculty research and teaching as well as weekly book recommendations, reviews of historical films, and stories about archival, visual, aural, and other documents that illuminate intriguing corners of the past.


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