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1. War and Peace (Oxford World's
2. Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy
3. The Kingdom of God Is Within You
4. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other
5. A Confession (Hesperus Classics)
6. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club)
7. Leo Tolstoy: Spiritual Writings
8. Family Happiness: Stories (Harper
9. A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts
10. Resurrection (Penguin Classics)
11. Walk in the Light and Twenty-Three
12. Tolstoy
13. Leo Tolstoy (Bloom's Modern Critical
14. Anna Karenina
15. Fruits of Culture
16. The Light Shines In Darkness
17. Master And Man
18. The Gospels in Brief
19. Classic Tales and Fables for Children
20. Brief Lives: Leo Tolstoy

1. War and Peace (Oxford World's Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy, Louise and Aylmer Maude, Amy Mandelker
Paperback: 1440 Pages (2010-12-15)
list price: US$13.95 -- used & new: US$9.41
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0199232768
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
Published to coincide with the centenary of Tolstoy's death, here is an exciting new edition of one of the great literary works of world literature. Tolstoy's epic masterpiece captures with unprecedented immediacy the broad sweep of life during the Napoleonic wars and the brutal invasion of Russia. Balls and soirées, the burning of Moscow, the intrigues of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles, the quiet moments of everyday life--all in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed.The Maudes' translation of Tolstoy's epic masterpiece has long been considered the best English version, and now for the first time it has been revised to bring it fully into line with modern approaches to the text. French passages are restored, Anglicization of Russian names removed, and outmoded expressions updated. A new introduction by Amy Mandelker considers the novel's literary and historical context, the nature of the work, and Tolstoy's artistic and philosophical aims. New, expanded notes provide historical background and identifications, as well as insight into Russian life and society. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (487)

5-0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy would be proud
I bought the Volokhonsky/Pevear translation after unknowingly buying the Bromfield version. This version has all the original french intact, translated in the footnotes. I love that touch. The translation is beautifully done and there is a fantastic appendix with historical tidbits (great for someone like me who is somewhat fuzzy on this part of history). This binding is also the one for commuters, it's about a light and small as a 1000+ page book can be.
This is the translation to read if you want to read Tolstoy in all it's glory (other than reading the original Russian!). Steer clear of the Bromfield translation, which touts itself as the "original version" although it lacks the French and about 300 pages. Maybe I will read it after this one, just to see the differences but I consider this the true version.

4-0 out of 5 stars War and peace Leo Tolstoy
I read the original in Russian language and this translation is as close to the original language as you canget!

5-0 out of 5 stars Challenging, and well worth it.
My first attempt at reading Wolf Hall fizzled. I couldn't get into it. About two months later, I started reading it again-and I couldn't put it down.
This wasn't the easiest book to read, but the challenge is well worth it.This isn't a brainless pop culture thriller that you can breeze through---but it IS a page turner.The characters, period and places are masterfully fleshed out. I found that I had to do some English history research to better understand the conflicts between some of the players---and that helped my understanding of the plots. This is high caliber authorship; I understand why it won the Booker Prize.

5-0 out of 5 stars Confused by so many editions of War and Peace
First, I love War and Peace by Tolstoy.This will be my fourth reading and as usual I am on Chapter 30 and overwhelmed by so many characters.Wonderful!I bought it for my kindle last week and who knows which version downloaded.

This morning I purchased paperback the translation I want to look at (Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky) so I can figure out if this is the translation on the kindle.
Specific ID:
ISBN-10: 1400079985
ISBN-13: 978-1400079988

I really wanted hard back on this translation, but when you click on hardback, you get a different translation.Click around and you go all over the place to different versions.I guess if I were a serious reader, I would learn Russian and read it in the original language.

But I am really enjoying this and will probably get a Maude translation in the future.

5-0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Classic
I have officially finished the book that is usually used as a benchmark for "hard to read" and "hard to finish" in what amounts to two months or so. I feel suitably smug.

In Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie writes of a mania (a specifically Indian one, according to the book's narrator, although I would disagree) that centers around a desire to capture the whole world, in a book or a piece of art or whatever else. He discusses people who start trying to tell one ...more I have officially finished the book that is usually used as a benchmark for "hard to read" and "hard to finish" in what amounts to two months or so. I feel suitably smug.

In Midnight's Children, Salman Rushdie writes of a mania (a specifically Indian one, according to the book's narrator, although I would disagree) that centers around a desire to capture the whole world, in a book or a piece of art or whatever else. He discusses people who start trying to tell one story and just expand and expand and expand and the farther they do so the less of "everything" they seem to be showing. One could describe that novel as such, but it seems an even better description for War and Peace. Tolstoy set out to write about a specific event in Russian history, and realized that to describe it he needed greater context. So he moved back to show the lives of the people involved in that event, only to realize the need for greater context; so he moved back and back and back until he had a book that began at the turn of the 19th century, was mostly about the War of 1812, and never even gets to the Decemberists, as originally intended. His ideas do very similar things to his chronology, as he tries to encompass so much, and then more, and more. This all leads to why it is such an unconventional book, and at times one in which the author's desires hamstring parts of it--but they are hamstrung so spectacularly.

It is probably fitting that I read such an iconoclastic and sprawling book in an unusual way. Do not let the "Read from February 05 to October 05, 2010" up there fool you, it actually took me about two months and ten days to read this book--there were extenuating circumstances. I am such a nerd, that when I gleefully signed up for a Tolstoy and Dostoevsky class in my last semester of college, the centerpieces of which were this book and The Brothers Karamazov, I went and ordered all of the books immediately, with two months before the class started, because I was just that excited. Each of these momentous novels was given about a month of our syllabus. I don't know if anybody in the class actually managed to read War and Peace quite that quickly, but I decided that it was my top priority (other classes were technically more important, but ehhhhh...) and plowed away until I'd gotten to page 986 on March 16th, and realized that I just could not finish the book and continue my semester. Most people probably skimmed, but I loved War and Peace too much to do that to it, so I just stopped reading it entirely, and waited to finish once I had graduated. This did mean that class discussions spoiled the ending for me, but it's not exactly a shocker anyway.

Fast forward to September 5th and I finally felt free enough in my time to finish the novel. It's worth noting that it took me a whole other month to read a chunk that was about a third the length of what I read back in February--but it's also worth noting that jumping back in after reading and studying so much in the interim, nothing felt removed and none of the characters had been forgotten. Not even a little. It was difficult, however, because it is near the end of the novel that Tolstoy starts really doing the things that have annoyed so many readers for generations. I think that some people come away from War and Peace especially sour because of these ending bits, and remember it as a book filled with overlong author's screeds, when really it is an exciting, amusing, funny, moving, interesting, and beautiful novel for the most part, that gets a bit too didactic just at the end. (In a book of this length, a small problem can still take up a few hundred pages, of course...)

War and Peace is a book that has had so very much written about it already, making it kind of useless to go into too much depth--and that's fine, because to sum up my feelings about every major aspect of this book would mean a review at least half the length of the novel itself. Surprise! There is a lot going on here! In the end I give it five stars even though there are some serious flaws, and this is for two reasons:

First of all, the novel feels like it's author trying to grapple with something. Well, with many things, but a few issues above all others, and in that sense even his failings are fascinating and, often, spectacular. Tolstoy was an extremely smart motherf*****, and he poured everything into this novel, and if that means a few times when the author stops writing his novel to rant at you in-person, well that's still pretty fascinating. It's only at the very end that these rants become unwieldy and frustrating, because they're unnecessary--near the end, Tolstoy will make a point beautifully in a sentence or paragraph, and then use pages upon pages to explain the point he already made. However, again, this is fascinating if one is looking at the character of the author himself. Also, his ideas are interesting to see laid out... he just maybe should have done a little less of it.

Secondly, because these asides only begin in the last third or so, and only get really bad right near the end, and frankly by that time Tolstoy has given us so much good novel that he can be excused for a few problems. Every character in War and Peace feels like a human being living their life, and each one gets many of the sort of character arcs that are usually only designated one to a character in your average (or far, far above-average) novel. Despite the length, the prose (when it's actually still a novel) moves briskly, the chapters are short (it was originally serialized, after all), and the events and characters are funny, heartbreaking, exciting, all while being as profound and thoughtful as people expect when they think "Russian novel," but they do it effortlessly, which is not, I think, the expectation. In all that time, there is enough material (and not just in terms of length) for three or four masterpieces of fiction writing--those three or four novels would be quite similarly written, and about the same characters, but they would be masterpieces nonetheless, and so again, I can excuse some didactic flaws near the end.

Will I skip one or two chunks right near the end when I read War and Peace again? Probably. Will I be excited to read War and Peace again someday? Extremely--many, many, many times. People like Nikolai, Pierre, and Natasha will stick with me the rest of my life, that's a given, but smaller ones like Denisov, Dolokhov, and even Tikhon will do the same. Certain scenes were so beautiful, so perfect, that even being entirely aware of how the bottom will drop out when the consequences come won't keep me from thinking back to them and sighing, and other scenes gave me the sort of genuine physical reaction that only the best of books ever have (like, ahem, The Count of Monte Cristo). Maybe it isn't for everyone, but I dunno, it should be. ... Read more

2. Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (Perennial Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 720 Pages (2004-03)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$8.83
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0060586974
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
  ... Read more

Customer Reviews (12)

5-0 out of 5 stars Great Short works by Leo Tolstoy is an outstanding collection of great writing by literature's greatest author
Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy is another entry in the Perennial series "Great Short Works of....". In it we see the author of "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" doing himself proud in excellently written short novels and stories. The pieces are:
1. Family Happiness: Masha is the stortyller in this beautiful tale of the passage of time and the reality of love, She tells of her marriage to a much older man, her boredom on a rural estate and her disillusionment with society. Masha matures in the tale and is along with Natasha in "War and Peace" and Anna Karenina another example of Tolstoy's ability to see life through the eyes of female characters.
2. The Cossacks is an autobiographical short novel of the life of a Moscow officer who spends time in a Cossack village experiencing love, war and exposure to an alien culture. This is an exciting and moving tale.
3. The Death of Ivan Ilych is an unforgettable story of the death of a judge. We see him bid farwell to life and prepare for the great unkown as he screams in pain and forsakes the hypocrisies of life. Sad and memorable.
4. The Devil is a cautionary story of how a man is possessed by lust. The rich landowner seduces a peasant girl destroying his marriage and his life. Tolstoy was himself a man who had a lively libido and dueled with lust throughout his longlife.
5. The Kreutzer Sonata deals with a husband's jealousy. He kills his wife who may (or may not!) have been sleeping with a violinist who enjoys playing Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. One of the world's greatest short stories.
6. Master and Man. A greedy businessman and his servant set out for a business appointment during a terrible snowstorm. There sled is lost. The story is a vivid tale of survival and loss.
7. Father Sergius is another story dealing with man's nature. Sergius is consumed by lust and ambition but becomes a hermit. A moving story of one man's struggles and triumphs.
8. Hadji Murad is a Chechen warrior who betrays them to become a Russian ally. His life and death are the stuff of legend.
9. Alyosha the Pot is a short story about a simple peasant who lives and dies filled with wonder and grace.
This is a beloved volume by a beloved author. Enjoy this excellent collection of wonderful stories told by a master of the human heart.

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Put: An Outstanding Collection
According to many critics,Tolstoy (1828 to 1910) is viewed as one of the greatest novelists of all time, particularly noted for his historical novel War and Peace and later the novel Anna Karenina. The two novels are among the best novels ever written, and depict life in 19th century Russia. Tolstoy was associated with the realism movement and as such his writings are graphic and compelling. The present book is a bargain and brings the reader some of his best short works.

Tolstoy was born on his father's estate in Central Russia, attended college, and joined the military. He served in Chechnya and wrote about his experiences, and later served in Sevastopol where he was involved in intensive fighting. He wrote about life in the Russia military, and he wrote about other historical military events such as the Napoleonic wars. He wrote about historical events and he wrote about people and the mundane events of life. The short novel The Cossacks (included here) came from this early experiences in the military.

War and Peace (1865-69) is generally thought to be one of the greatest and most complicated novels ever written including over 500 characters and a variety of historical details on the Napoleonic wars. Anna Karenina (1877) followed later. It is a beautifully written story of a farmer (Levin) and a woman (Anna ¨Karenina) who have two parallel and loosely interconnected lives.

In addition to those primary novels, Tolstoy wrote other major novels, novellas, and short stories. Some of the best of his writings are here in this collection. They include the important work "The Death of Ivan Ilych" which is a profound but short work, and possibly one of the best novels of all time. There are others such as "The Cossacks," "The Devil," and one of my favorite short stories "Master and Man." Also, there are other stories such as the emotional "Father Sergius," a story that was published later but was a favorite of Tolstoy. Personally speaking, I was not too excited by his tale Hadji Murad, but the other stories are just superb.

The stories here are mostly good to great, and are all a bit different, and all are easy to read. Shakespeare was perhaps the greatest writer ever, but as great as he was, most find the writings of Shakespeare to be a bit opaque. But Tolstoy is completely different. Most stories are clear, easy to read, and they are engaging and compelling. This is a wonderful collection of the best writing by one of the world's great writers.

2-0 out of 5 stars Not as great!
I had read few stories by tolstoy as a teenager in school and liked. I decided to buy them again and I just dont think I am impressed anymore. Only very few stories are good to read but other than that this looks like a christian book to me with quotes from the Bible.

5-0 out of 5 stars Death of Ivan Ilych is probably the best thing Tolstoy ever wrote
With that work being the main concern of this review, I must say that probably the most facinating thing about Tolstoy the artist, the man, the philosopher is his lifelong horror and obsession of death. He was a lifelong deathwatcher and with a distinctive brilliance does he describe death in his works, Ivan Ilych being the culmination of his concern with death.

Dostoevsky is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite writer and with that being stated is the obvious superior of his great tempororay Tolstoy. I sometimes regret this because it sometimes blinds me to Tolstoy's greatness. In the case of Ivan Ilych, Tolstoy shines through in all of his literary genius. With this 1886 short novel, one can easily see Tolstoy the literary artist. He chooses a judge who never gives death a thought and yet condemns accused to death. Tolstoy hated judges and one perceives that there is a slight sinister Chekhovian schadenfreude to the title character's sufferings and epiphany in the great Lion as he wrote this one. I remember slightly the storm of thought which surged within me when I finished reading this work about a year ago. Never before had I read a work with a simple plot work laced through with character intrigue (and in this case Tolstoy gets alongside and may have even beaten Dostoevsky when it comes to the latter's utter phenomenal mastry over creating facinating characters) and the philosophical force of a bullet train.

Everyone must at one point in their lives read Tolstoy's incredible work, The Death of Ivan Ilych. It is not only what I would consider to be the greatest short novel ever written but is a testament to the philosophical anguish of a great mind rendered into haunting brilliance and a beauty which leaves its mark upon the stunned reader, never to recover over the magnificence that is Tolstoy.

4-0 out of 5 stars worth reading
I may be missing something, but the three short stories I read from this Tolstoy collection were good but nothing superspecial.From what I understand War and Peace and Anna Kerrenina are really his masterpieces, but The Death of Ivan Ilych is also well-known.There may also have been something missing in translation as well as across time and culture.

I also read The Devil and The Kreutzer Sonata.Curiously, all three stories all inevitably lead to a death.Cossacks was written 1852-62, while the others were written much later in the mid 1880's.I felt that the later stories had a much more refined writing technique, so I never finished Cossacks.

So those of you who want to get a taste of Tolstoy, these short stories may suffice, though I have a feeling that the only way to "taste" Tolstoy is to take that really big bite and read his major masterpieces. ... Read more

3. The Kingdom of God Is Within You
by Leo Tolstoy, Leo Tolstoi
Paperback: 202 Pages (2010-09-02)
list price: US$4.95 -- used & new: US$4.95
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1603863826
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Product Description
An unabridged edition, sub-titled: Christianity Not As A Mystic Religion But As A New Theory Of Life; to include: The Doctrine of Nonresistance to Evil by Force Has Been Professed By A Minority of Men from the Very Foundation of Christianity - Criticisms of the Doctrine of Non-Resistance to Evil by Force On The Part Of Believers & Of Unbelievers - Christianity Misunderstood By Believers - Christianity Misunderstood By Men of Science - Contradiction Between Our Life And Our Christian Conscience - Attitude of Men of the Present Day to War - Significance of Compulsory Service - Doctrine of Non-Resistance to Evil by Force Must Inevitably Be Accepted By Men of the Present Day - The Acceptance of the Christian Conception of Life Will Emancipate Men from the Miseries of Our Pagan Life - Evil Cannot Be Supressed by the Physical Force of the Government The Moral Progress of Humanity Is Brought About Not Only By Individual Recognitionof the Truth But Also Through The Establishment Of A Public Opinion - The Christian Conception of Life Has Already Arisen In Our Society, and Will Infallibly Put an End to the Present Organization Op Our Life Based On Force When That Will Be - Conclusion-Repent Ye, For The Kingdom Of Heaven Is At Hand ... Read more

Customer Reviews (47)

5-0 out of 5 stars Life Changing and Life Affirming
I am just about done with this book and I feel it may be the most influential book I have ever read outside of the New Testament.It is beautifully insane, as are the words of Jesus.A dream that should be real and CAN BE REAL.If not for the world, FOR YOU TODAY AND RIGHT NOW.Become a fool for God.Tolstoy was ready to do so and wanted others to do the same.And just as Jesus, his greatest object of scorn were the hypocrites, who used the words of truth to convince the masses just enough to make them do just the opposite.To kill in the name of Jesus, to support hierarchies of men, to make us all assist in statist warmongering through forced conscription and taxation.

I read the negative reviews here and what befuddles me is that so many act like Tolstoy was so removed from life and violence.Except for the war vets out there, I'd say he was a lot closer to it than you, given the time and place of his life.So don't act like he'd seen nothing and was living in la la land and you aren't.

Moreover, who said that he had to be "logical"?By that same token, neither was Jesus.But Jesus had something a lot of us don't have, a giant set of balls.He was willing to die first, be humiliated and mocked and treated like dirt.And he begged forgiveness for those who did it.

What I think Tolstoy disliked the most is that the mythology of Christianity did everything to take Jesus away from us, to turn him into a God and forget the part of him that was the man, to make us feel that it was Him and Him alone to which the right to really walk it like you talk it was invested.But hey, that blood coming out of his body was the blood that made Him a man.And when they scourged Him (i.e. kicked the ever living crap out of Him)that was a man who took those blows that sent pain shocking up those nerves and into that brain.

Of course there are all sorts of logical arguments that could be raised against Tolstoy's demands at radical Jesus, but you'd best just take them to Jesus because He preached radical faith.If logic is what you want to use, just go be an atheist, cause really where is the "logic" in believing in Christ or His testimony?Neither the mythology or the testament of Christ really fits in line with your brain if all you want to do is ask what Jesus would do if someone pulled a knife on Him and he had a kid to protect.You are just like the Pharisees at that point, using logic to tempt Jesus when even their religious platform was itself illogical.

you either got the heart or you don't.I don't think anyone had the guts Jesus did, but if you can't even hear it, you certainly can't touch it.

Did Tolstoy think his treatise was gonna end all war?Of course not.But if he inspires even one of us to remember to walk away when someone insults or takes a swing at us and to not silently grumble about what a jerk they are, if he inspires even one more person to really think about what signing on to join an army really means (it ain't college money)...it's one more step forward.

Tolstoy, you rock!

2-0 out of 5 stars Well meaning but full of error
Tolstoy became christianized to some degree before he died. But he clearly confused the Catholicism he was raised in and surrounded by with true Christianity. Which comes across loud and clear in his writings. Most of the world does (confuse the two). Other errors also compile to make Tolstoy's gospel a false gospel. Tolstoy does have some good things to say at times, but they are all interwoven with his own personal socialist beliefs and he seems to snatch bits and pieces of scripture references out of the Bible to back up those beliefs; rather than taking scripture in context with the whole he only gives acknowledgement to those verses which serve his purpose, his beliefs.

3-0 out of 5 stars great thought
In this case, Tolstoy doesn't know when to shut up.He made his point half-way through the book.

5-0 out of 5 stars And Gandhi read it too
It was great to get hold of this book, and I read it with especial interest because of its link to Gandhi who was 'overwhelmed' by it - his word - and who said it left 'an abiding impression' on him. It's really a defence of Tolstoy's position on non-violence, which is why Gandhi sat up and took notice; and a continued attack on the Orthodox church which totally ruled the roost at the time, and supported the government in all matters. And believe me, no one attacks like Tolstoy! He's ruthless, but also somehow very funny. Having seen the recent film, I'm not sure I'd want to have been married to the man; I think he finds disagreement impossible to handle. But he's not the only one to find the Sermon on the Mount more compelling than the Institutional church, and he puts his case so so well. And congratulations to Whitecrow for such high production values; glad to have found you.

2-0 out of 5 stars Condition unsatisfactory
This book was listed in excellent condition with a normal wear on the spine.It was, in fact, sliced and twisted as if during printing it had a little mishap.While it is still ok as a seven dollar book, I was disappointed to find it not as advertized. ... Read more

4. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories
by Leo Tolstoy
Hardcover: 528 Pages (2009-11-17)
list price: US$28.95 -- used & new: US$17.58
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0307268810
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Canada | United Kingdom | Germany | France | Japan
Editorial Review

Product Description
A vibrant translation of Tolstoy’s most important short fiction by the award-winning translators of War and Peace.
Here are eleven masterful stories from the mature author, some autobiographical, others moral parables, and all told with the evocative power that was Tolstoy’s alone.  They include “The Prisoner of the Caucasus,” inspired by Tolstoy's own experiences as a soldier in the Chechen War, “Hadji Murat,” the novella Harold Bloom called “the best story in the world,” “The Devil,” a fascinating tale of sexual obsession, and the celebrated “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” an intense and moving examination of death and the possibilities of redemption.
Pevear and Volokhonsky’s translation captures the richness, immediacy, and multiplicity of Tolstoy’s language, and reveals the author as a passionate moral guide, an unflinching seeker of truth, and ultimately, a creator of enduring and universal art.

From the Trade Paperback edition.Amazon.com Review
Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2009:To anyone for whom Leo Tolstoy's masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina have stood as giants too daunting to scale, and equally to the many readers who have devoured those novels and are hungry for more, we offer The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories. Newly translated by the team of Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, who have enlivened the Russian classics for a new generation, this selection of 11 of his finest stories reveals a Tolstoy of many sides and unsurpassed storytelling talents. Along with smaller gems like "Alyosha the Pot," the collection features a handful of thrilling longer tales that each carry the power of a novel: the terrifying murderer's confession of "The Kreuzer Sonata," the breathlessly dramatic path of a single crime through dozens of lives in "The Forged Coupon," and the haunting account of the isolation of mortality in the legendary title story. Most revelatory of all for a modern reader is the final novella, and Tolstoy's final work, "Hadji Murat," the disturbingly contemporary story of a fiercely honorable Chechen warrior caught between local rivalries and the ambivalent reach of a decadent empire. --Tom Nissley ... Read more

Customer Reviews (36)

5-0 out of 5 stars Several of Tolstoy's beautiful pieces of art.
This review is for you to decide whether or not you'd like to buy this 500-page volume of assorted stories by Tolstoy. What do you look for before doing so? Typically, if you are a lover and devourer of short stories as I am, you like a condensed narrative no less meaningful than a novel, but simply more concise and to the point. This describes the ideal short story and, indeed, Tolstoy follows it to the letter, in different stories embracing completely different themes, characters, settings, etc. -- and he proves himself master of anything he sets his mind to writing about.

I'm only up to the Kreutzer Sonata as of this review, but the worthiness of the translation breaks through every page. Tolstoy wanted to simplify his art following Anna Karenina, an extremely detailed and beautiful work in itself, but, Tolstoy would argue, full of artistic pretensions. His prose really is quite simplified and to the point, yet he speaks volumes because of the incredible insight he has into his characters' lives, and for Pevear and Volokhonsky to have translated his intentions this accurately just further justifies their superstar status among translators today.

Really, of what I've read so far, Tolstoy is just a supreme chronicler of human character in all areas of life, whether that of an ordinary man like Ivan Ilyich, or the "madman" in his Diary of a Madman (about as radically different from Gogol's as is possible and therefore, as he saw, much more realistic). Get these stories for their faithful translation, a translation that flawlessly communicates Tolstoy's artistic insight into all sorts of human nature.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Morality of Literature
I've previously posted on one long piece in this book - Hadji Murat - on my blog, Gridley FiresThe remainder of this book is a collection of short stories selected by the book's translators, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, no doubt to show off the diversity in Tolstoy's story structure and subject matter. But in doing this, they've perhaps inadvertently selected stories that, except for a pair, depict Tolstoy's project of using story to demonstrate his views on morality and ethics.

Some of his moral depictions here (and almost all literature trifles with ethical dilemmas of the author's times, to one degree or another) are as subtly put as those modern by a hundred years. On the other hand, others are actually quite ham-handed. But more on this subject below.

The translators made these stories entertaining - not only by showing us the more timeless aspects of Tolstoy's literary thinking - but in herding them ever so gracefully into modern times via a more contemporary language that refuses to betray Tolstoy and the language of that time. As I've implied previously, these two translators are likely without peer in doing so.

Possibly since I'm a blue collar dude by sensibility, my favorite story (besides Hadji Murat) is Master and Man, in which a man of means, Vassily Andreich and a servant, Nikita, an older muzhik, or peasant, take off on a winter trip to another town with a snowstorm looming. The story is a masterwork of the dynamics between the two men, how they both complement one another and manage inherent class conflicts. As well, it depicts as deftly as any modern work might the ways in which Nikita belongs to nature, in which he understands, despite his usual drunken state, how to navigate nature in such times and how to yield to it in order to survive. Vassily, on the other hand, is headstrong to a fault, which proves his undoing in this Jack London-style story of man versus the elements.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Death of Ivan Illyich and Other Stories
Tolstoy's stories are classics, beautifully written and engaging. This collection is a classic. Whether you agree with the later
Tolstoy who could be somewhat rigid in his religiosity, his writing nevertheless is first rate.

5-0 out of 5 stars Living the Wrong Way?
Tolstoy, known for his longer more cumbersome books, gives us a short, impacting story in "The Death of Ivan Ilyich." He captures the tragedy and pathos of the Russian mind, but goes beyond that and brushes against universal fears and struggles.

Ivan has lived his life according to his own plan, a plan that coincides with the expectations of his family and society. Despite a few early setbacks, he rises to the level of a court judge, marries an attractive woman, and has children who are advancing as expected. He buys a home and remodels it to fit his and his wife's whims. He toes the line, follows the rules, and finds moments of happiness playing whist with his friends. These are the same friends who can think of little else, even in the hour of his memorial service.

After a seemingly inconsequential accident, Ivan realizes he has faced internal damage and is heading irreversibly toward death. He has never entertained such a thought before. Dying? Why? Where is the sympathy of his family? Why does he despise his wife's touch? What value has his life been?

Ivan faces these questions and sinks into a terrible darkness, resisting the sense that he has lived his life the wrong way. It's a genuine fear, and Tolstoy faces it squarely, courageously, offering some reprieve in the end but not too much. His subject is serious, and he treats it so.

5-0 out of 5 stars This is NOT the kindle ed.
Please note:The Richard Pevear (Translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (Translator) edition reviewed here is not the $1.00 Kindle edition. So if you want this translation, do not get the Kindle version.
... Read more

5. A Confession (Hesperus Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 146 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$6.89
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1843911906
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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At this time I began to write, from vanity, greed, and pride. In my writings I did exactly as in life. In order to possess the glory and the wealth for whose sake I wrote, it was necessary to conceal the good, and to display the bad. And so I did.


Tolstoy’s autobiographical essay is a dissection of his soul, a study of his life’s movement away from the religious certainties of youth, and a vital piece of reading which contextualizes the great works he is best known for. Marking the point at which his life moved from the worldly to the spiritual, Tolstoy’s philosophical reassessment of the Orthodox faith is a work that holds vital spiritual and intellectual importance to this very day.

Amazon.com Review
Confession is Leo Tolstoy's memoir of midlife spiritualcrisis. In 1879, having written War and Peace and AnnaKarenina, the 51 year-old Tolstoy began to believe that his lifewas meaningless. Confession is his account of the limitedsatisfactions he derived from his aesthetic and intellectual triumphs,and of his first yearnings for real faith. This book marks the turningpoint in his career as a writer: after 1880 he would write almostexclusively about religious life, especially devotion among thepeasantry (in works such as The Death of Ivan Ilych andResurrection). Near the end of Confession, Tolstoydescribes the desolation he felt upon deciding that he could not solvehis crisis of faith by taking refuge in the church. "I have no doubtthat there is truth in the doctrine," he writes, "but there can alsobe no doubt that it harbors a lie; and I must find the truth and thelie so I can tell them apart." Confession does not find thefull Truth, but it offers an inspiring example of a man rejecting thelies that cling to unthinking orthodoxy. Its final, exhilarating,heart-rending account of a spiritually awakening dream ranks with thebest of Christian mystical writing. --Michael Joseph Gross ... Read more

Customer Reviews (18)

5-0 out of 5 stars The Honest Man's Search for Faith
As a fairly conventional mainstream Christian, it is probably natural that I very much liked the first part of Confession, which brilliantly dissects the still highly recognizable failings of the secular educated elite --it is often hard to remember this was describing events in the 1800s.On the other hand, it is also very natural I was made uncomfortable by the latter part of the Confession and nearly all of "What is Religion?"which explains why Tolsoy, having already rejected atheism, now went on to reject conventional religion and especially the Russian Orthodox Church. On some points I can say, "Well, yes, 19th century Russian Orthodoxywas a state church which indulged in persecution in ways that are irrelevant to the modern American churches (even modern American Orthodoxy, of which I am quite fond, though not Orthodox myself)."But in other ways I must admit that his critique could be justly applied to modern Christians as well. Some of it I think simplistic --calling the mass of believers "hypnotized" by tradition, for instance --but on some points he must be taken seriously, notably the failure of many Christians (particularly myself) to live up to the faith they profess. Whether the belief system he ends up with can still be called religion, let alone Christianity, is very doubtful --I suspect many modern secularists would be more comfortable with it than many modern Christians --but there is no mistaking the excruciatingly painful honesty with which he did his best to work out, and then live up to, his beliefs.(Though on the living up to, as the foreword remarks, he did no better in some respects than other fallible humans, especially where his poor wife was concerned.)

1-0 out of 5 stars Great read, but BAD publisher. 50 EDITING ERRORS!!!
Whilst reading the Aegypan Press's publishing of "A Confession" I realized it was in large print, had numerous editing errors (I counted 50), and did not provide any copyright information. For a short ESSAY, the publishing caliber of this book is abominable. I am an avid reader but had I been just graduating from the 5th grade, I could have done a better editing job than this. DO NOT BUY THIS BOOK!
To buy this version of Tolstoy's "A Confession" would be to disgrace one of the most lucid and personal essay's in literature. I strongly recommend investing in this book published by another press. The afterword, containing Tolstoy's dream is a poignantly intimate and yet applicable summation of his struggle to find meaning and rest for life - a passage that has the beauty of poetry and one that will stay with me forever.

1-0 out of 5 stars Aegypan needs a proofreader
The Aegypan (hardcover) edition of this book is a scandal and should not be on the market: almost every page boasts its typo -- most are harmless, but some, such as "whore" instead of "shore," leave one breathless.

5-0 out of 5 stars Tolstoy Review
This is a fascinating look at a man's journey to religious enlightenment. He is lost and he struggles to make sense of life and religion, asking the age old question, "Why are we here?"

4-0 out of 5 stars Insightful
Good insight into the mind of a talented thinker. Unfortunately he dwindles of toward the end, but definitely worth reading. ... Read more

6. Anna Karenina (Oprah's Book Club)
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 864 Pages (2004-05)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$7.69
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0143035002
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between thesensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, CountVronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage andmust endure the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richlytextured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven majorcharacters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts ofcity and country life and all the variations on love and familyhappiness.While previous versions have softened the robust, andsometimes shocking, quality of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear andVolokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerfulvoice. This award-winning team's authoritative edition also includesan illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful,vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will bethe definitive text for generations to come.Amazon.com Review
Some people say Anna Karenina is the single greatest novel everwritten, which makes about as much sense to me as trying to determinethe world's greatest color. But there is no doubt that AnnaKarenina, generally considered Tolstoy's best book, is definitelyone ripping great read. Anna, miserable in her loveless marriage, doesthe barely thinkable and succumbs to her desires for the dashingVronsky. I don't want to give away the ending, but I will say that19th-century Russia doesn't take well to that sort of thing. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (217)

5-0 out of 5 stars Modern in unexpected ways
That Anna Karenina is a "classic" is irrefutable.What struck me upon reading it again (the first time was in college more than a quarter of a century ago) was just how modern this tale is.While the plot may not have unfolded today as it did in the 19th century, Tolstoy's treatment of characters' motivation is wonderfully modern.

Anna' inability to stop her self-destructive insecurity, Levin's anxiety and confusion are all beautifully realized and rendered. Add to it a wonderful supporting cast of characters who are variously appealing and repugnant and the result is a truly impressive achievement.

4-0 out of 5 stars Something for Everyone
I thought this book was excellent.There was something for everyone in it -- you could read it for pure entertainment -- the story is just as good as a Jane Austen novel, but the characters revealed lots of about themselves that made you think about all kinds of things (motives, religion, relationships, the female role in society) -- all of which is still relevant today. I felt like I learned a lot about myself and my own motivations, including the ones I might normally hide from myself, by reading this book.

What I also liked was the translation.Again, the book was easy to read, but it also explained, through simple footnotes in the back, things that might not be clear, due to the period or unfamiliar aspects of Russion culture/politics.

5-0 out of 5 stars great book, great condition!
I needed a copy of Anna Karenina quickly because I was in rehearsals for the play version.Barnes and Noble was charging $17, I got mine for $5 and it was like new.And quickly too, within a week!

5-0 out of 5 stars Realism at its Finest
I started reading Anna Karenina two weeks after finishing War and Peace.The initial motivation to "get through" War and Peace was replaced with an interest in really digging deeper into AK. Accordingly, I read AK over a two year span, reading several "lighter" works along the way.As other reviewers have mentioned, the strength in AK is derived from its characters.You see these characters engage in conversations and events of both epic and inconsequential importance.And that is why one comes to know them so well. While the primary and secondary story lines unfold gradually, the real beauty of the work shines through in the routine events in the characters' lives.One comes to know and care about the characters.I would recommend that if you are interested in reading AK, try to learn as little about the story as possible beforehand.

Note:I primarily read the Constance Garnett version (B&N Classics).However, I would often pick up this version when I found myself in a Borders.The footnotes in the CG version are excellent, though they often assume the reader knows the story in advance (spoilers).

5-0 out of 5 stars All good books are alike
What I call a good book is one that when you read it again later, you find things in it you didn't see the first time.

And so I'm re-reading my ancient copy of Anna Karenina in Russian and suddenly got hit in the face by what I think is the real core of the tragedy.

Aleksey Aleksandrovich Karenin was raised properly but without emotion and without the wanderyahr or social season that many of his contemporaries got.He had to plunge directly into work.As a result, he had no education at all in how to behave in women's society and he had no concept of emotional relationships.So after spending some time with Anna Arkadievna Oblonskaya in social situations, he wasn't in love with her and didn't know the meaning of love, but he got maneuvered into marrying her by her aunt without being able to laugh off the claim that he had compromised Anna.

The irony is that when Vronskij did compromise her, Aleksey finds all kinds of reasons not to let her go.First it's because she's his wife and even though she breaks her promise to observe the proprieties, he refuses to consider divorce.Then after Vronskij and Anna go the whole way, after she gives birth to an illegitimate child, after Karenin offers to let Anna continue living in his home and even takes a liking to the baby, after she leaves, after she lives with Vronskij for years, Karenin lets the weeny clairvoyant Landau/Bezzubov tell him to refuse a divorce.

This book at least in part is about three men who think the whole world revolves around them: Karenin the government official; Vronskij the wealthy playboy; and Oblonskij the dissipated wastrel.The women caught in their toils all suffer, even Countess Lidiya Ivanovna who takes physical, mental and moral possession of Karenin, who will never love her no matter how often he takes her advice.

Although the theme of female emancipation is touched on in the novel, it is Kitty Levin who speaks for Tolstoy in rejecting the concept.Konstantin Levin is essentially Tolstoy himself, and Kitty is to some extent Tolstoy's wife, Sofiya, nee Behrs, who wrote in her journals how much she hated Tolstoy's punishment of unfaithful wives in his literature, including the Kreutzer Sonata.She felt it hypocritical given his physical appetites after marriage as well as before, appetites he failed to arouse in her.But the good wife forgives the man's past since he is faithful to her in the present, and the man has a right to all the wife's attentions.

Even the children have no claim on her, as is clear from Kreutzer Sonata.Because of his own jealousy, Tolstoy made Sofiya end her childhood friendship with a very musical man who was a friend of her family, because it took her attention away from him. Then later in his life he abandoned his family, forcing all the financial responsibilities onto Sofiya, and finally actually leaving home, to die at "the last station."

But at least Anna has a name, unlike the wife in Kreutzer Sonata.It's just that none of the men in her life expect her to actually have a life.Karenin can't love her but expects her to be a pattern of wives in high society -- where she meets a number of women who have affairs but at least don't break up the family.Oblonskij sends her to his wife to heal the wounds caused by her _discovery_ of his infidelity -- not by the infidelity, but because Dolly, the pattern wife, never conceived of her husband having an affair or even kissing anybody else.Vronskij says he loves her but he can't understand her love for her son and disses her affection for his horse trainer's family after the father drinks himself into the DTs.

It's all wrapped up in the tragedy of society's expectation that if you have a nice house and clothes and go to parties and do what everybody lays down as the rules, you've achieved the summit of how people should live, regardless of the signs that something is broken.Nobody in Anna's life pays attention to her continuing use of morphine, which I think has to be at the bottom of her increasingly erratic behavior and ultimately her suicide.

Yes, they're all sorry when it's too late, as Anna says to herself at one point.And not one of them is capable of doing anything to avert the tragedy, I think because they believe that in their social circle, _and because Anna is part of their lives_, nothing like that would ever happen to disturb them.

And isn't that what we hear in the news every day?"She was such a nice person!""We lived next door for years..."Because the person in the news was part of our lives, it's impossible they could be living their own life, and that it could turn out so tragically.

That's what a great novel does.If you pay attention, you'll hear echoes of it in the news involving people who never heard of the book or even the author.That's reality in writing.
... Read more

7. Leo Tolstoy: Spiritual Writings (Modern Spiritual Masters)
Paperback: 206 Pages (2006-08-23)
list price: US$17.00 -- used & new: US$10.43
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 1570756732
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars A relentless hunger for meaning
I discovered Tolstoy when I was twelve years old, and I've been reading and rereading him ever since (over forty years now; where did all that time go!?)My guess is that Tolstoy is one of the major influences in my life.I only began to appreciate how deeply he'd influenced me when I discovered Gandhi in my twenties, and realized that I agreed with most of what the Mahatma said because I'd already been convinced by Tolstoy.

But I've always been puzzled by Tolstoy's religious beliefs, never feeling that I had a good grasp of them but sensing that until I did, I could never really appreciate Tolstoy's message.Charles Moore's excellent compilation has helped me begin to make sense of what Tolstoy believed.Reading his anthology, I'm persuaded that sometimes Tolstoy's reflections on religion simply don't make sense (his "Thoughts on God" strike me as simply confused), sometimes they suggest a liberal moralism dressed up as religion, and sometimes they're preachy and judgmental.But at his best, Tolstoy's vision of God as love, prayer as the method by which we get in touch with divine love, and the exercise of love as the heart of Jesus' message, is superb.It's what inspired Gandhi in his nonviolence, and it's what makes Tolstoy still worth reading.(One crucial question, however, is how to sustain loyalty to Jesus' moral message while denying, as Tolstoy did, Jesus' divinity.)

Moore's anthology also focuses (in its first section) on Tolstoy's lifelong search for meaning and truth (Tolstoy's dying words were an affirmation of his love for truth).Tolstoy was one of those persons with a deep and abiding hunger for deep meaning in life, and this longing motivated much in his life and writings, sometimes driving him to excess.In our day and age, existential hunger seems quaint.Perhaps we fear to acknowledge our own hunger because we sense, howsoever vaguely, that doing so will bring us pain.But if Tolstoy's correct, we only really learn to love when we embrace the hunger.

All in all, much good nourishment in this collection, prefaced by a very worthy introduction written by editor Moore.Highly recommended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Summary of Tolstoy
This book was an excellent summary of Tolstoy's thinking, the editor has taken parts from several of Tolstoy's writings and hashed them together in a logical pattern.It stays rather light compared to the experience of reading a single Tolstoy doctrine such as "The Kingdom of God is Within You".Excellent introduction.I'm giving this to a friend now to get her familiar. ... Read more

8. Family Happiness: Stories (Harper Perennial Classic Stories)
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 224 Pages (2009-05-01)
list price: US$10.00 -- used & new: US$5.28
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0061773735
Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars
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Russian writer Leo Tolstoy is probably best known to the Western world for his epic WAR AND PEACE and splendid ANNA KARENINA, but during his long lifetime Tolstoy also wrote enough shorter works to fill many volumes. Reprinted here are two of his finest short novels -- FAMILY HAPPINESS and MASTER AND MAN -- and one short story -- ALYOSHA THE POT

Alongside FAMILY HAPPINESS, Harper Perennial will publish the short fiction of Fyodor Dostoevsky, Herman Melville, Willa Cather, Stephen Crane, and Oscar Wilde to be packaged in a beautifully designed, boldly colorful boxset in the aim to attract contemporary fans of short fiction to these revered masters of the form. Also, in each of these selections will appear a story from one of the new collections being published in the "Summer of the Short Story."

... Read more

Customer Reviews (4)

4-0 out of 5 stars Very good story, but with a bad ending
Critics, such as John Bayley, tell us that Tolstoy disliked Family Happiness as soon as he completed it: "the main (reason) seems to have been because the story was made up." Tolstoy lacked experience with the events he was narrating. Tolstoy seems to be right. The story is well-written, but it does not fully explain the reaction of the husband in the tale.
The first half of the story details the developing love of a seventeen year old girl, who grew up secluded in the country, to a 36 year old business man, a friend of her father, a man more than twice her age, who had traveled much. The second half tells about her life after her marriage; both she and her husband are very much in love.
However, she discovers that she is bored with life and persuades her husband to live some months in the large city. She attends many social events there and experiences a life she only heard about, a life that her older husband had long ago experienced and no longer needed or desired. Her new life creates a rift between the couple. The husband clearly loves his wife and gives her all she desires, but the love changes. It dissolves into a love that many middle age couples experience.
She realizes her mistake and tries to reignite the former deeper happier love, but her husband, who insists that he loves her, tells her that there is no possibility to return to the first love. It is this decision by the husband or his insight that is not sufficiently explored.

4-0 out of 5 stars Family Happiness by Leo Tolstoy
Family Happiness was first published in 1859, and it marks one of the first of Tolstoy's fictional explorations of the theme of family happiness. It is autobiographical to a large extent and was written after his engagement to his ward was broken off. It explores what might have happened had the marriage taken place.

Tolstoy searched for family happiness his entire life. He did not know it in its complete form as a child as his mother died when he was about 18 months old and his father when he was nine. After his father's death, little Leo and his three brothers and sister were shifted around among other relatives. First his paternal grandmother had guardianship of the children, but she too died 11 months after his father's death. Guardianship then passed to a paternal aunt, who also died. There was then a custody battle between another paternal aunt and a paternal cousin (the model for Sonya in War and Peace) with the paternal aunt winning.

None of the five children ever found family happiness in their adult lives.

Tolstoy was obsessed with trying to understand what family happiness consists of and how to achieve it. This obsession is evident in the fictional marriages he portrayed in War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata, and The Devil. Some believe that Tolstoy did achieve family happiness in the early years of his marriage, but I would argue that the relationship between husband and wife was volatile from the beginning, disintegrating over the years until his celebrated flight from home ending in his death from pneumonia in 1910.

1-0 out of 5 stars Family Happiness, Tolstoy
Tolstoy's Family Happiness is passe' and boring.I read many books each year, and this is not one I would recommend. I would highly recommend "Into the wild", "The woman who walked to Russia", "Garden Spell", "Desert Queen", I could go on, with many other subjects, but that will have to wait. S.L.Munch

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent bite-sized Tolstoy
I'd never read Tolstoy because I was always intimidated by the size of his major works; thus, a collection of his short stories was an appealing first step.

"Family Happiness" is the primary work in this book.In it, Tolstoy opines on what makes a successful marriage.I was amazed by how prescient to today was his 19th century relationship advice.Because he grasps universal and eternal elements of the human soul, his advice will be just as relevant 100 years from now.

The other stories display Tolstoy's thoughts on work, faith, temptation, high-society, and ambition - among other topics - and are equally as enlightening.

Tolstoy clearly did not sacrifice brevity for depth as these five short stories were all outstanding reads.A great introduction to one of history's deepest writers.Highly recommend. ... Read more

9. A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World's Sacred Texts
by Leo Tolstoy
Hardcover: 384 Pages (1997-10-14)
list price: US$24.00 -- used & new: US$13.00
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0684837935
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is the first-ever English-language edition of the book Leo Tolstoy considered to be his most important contribution to humanity, the work of his life's last years. Widely read in prerevolutionary Russia, banned and forgotten under Communism; and recently rediscovered to great excitement, A Calendar of Wisdom is a day-by-day guide that illuminates the path of a life worth living with a brightness undimmed by time. Unjustly censored for nearly a century, it deserves to be placed with the few books in our history that will never cease teaching us the essence of what is important in this world. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (29)

1-0 out of 5 stars Are they serious???
At $16.99, the Kindle Edition of this book is MORE EXPENSIVE than the hardcover edition, which is $16.32. WHY????????????? What could POSSIBLY be the reason for charging more for an electronic copy than for the hardcover edition which uses paper, ink, binding, and has production costs. GREEDY, IGNORANT PUBLISHERS! Shameful.

5-0 out of 5 stars A challenge to live life better
Tolstoy died a very humble man, but he gave of himself greatly in the creation of this book.

I often give this book as a gift to those who really want to live their lives, not just survive, not just to exist, but to really live.

This book is written for the person who wants to live their life in the best way possible.

It is not for the faint of heart, it is for those who have a heart or a great desire to develop one.


5-0 out of 5 stars Words of Wisdom
Another collection of wisdom from the great minds, reminds me of Meditations, Enchiridion, Worldly Wisdom, etc.

5-0 out of 5 stars Excellent book, great service!
I have enjoyed reading this book and how it is organized.The ideas expressed are thought provoking, insigthful, and powerful even if I don't agree with some of them.Am on my second reading of this book.Service was great and recieved the book well ahead of deadlines.


5-0 out of 5 stars A priceless book that everyone should have
Of all the books I've owned, this is becoming my most loved.It's meant to be used on a daily basis (one page per day, with several related ideas), over & over again, year after year. Tolstoy gathered quotes & insights from a wide range of wise people, including himself.If you take the time to really think about each day's ideas, you'll be enriching your life till the day you die. I leave it open (with a rubber band) to make it easier to catch each day's wisdom.It's a simple book, but in no way shallow or cutesy.Buy a copy for everyone you love that you think will use it. ... Read more

10. Resurrection (Penguin Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 608 Pages (2009-10-27)
list price: US$16.00 -- used & new: US$8.85
(price subject to change: see help)
Asin: 0140424636
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Two irresistibly intimate masterworks by one of Russia's greatest writers

Published here in a marvelous new translation, Resurrection tells the story of a Russian nobleman who comes face to face with the sins of his past. When Prince Nekhlyudov serves on a jury at the trial of a prostitute arrested for murder, he is horrified to discover that the accused is a woman he had once seduced and abandoned. His guilt at the central role he played in her ruin soon leads him on a quest for forgiveness as he follows her into the prisons of Siberia. Conceived on an epic scale, this novel is both a trenchant denunciation of government, aristocracy, the judicial system, and the Church as well as a highly personal statement of Tolstoy's belief in human redemption and spiritual development. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (34)

4-0 out of 5 stars An interesting read
I enjoyed this book. If you can bear with Tolstoy's socialist ideaology you might too. He presents a very captivating moral scenario and, as always, displays incredible insight into human motives and behaviors. The story is not nearly so long as Anna Karenina, but every bit as fascinating. Here Tolstoy presents a unique story with wonderful sensitivity to the human condition.

5-0 out of 5 stars Captivating
One of the greatest stories I have ever read.Had to force myself to put it down.You can't wait to get to the next chapter.

4-0 out of 5 stars Power of book's message overcomes its lopsidedness
If you like old literature and you like smart-alec counter-culturalism, this book is in your wheelhouse. Tolstoy sees evil at work in all traditional organizations (army, church, courts, police, legislators, etc.) of his day (late 1800s Russia). The great majority of those involved in those organizations are depicted as corrupt and self-seeking.And Tolstoy makes many of the prisoners (in the book) to be saints. I definitely think that Tolstoy is unfairly 'stacking the deck' in order to make his points. Many parts of this book are no more than fictionalized essays (presented by Tolstoy as the narrator or presented by the protagonist Nekhlydov) and the plot is thin for a 500 page book. Also, the protagonist's religious faith is unique (a combination of secular humanism and Christian moralism) and I would like to see a clearer detailing of the nature of the protagonist's religious faith.

But this book resonates heavily with me when Tolstoy exalts basic principles (unconditional love, abounding forgiveness, examination of conscience, thoughtful consideration of others, finding fault in oneself before finding fault in other persons) for an improved society that I totally agree with. I can totally relate with the protagonist's misgivings with his culture and his own behavior. I admire the protagonist's bold actions in living out his beliefs. But the more that this book strays from the 'personal' and delves into the 'societal', the less powerful the book is for me.

4-0 out of 5 stars Profound view of one character's metamorphosis, Resurrection an overlooked classic
Resurrection doesn't have the fanfare that War and Peace or Anna Karenina share, but I felt it was more enjoyable than those literary classics. Some feel, and with good reason, that this novel becomes a bit too preachy about government and the Church, and at certain points Tolstoy does obviously have an agenda. However, focusing strictly on the plot in terms of the main protagonist's character change, and the new insight he comes to terms with from beginning to end, it has traces of a sort of coming of age for Prince Nekhlyudov, who changes when he becomes cognizant of the prison-based life some lead. Perhaps this book's title is a bit misleading, because the Prince's character evolvement has more to do with his newly formed morality, less to do with being reborn in a religious sense. Character change and atoning for one's past sins seems to be the novel's main crux, and Tolstoy is masterful at presenting this.

In Leo Tolstoy's Resurrection, a man who is serving on a jury is shocked to see that a girl he had relations with but then abandoned is on trial for a murder. Prince Nekhlyudov reflects that he must have in some way been the young lady's undoing, as she is now a prostitute and in these dire circumstances, and makes a compact within himself to atone in some way for leaving her.

Ironically, it is an error in the verdict that causes Katusha, the woman who the Prince knew, to be sent to Siberia for labor camps once she is found guilty, and the Prince makes it his goal to do whatever it takes to get her sentence reversed. When the Prince initially begins to visit Katusha, not only is he repulsed by the degrading and base conditions within the prison system, but he comes to a sense of disgust of his former luxurious lifestyle. He finds that common people are being locked up for simple, petty infractions, and takes on the responsibility to try to not only change what he can about himself, but the innocents' injustice. He is not without fault; in fact, most if not all of the novel he is tempted by his former self. There is a sense of hopelessness in the path the Prince journeys, and Tolstoy captures the Prince's difficulty in completing his mission: "...Nekhlyudov told the coachman to drive to the prison and then seated himself alone in his own vehicle and, with a heavy sense of having to fulfill an unpleasant duty, followed them over the soft snow..."

Still, what makes Tolstoy's Resurrection embody a remarkable parable is the notion that change exists within each of us, even though we must pay some price towards it. The Prince reveals to Katusha that he is willing to marry her once she is freed; he also makes arrangements to give away portions of his lands to his servants as a part of his new identity, this despite protests from his sister and her husband. In many respects, he makes a sacrifice, though in his own mind he is only doing what he should do to make up for Katusha's predicament.

Resurrection is definitely an overlooked classic from Tolstoy.

5-0 out of 5 stars "As it had been in the past, so it was now."
This was a book that moved me quite a bit and was a very timely read in terms of things that I have been considering lately in my own life. As a result, I may like it better than it actually deserves. Or I may not. I thought that it was brilliant, honestly. But I see that many find it wanting next to the more thickly plotted Anna Karenina or War and Peace.

Resurrection is a layered look at the concepts of atonement, amends, and forgiveness. The story is fairly simple in its lines. Prince Nekhlyudov is a weak but well-meaning nobleman who has lost his early ideals in the excitement and practicality of his every day life. As the book opens, he is serving his jury duty when he realizes with horror that one of the women on trial for robbery and murder was a serving girl (Maslova) who he had once seduced and abandoned. It is clear from the chance meeting that after he was done with her, she fell into a life of prostitution and poverty. In response to her situation and in his great dismay, Nekhlyudov quickly compounds his one great mistake with a second. In sorrow and regret, he decides that he will dedicate his life to making amends to Maslova.

What Prince Nekhlyudov discovers is that atonement is nothing so simple as mending the personal situation. His self-examination leads him to criticize the system that left him with the ability to so simply ruin a woman's life. Class, religion, money, land, power, gender, politics, enfranchisement, punishment, rehabilitation, security, rights-- he cannot adequately treat with her without questioning every aspect of his person and society.

I talked about this book in someone else's blog before I read had read enough of it to really comment. At that point, I thought that the book was going to be about the impossibility of amends. Maslova is quite scornful of Nekhlyudov initially. She accuses him of using her for her body in his youth and for his salvation in his middle age. She asserts that what he had done cannot be undone, and she is inevitably correct.

If I had read further, I would have realized that Tolstoy's point does not end with the impossibility of amends. Atonement may well be impossible, but it is also-- this text argues-- essential. Nekhlyodov realizes that she is right, he cannot undo his damage, but he doggedly tries and follows the path where it may go-- even as it leads him away from everything that he has ever understood. At the end of the book, he has not (of course) managed to return Maslova to any kind of pristine state. But he has found a thread of meaning that allows his own resurrection. Moreover, he submits himself to her to allow her to choose her own destiny (within the available choices).

The book never flinches from the complication of its characters. Prince Nekhlyudov is not perfect. His path is not smooth. Maslova is not a saint. They both have and retain their flaws. I also find that while the book is deeply concerned with issues of ethics and morality, it doesn't preach. Even the ending which features a meditation on the Christian commandments feels more like the natural conclusion of his personal journey than anything forced.

Very highly recommended. A great note for me on which to end the 2008 reading year. ... Read more

11. Walk in the Light and Twenty-Three Tales
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 351 Pages (2003-11)
list price: US$20.00 -- used & new: US$12.25
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Asin: 1570754608
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Uncluttered by the complexities of plot and characterthat daunt so many readers of the longer Russian masterpieces,Tolstoy's tales illumine eternal truths with the forcefulbrevity. While inspired by the sense of spiritual certainty, theirnarrative quality, subtle humor, and visionary power lift them farabove the common run of "religious" literature. Moralists purport totell us what our lives should mean, and how we should livethem. Tolstoy, on the other hand, has an uncanny gift for simplyconveying what it means to be truly alive. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (17)

5-0 out of 5 stars His emerging truth
These stories are good if you see this great writer as a man in transition of thought. He was unique in his individual passage out of Orthodoxy. I wanted to see what he wrote after his two big novels, said by many to be the best novels ever written. I lived in Russia six years and am still involved in Russian business after seventeen years. It takes a long time to understand the great Russian writers (or Russians in general,) and Tolstoy is one of the hardest to understand. A Russian saying is "Born Russian, born Orthodox," but Tolstoy rejected that, saying the "the Kingdom of God is within you" rather than behind the iconostasis in one of those beautiful but confining churches. He was excommunicated in 1905 for preaching his brand of freedom--the date of the first great Russian revolution. These stories, in simple forms, express his individuality. I love the children's book "Three Questions" by Jon Muth based on Tolstoy's short story in this collection. I gave "Walk in the Light and Twenty-Three Tales" to a 10-year old Russian girl in Los Angeles. She read it in three days after school and could discuss every part of it. You have to consider the author's evolving frame-of-mind, the atmoshere of approaching revolution. He recognized God as Love, an understanding that permeates Jesus' healing mission and carried on for years until, as Tolstoy points out, the priests took over. Subtly or not, that is what seeps though his tales. Enjoy.

Frederick R. Andresen, Author of "Walking on Ice, An American Businessman in Russia."

3-0 out of 5 stars This volume contains one bad tale
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina and is considered to be one of the greatest novelists. He also wrote short stories. Walk in the Light contains a novella called Walk in the Light While There Is Light, with a subtitle A Story of Early Christian Times. The title is in the Hebrew Bible and the New Testament. Isaiah 2:5 states: "Come house of Jacob, and let us walk in the light of the Lord." I John 1:7 reads: "But if we walk in the light, as he is the light, we have fellowship one with another."
Readers of this tale and some of the other short stories in this volume need to know something about Tolstoy's mindset, specifically his view of Christianity, in order to understand what he is saying and why he said it. While Walk in the Light has twenty three other short stories, we will focus our attention on the captioned novella.
Tolstoy had a spiritual crisis when he was fifty years old, around 1878. The novella was composed in 1893, after he resolved the crisis. In his The Gospel in Brief and other writings, Tolstoy tells how he became convinced that Jesus' teachings were perverted by the people who transmitted them. The ideas that were presented were wrong for, among other things, Jesus was not involved with unnatural miracles. Tolstoy felt that he understood the true concept of Christianity.
Tolstoy believed that God, who he called "the infinite source of being," is not involved in current human affairs. This "source of being" created everything out of love.
Jesus was not God; he was as human as other people. He was different only because he understood that everything that the infinite source created was created with love. Therefore, he also understood that if people want to relate to the source, God, as they should, they can only do so by being like God, showing love to all people.
Walk in the Light is Tolstoy's dramatization of what he considers the proper Christian way of thinking. It is a very shallow tale and a disappointment. There are essentially two characters in what is basically a parable, a homily, a sermon. The Christian, Pamphilius, is portrayed as a meek, passive, uneducated and unsophisticated man totally uninterested in improving himself or society. Pamphillius' name is Greek and means "beloved of all." Tolstoy probably assigned him this name because Pamphilius' life goal was love. The name is unintentionally ironic because Pamphillius despised everything related to Greek culture.
Pamphillius has a friend named Julian. This name is appropriate. It reminds the reader of the Roman emperor with this name who lived between 331 and 363 C.E. and was viciously opposed to Christianity.
The two friends grew up together in Tarsus, in the south of modern Turkey, about a hundred years after the onset of Christianity. Julian is the son of a rich merchant and Pamphillius of a freed slave. Julian's father pays for Pamphillius to attend school with his son, but Pamphillius leaves school before completing his education to live the life of a Christian.
Julian continues his education and after a period of sowing his oats, settles down, marries, has children, and becomes a successful merchant after his father's death. Although successful, he is not altogether satisfied with his life; he feels that something is lacking. He meets Pamphillius by chance several times and the two discuss the teachings of Christianity.
Does Pamphilius have any concern about the future of the universe? Remarkably, Tolstoy answers "No." Pamphillius tells Julian:
It is true that we do not set ourselves the aim of continuing the human race, and
do not make it our concern in the way I have heard your philosophers speak of it.
We suppose that our Father has already provided for that. Our aim is simply to
live in accord with His will.
What about marriage? Since love is paramount among Pamphilius' group, one would think that marital love should be emphasized. It isn't. The group is so concerned about the problems of lust, that they make their wives ugly to diminish their love for them and make their relationship no higher than the love between a bother and his sister. Thus, while a zealot today may insist that his wife wear a veil and disfiguring clothes to disguise her beauty from others, Pamphilius does so to hide her beauty from himself.
(O)ur law reveals to us that every lustful look at a woman is a sin, and so we andour women, instead of adorning ourselves to stimulate desire, try to avoid it that the feeling of love between us between brothers and sisters, may be stronger than the feeling of desire for a woman which you call love.
Pamphilius tells Julian that he seeks happiness; but while Julian wants honor and wealth, he finds happiness in "submissiveness...in giving everything up."
Julian criticizes his friend, saying in essence that while he is segregating himself from society and despises Roman laws and its army, he is taking advantage of the many benefits that society provides. The Roman law and army is protecting him and assuring that he can live in peace. Additionally, he despises the concept of private property, but takes advantage of what people provide him and sells objects that he owns.
Julian points out that the Christians believe that if people do not "quarrel, nor yield to lust, nor take oaths, nor do violence, nor take arms against another nation" they "will be happy." But, he argues, they miss the point, it is the government and laws that assures, or at least tries to assure that people do these things. But the Christians, by removing themselves from the law "under the pretext of living a better life, destroy all that has improved or does improve it." What would happen to society, Julian asks, if everyone would "run away?"
Furthermore, one of the primary duties of parents is to educate their children so that they can be successful in life, which they neglect. "You must train them to be worthy servants of their country." Instead of teaching the children how to improve themselves, they teach them to be withdrawn and passive to "accept either fate (life and death) with equal indifference."
Pamphilius' answer does not persuade his friend, "we live in the light and therefore our life does not depend on the body."
What was it that caused Julian to accept Pamphilius' life"? Here lies the weakest part of Tolstoy's tale. After rejecting Christianity all of his life, Julian is now old. His wife is now dead. His son is cheating him of his money. He has lost his influence in town and the officials in Rome refuse to help him. He feels totally alone. His depression led him to Pamphilius.
In his introduction to Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy, which does not contain this novella, John Bayley writes: "It is a mistake to regard the writings of Leo Tolstoy too much in the light of a sage's personal utterances rather than as works of art." Certainly this is true as a general statement. However, Walk in the Light is best understood as Tolstoy's attempt to put flesh on the bare bones of his notion of Christianity.
Everyone has a right to believe as he or she feels fit. Tolstoy is no exception. He thought hard after a long period of struggle and developed a concept of Christianity that many feel makes sense. His views should be respected, but this novella fails to do his views justice. The story does not depict Pamphilius' ideas well and it offers a very weak reason for Julian to accept his way of life.
Boomer Books released the Twenty-Three Tales by the same translators in 2006, but they deleted Walk in the Light. These twenty-three tales are excellent. Why? Because they do not focus on Tolstoy's ideas about Christianity, but about proper behavior: that people should help one another. While all of these twenty-three tales focus on the proper Christian life, it is interesting to note that all religions have versions of these stories. They simply have their own superior being motivate the proper behavior.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short to read, long to think about
This is a book of very short stories (except for the first one, which is 60 pages or so).Each of them has a point to make about morality or Tolstoy's brand of Christianity.Some of my favorites were "The Three Questions," in which a king tries to figure out the most important time, the most important people, and the most important actions, and "Where Love Is, God Is," which gives an example of the "Whatever you did to the least of these" passage in Matthew 25."The Imp and the Crust" was another interesting story, about how a devilish imp gets an honest farmer to sin is to increase his harvests.

The stories are generally short and simple ways of illustrating an idea.They're not what you'd call great, complex literature, but I enjoyed the depth behind them.They aren't stories you read and forget about-- several of them give you something to think about even after you set the book down.

1-0 out of 5 stars Not tor children; not Tolstoy's better stories, work.
Clearly these stories are not appropriate for children, despite the claim of the book. No way to get that claim out, but I would not be reading these stories to my children or allowing my children to read this book. Even at my ripe old age of 71, I cannot fathom the author's intention for young people to read this collection.

5-0 out of 5 stars wonderful book
I was already a huge fan of Leo Tolstoy: reading Resurrection (my favorite book), The Kingdom of God is Within You, A Confession, Gospel in Brief, and Great Short Stories. This book is also incredible and full of more light-hearted and inspiration stories. They are simple and carry much moral and theological depth to them. It seems that they would be perfect for children and adults alike: for any of those who wish to see the Gospel message in the light of service towards fellow man and God in love. ... Read more

12. Tolstoy
by Henri Troyat
Paperback: 896 Pages (2001-03-30)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$8.98
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Asin: 0802137687
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Leo Tolstoy embodies the most extraordinary contradictions. He was a wealthy aristocrat who preached the virtues of poverty and the peasant life, a misogynist who wrote Anna Karenina, and a supreme writer who declared, "Literature is rubbish." From Tolstoy's famously bad marriage to his enormously successful career, Troyat presents a brilliant portrait that reads like an epic novel written by Tolstoy himself. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (11)

Henri Troyat

(Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1967)
(New York: Crown, 1980; paperback) 762 pages
(ISBN: 0374980101)

A biography of Leo Tolstoy, exploring the many passionate causes
he espoused during his long life:
the quest for religious truth,
the education of the peasants on his estate,
love and hate for those closest to him.
Tolstoy clearly poured himself into his writings.
Whether or not we agree with his conclusions,
we can admire him as a man who sought his own Authenticity
even when this led him to go decisively against
the expectations of his peers and his culture.

Some other biographies of persons in quest of greater Authenticity
will be found on the Internet: "Authencity Bibliography".

James Leonard Park, existential philosopher

5-0 out of 5 stars A masterpiece in both scope and detail.........
Henri Troyat has done a superb job of crafting the life story of Leo Tolstoy into something which almost reads as a novel, a page-turner in its own right. The intimacy with which he thoroughly knows of and understands Leo Tolstoy's life and his works is nothing short of remarkable, and this is a biography I would be surprised at seeing bettered any time down the road. Tolstoy is on view for all to see, from his world-renowned works, to personal letters written to close acquaintances, to his own personal diary, Troyat makes use of every available resource to give us an up close and personal view of Tolstoy's life.The research done in comprising this most thorough work of Tolstoy's life is simply astonishing.Troyat has crafted a masterpiece which is fun to read, though admittedly this was made a tad easier as it was biography of Tolstoy's life he had to work with.

Tolstoy is a man of many dichotomies and this is at least partly what makes his life so very interesting. He was one of the greatest writers of all time, yet he despised literature. He inspired a peace movement led by Gandhi, and yet at one time owned peasants (admittedly early on in his life). He wrote of how life should be lived, and yet could not get along with his own wife (and wound up dying in a train station at the age of 82). The life of Leo Tolstoy cannot be summarized in a few short paragraphs, and even if it could, it would be doing a great man a grave injustice. Tolstoy deserves a biography which is comprehensive in depth and contains details not only of his life but also of his works......Troyat has given us this. And throughout this book, Troyat draws comparisons between Tolstoy and characters in his literature, such as the time his brothers dragged him to a brothel at the age of 17, leaving him to feel ashamed afterwards (while in one of his works the character visits a brothel only to cry at the edge of the bed afterwards).Many other examples abound throughout the narrative where Tolstoy writes himself into his works.But the average reader would probably not be able to distinguish when Tolstoy in fact does this without the exceptional work of Henri Troyat.Throughout the book it is all too evident that this was a work which Troyat put his heart and soul into, giving us insight into a great man whose life was so wide-ranging, from his early life in Moscow, to his middle years in the Caucauses, to his later years on Yasnaya Polyana.Tolstoy deserves a biography which is a masterpiece in both scope and detail....and Henri Troyat has provided this magnificently.

5 stars. One of the best biographies I have ever read.

5-0 out of 5 stars The book tells the story, but the mystery remains
Troyat is thorough and comprehensive in telling Tolstoy's story from childhood through youth and into the great creative mature years and the decline and old age. He writes with great knowledge of the complex Tolstoy of innumerable paradoxes and contradictions. Tolstoy is arguably the greatest novelist of all time and yet at times he despises mere literature. Tolstoy aims to be humble and yet cannot abide the literature of Shakespeare because there is the chance that Shakespeare might be greater than Tolstoy. Tolstoy loves and admires his wife and has a large family with her yet comes to despise her and betray her . Tolstoy preaches celibacy and yet indulges himself with peasant women he owns and exploits. Tolstoy in Isaiah Berlin's concept aims to be the hedgehog who understands all reality as one great system and yet is truly a fox in his remarkable observations and understanding of nature and society. Tolstoy is a raw awkward bear of a character who nonetheless develops into a sincere and mature responsible citizen and landholder. Tolstoy is the man of wealth who sits and works with the peasants and would give everything to them. Troyat portrays the contradictions and has the narrative power to sweep us along in telling the story of this giant of world literature. Surely one clue to the endless search for meaning is his loss of his mother when he is two. But every explanation falls short , and it is difficult to make full sense of this remarkable mixture of greatness and difficulty, of wisdom and idiocy , of genius and simple human stupidity , of love and indifference to those he is closest to , which is Tolstoy.
The book tells the story but the mystery remains, as is perhaps true with the life of every person , great or not.

5-0 out of 5 stars tolstoy reader
an excellent informative book about tolstoy
most fascinating is his relationship described with Turgenev, doestevosky and later chekov. the ending is a cruel one to him as he describes feeling like a hypocrit as ghandi reads his works as his family fights over the spoils of his estate.

4-0 out of 5 stars Enlightening!
This book is very informative yet reads as lively as a Tolstoy novel. Reading this before, during, or after you read "War and Peace" is very enlightening. Interesting the fact that the author of "War and Peace" struggled with history in school and exclaimed that history was "nothing but a heap of myths and useless, trivial details, sprinkled with dates and names". Other wisdoms include "Bronchitis is an imaginary disease! Bronchitis is a metal!" Highly entertaining. I had to deduct one star due to the fact that there is not one picture in this biography which I find quite odd. ... Read more

13. Leo Tolstoy (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
Hardcover: 254 Pages (2003-05)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$40.50
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Asin: 0791074447
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Tolstoy's quest for truth transcended his roles as a philosopher, soldier, proprietor, and devoted family man. He approached his writing with a conviction that truth can be found and must be embraced. This volume studies Tolstoy extensively, including his War and Peace, Resurrection, and Family Happiness.

This title, Leo Tolstoy, part of Chelsea House Publishers’ Modern Critical Views series, examines the major works of Leo Tolstoy through full-length critical essays by expert literary critics. In addition, this title features a short biography on Leo Tolstoy, a chronology of the author’s life, and an introductory essay written by Harold Bloom, Sterling Professor of the Humanities, Yale University. ... Read more

14. Anna Karenina
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 566 Pages (2009-01-01)
list price: US$15.99 -- used & new: US$14.38
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Asin: 142093354X
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Perhaps one of the greatest novels ever written, "Anna Karenina" follows the self-destructive path of a beautiful, popular, and sensual Russian aristocrat. The lovely Anna seems set in a respectable marriage with the powerful statesman Karenin, yet their lack of passion breeds the discontent she fully faces upon meeting the elegant and affluent officer Count Vronsky. Soon convinced that allowing herself to deeply love this man will enable her to find the meaning and truth of her life, Anna defies the conventions of Russian society and leaves her husband and children for her lover. Tolstoy juxtaposes this ill-fated couple with the melancholy Levin and his new wife Kitty. Levin is also searching for the fulfillment and happiness in his life, and he ultimately finds a happiness that Anna's love does not. A portrait of marriage and infidelity in imperial Russia, "Anna Karenina" explores love, life, and the depths of the human soul in a tale as illuminating as it is tragic. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (2)

5-0 out of 5 stars Anna Karenina is not about Anna Karenina

Even though she is one of the main characters and was given the title by the author, Leo Tolstoy, Anna is not the focus of this novel. The epic is really about Konstantin Levin, a character whose story is told interspersed with that of Anna's, and who represents the author during his trials of spiritual disbelief and eventual reconciliation.

It is no wonder why so many prefer to see the book as Anna's. She is much more interesting than Levin: She is rebellious, passionate, and has an affair, whereas Levin is generally straight-laced, ambivalent, and is willing to struggle through any troubles he has with his only love and wife, Kitty. Levin is a Victorian Russian; Anna seems Post-Modern American.

People love her story because it is so modern, because they can relate. But for folks like me, hearing all the Anna-saturated descriptions of the book presented it in a negative light. I don't want to read about a promiscuous, self-destructive person, and how the evil society looks down on the poor creature. I wouldn't have pity on her if I were in the Moscow society in the 1870s either. For this reason I was skeptical of reading the masterpiece.

As I began to delve into it, however, I realized that Anna was just used as a contrast to the real storyline of Levin's. He might be considered bland for his proper behavior, but he is principled (evidenced by his respect for Kitty and care of his farm), and despite some serious doubt and disbelief, he is a character that the reader can get behind and support, quite unlike Anna, who we all know is hopeless.

To reference a more modern explanation of Tolstoy's juxtaposition, Anna represents false justification as compared to Levin's true justification; Anna's love is a fleeting and dishonest, while Levin's is lasting and honest; and that is why one can cheer for Levin. His is true love; hers is artificial.

Everyone knows what happens at the end of the book. As such, it would seem that Anna Karenina is a tragedy. And I cannot deny that Anna's death is as cathartic as I imagined it could be. But the book does not end there. There is one more part to the epic, and it is as searching and finally rewarding as any literature in all of history. It truly is the greatest novel ever written, but it is Levin's not Anna's story that makes this work so amazing.

5-0 out of 5 stars The Kindle edition is NOT the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation
For those of you that have a Kindle and are wanting to purchase the new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of this wonderful novel, DO NOT download this edition, no matter what the synopsis says. I downloaded the sample on my Kindle and compared it to the print edition and found that they were completely different.

... Read more

15. Fruits of Culture
by Leo Tolstoy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2009-10-04)
list price: US$1.99
Asin: B002RKR32Y
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This book was converted from its physical edition to the digital format by a community of volunteers. You may find it for free on the web. Purchase of the Kindle edition includes wireless delivery. ... Read more

16. The Light Shines In Darkness
by Leo Tolstoy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-08)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B003YUCAH4
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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A play written by Leo Tolstoy. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An interesting analysis in story form of the truth of Christianity
In this play in five unfinished acts, Tolstoy portrays the generally negative reactions of a man's family and friends to views that Tolstoy himself advocated. The man, Nicholas, rejects the notion that Christianity should be based upon blind faith and insists that religion must be rational. He feels that people should love one another, that this is the true basic message of Christianity, and therefore people should not volunteer for military service where people kill one another. He also contends that land belongs to everyone and that he must give up the thousands of acres that he owns to the peasants, leaving himself only the bare necessities for life. He knows the light that is shinning in the darkness of the world.
Nicholas agues with a priest about Christianity. He contends that the Church has perverted Christianity and is responsible for developing notions that are destroying the truth of Christianity. Contrary to the contentions of the Church, the Church does not preserve the truth. He shows the priest contradictions in the Bible that cannot be reconciled. He argues that the insistence of the Church upon certain ceremonies has divided Christianity into many groups, each with their own sacraments. He insists that humans are responsible for themselves and a Church should not think that it has a duty to direct and control human behavior. The priest agrees with Nicholas that what Nicholas says is reasonable, but insists that a Christian must accept Church doctrine based on faith.
Nicholas feels certain that once he explains about the military and about the rights of all people to all land, his wife will see the reasonableness of his position. She does not. She feels that he wants to deprive his future son-in-law of a military life, the life he desires, the life that will give him joy and a livelihood, and the happiness of their daughter. She is shocked when she hears that he wants to give away his property and leave them in near penury. She asks a more senior priest to come and reeducate Nicholas. The priest comes and there is an interesting debate, with the priest constantly calling Nicholas "prideful," as if this explained his behavior.
The play's final acts dramatize the adverse effects that Nicholas' teachings have upon some people who accepted and acted upon them and the way that these ideas destroy Nicholas.
... Read more

17. Master And Man
by Leo Tolstoy
Kindle Edition: Pages (2010-08-02)
list price: US$0.99
Asin: B003Y74I0O
Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Master and Man is a short story by Leo Tolstoy (1895).

In this short story, a land owner named Vasili Andreevich Brekhunov takes along one of his peasants, Nikita, for a short journey to the house of the owner of a forest. He is impatient and wishes to get to the town more quickly 'for business' (purchasing the forest before other contenders can get there). They find themselves in the middle of a blizzard, but the master in his avarice wishes to press on. They eventually get lost off the road and they try to camp. The master's peasant soon finds himself about to die from hypothermia. After leaving his peasant to die, and returning to the same place he had fled from, the master attains a spiritual/moral revelation, and Tolstoy once again repeats one of his famous themes: that the only true happiness in life is found by living for others. The master then lies on top of the peasant to keep him warm through the cold night. Vasili is too exposed to the cold though and dies. Nikita's life is saved, but he loses some of his toes to frostbite. -- from Wikipedia ... Read more

Customer Reviews (7)

5-0 out of 5 stars A thought provoking classic
Ayn Rand, in her The Art of Fiction, called Tolstoy "the archetype of a naturalist," a writer who describes events, but offers "only one layer of motivation." The writer who is "romantic" is better. He looks "not only at the immediate onion skin, but (examines motivation) as deep as the author can go." Other critiques disagree and consider Tolstoy one of the world's greatest writers. They may think that Tolstoy does not delve deep into character, but they do not see this as a negative. Despite her critique, Ayn Rand would probably agree that Man and Master is a very interesting short novel.
While its title indicates that the tale concerns two people, actually there is a third, the master's horse. The master thinks that he far smarter than his servant and nearly everyone else, including his wife. He cheats everybody, thinking they do not understand what he is doing, but he only succeeds because he is the master, not because of his wit. He takes his servant with him to buy land and cheat the seller, but gets lost several times because he thinks he knows directions. Actually the servant knows more than he does and the horse knows more than both of them.
Readers will leave the tale, as they leave all well-written stories, with many questions and their own answers. This is how good literature should excite us. What did the master learn from this experience? Did it really change his behavior and his attitude to life and to people and to money? And what about the peasant, was his life pathetic? Did the fact that he always had a good and happy reaction to everything make his life less pathetic? Is Tolstoy's portrayal of the three beings only a superficial glance at an onion skin or is the story multi layered and quite thought provoking?Does a writer have to point out everything, or are we expected to see some things ourselves?

3-0 out of 5 stars Not quite classic Tolstoy?
I know that Tolstoy was a genius and a talented author. However, this story seemedquite bland to me and I found that it never really "grabbed" me in a way that could be comparable to "War and Peace".

5-0 out of 5 stars Simply Superb: It Contains Two Great Tolstoy Stories Plus One Not as Great
This is a good three story collection with an introduction by Paul Foote.

Tolstoy is recognized as one of the leading writer of novels, and he was a leading Russian writer of the 19th century. He wrote three monumental works including War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and the novella The Death of Ivan Ilych." Two were written by Tolstoy at his peak around 1865 to 1980, and Ilych was written in 1886 before Tolstoy started to lose his interest in fiction.

This is a collection of three stories that were all written at the end of Tolstoy's career, all written after 1890 when he was making the transition to non-fiction polemics. Only one of the three stories was published during Tolstoy's lifetime and that was Master and Man.

The first story in the book is Father Sergius, and it was written between 1890 and 1898. It is brilliant and ambitious. It is a story about a priest who dedicates his life to religion and purity. He lives in isolation and commits his life to God, and the story is about his search for truth. Unfortunately, he is still attracted to women, and that attraction or sexual passion frightens him and the story describes how he deals with that struggle to overcome his moral shortcomings or temptations. This was a favorite story of Tolstoy.

The second story, Master and Man, is simply superb. It is about two men on a trip by a horse drawn sleigh through the winter snows near a small village. They get caught in a blizzard while on a simple business trip. It was published in 1895, and is among the finest short stories ever written. It contains many signature elements of Tolstoy's writings including detailed descriptions of the Russian characters in a rural setting: "man, society, and nature" as described by Foote.

The last is Hadji Murat, written between 1896 to 1904. It follows earlier books on the southern wars including The Raid (1835), Wood-Felling (1855), and The Cossacks (1863). It is based on real events and lacks a strong central protagonist, and that is the weakness of the story. I was not excited by this novel and prefer Tolstoy's The Cossacks which covers a similar subject matter - that is set in southern Russia - but which has strong characters with strong human emotions.

Also, his most important fiction started in the 1860s with the release of The Cossacks in 1863. That story contains emotional elements and descriptions similar to what we read in Anna Karenina." by contrast,Hadji Murat was one of his last fictional works; and, Tolstoy expressed mixed feelings about the novel and its merits. It does rise to the same level as work from his prime.

Overall, this a good buy with two superb stories and one good story. Some of the works are available individually on line free from Gutenberg.

5-0 out of 5 stars Short for Tolsoi, but excellent
For Tolstoi, this qualifies as an "O. Henry surprise-typeending" since you aren't expecting the wealthy merchant to sacrificehis own life for that of his lowly serf. This seems especially true sinceTolstoi gives you several examples throughout the story of how the masterundervalues his loyal servant.

For example, Tolstoi tells you that he isunderpaid even for a serf. Also, his shrewd master always manages tomanipulate and maneuver the servant into buying his goods from him, insteadof from the store in the village, by making it look like he is doing him afavor in the process. This way he can overcharge for everything and therebytakes back what little money he is paying his servant anyway. The servantis well aware of this but is resigned to the situation.

Anotherinteresting thing is how they get into a life-threatening situation in thefirst place. The workaholic merchant decides to press on at night in asevere blizzard, rather than remain safe in a farmhouse they have happenedon in the snow, because he is impatient to get on to his next deal, anddoesn't want to miss out on a possible opportunity.

I thought thetime-obsessed businessman was primarily a late 20th century invention, butnot so. The wealthy landowner and businessman regards even a few lostmoments of time as unacceptable, and so they venture out into the fatalstorm. They get lost in the driving and trackless snow on the way to thenext town.

Tolstoi describes this poignantly. At several points, themaster is certain they have come back to where they started and so are justgoing in circles, but the snow is coming down so hard that the horsecarriage's tracks have already been covered up, and so he can't be sure. Atthat point he realizes the situation is hopeless.

Finally, the masterparks the horse and carriage under a tree and they huddle together and tryto survive until morning.But only the servant survives, his wealthymaster in the end sacrificing his own life for that of his servant, bydeciding to keep his servant warm instead of himself.

5-0 out of 5 stars Very powerful story of humanity
I, too, have to disagree with this 'english class' in their dull-assesment of this story.This must be a very young class of students who haven't experienced enough of human nature to fully appreciate and understand thecomplexity and beauty of the 2 characters in this wonderfully touchingstory.This is the first story that has ever made me weep openly whilereading.The second, also by Tolstoy, was Strider: The Story of a Horse. If you liked Master and Man, you must find this one!That's why I'm heretoday; looking to replace my lost copy. ... Read more

18. The Gospels in Brief
by Leo Tolstoy
Paperback: 232 Pages (2004)
-- used & new: US$15.50
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Asin: 0760757623
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19. Classic Tales and Fables for Children (Literary Classics)
by Leo Tolstoy, Robert Blaisdell
Paperback: 126 Pages (2001-11)
list price: US$15.98 -- used & new: US$8.54
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Asin: 1573929395
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Editorial Review

Product Description
Renowned Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) had an abiding interest in children and children's literature.He started a school for peasant children on his family's estate, and later founded another, experimental school with the motto, "Come when you like, leave when you like."

Fascinated by the simple charm and fresh innocence with which the children of his schools told stories, Tolstoy began writing about his own childhood, emulating the uncomplicated narrative style and disarming directness of the tales told by the children of his acquaintance.After completing WAR AND PEACE, he incorporated these stories in a series of easy readers.Known as THE ABC BOOK (Azbuka) and THE NEW ABC BOOK (Novaia Azbuka), these marvelous readers were widely adopted in Russia and were still in use in the Soviet era.

The tales and fables in this charmingly illustrated volume come mainly from these two well-loved primers.Part 1 consists of stories about Tolstoy's own childhood, all told with beautiful simplicity.Part 2 contains Tolstoy's free adaptations of fables from Aesop and from Hindu tradition.Part 3 is devoted solely to his longest and most famous children's work, the fairy tale "Ivan the Fool and His Two Brothers."

Never patronizing and often humorous, these small gems reveal Tolstoy's deep appreciation for and understanding of children's artistic and moral sensibilities. ... Read more

20. Brief Lives: Leo Tolstoy
by Anthony Briggs
Paperback: 119 Pages (2010-04-01)
list price: US$15.95 -- used & new: US$7.09
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Asin: 1843919117
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

Product Description

Born in central Russia in 1828, Tolstoy saw action as a soldier before becoming a writer. His two novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are among the best loved in world literature. Anthony Briggs compares these works and describes many others. He also considers why such a strong character as Tolstoy welcomed into his life two appalling individuals whose malign influence changed him and his literary career forever.

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Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful and informative; great stuff on early writing life
This is the second Russian author featured in this fine series of compact biographies by Hesperus. The first was Pushkin, which we reviewed previously.

This new volume is equally thoughtful and informative, the chapters reading like the sorts of lectures on literature you wish you could attend in your hometown: easy to follow yet surprisingly deep. Of particular interest are the chapters looking at Tolstoy's lesser known works, that unfortunately tend to get overshadowed by his later masterpieces.

As reviewed in Russian Life magazine. ... Read more

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