Eros and Creativity in Russian Religious Renewal
Anna Lisa Crone
This book is a fascinating exploration of largely uncharted territory in the history of Russian religious thought. Focusing on four brilliant representatives of the "Russian religious renaissance" of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries--Vladimir Solovyov, Vasily Rozanov, Nikolai Berdyaev, and Boris Vysheslavtsev--Anna Lisa Crone masterfully details their efforts, which were at first quite independent of the work of Sigmund Freud and later highly critical of it, to establish the importance of the sex drive in human life and to reinterpret Christianity as a religion of the flesh as well as the spirit. Crone's use of the concept of sexual sublimation (developed by Solovyov and Rozanov before Freud had described it) and its connection with human creativity is the perfect foil for bringing out and clarifying the agreements and differences between the Russian religious thinkers on the one hand and the secular psychoanalysts such as Freud, Carl Jung, and Otto Rank on the other. New light is cast on all these figures by Crone's adroit analyses, which will also be welcomed by anyone interested in the roots of creativity, the cultural significance of sexuality, or the essence of Christianity.
James P. Scanlan, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy, The Ohio State University