The concept of "war" can be viewed as a landmark for understanding the picture of the world created by Russian writers during the XIX – early XX centuries. In the article, this concept is investigated in the dynamics of temporal and creative development based on the works of M.Y. Lermontov, L.N. Tolstoy, V.M. Garshin, in whose work the military theme occupies one of the main places, as well as L.N. Andreeva. The focus is on the poem by M.Y. Lermontov "Valerik", Caucasian and Sevastopol stories by L.N. Tolstoy, stories by V.M. Garshin, the story of L.N. Andreeva "Red Laughter". In the course of the analysis, the semantic components of the concept of "war" are highlighted, which are equally important for both the author and the reader. So, in particular, the concept of "war" is represented in the epic novel "War and Peace" in a wide semantic range: the patriotic thought about the war of liberation is combined with the understanding of its senseless cruelty and includes the philosophical and historical concept of the writer about the causes of the war, about "authorship” of a historical event. Based on the concept of concept, the authors of the article show that the chronotope of war is not limited to depicting historical events: it includes a content field associated with various moral and ethical aspects of the work. In the article, using the example of different types of literature (lyrics, epics) and genres (lyric poem, story, story, novel), as well as different periods of Russian literature, such meaningful antinomies as "life-death", "good-evil", dichotomy "man-nature" and the perception of insight – the spiritual and moral changes of man in war. Comprehension of various semantic facets of the concept of "war" in the work of M.Y. Lermontov, L.N. Tolstoy, V.M. Garshina, L.N. Andreeva gives grounds to show the commonality of views of these authors in understanding war as senseless cruelty both in the fate of a private person and in the fate of entire nations. As a result, the concept of "war" as a universal textual category allows one to see new semantic layers of a literary text in the works of Russian writers of the XIX – early XX centuries and to reveal new interpretations of it.
Russian fiction of the XIX – early XX centuries, the concept of "war", the antinomy of "life-death