By Jeff Love
Count Leo Nikolaevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) is without doubt one of the most vital writers within the Western culture. His nice novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, hide an important variety of easy human reviews with a precision and probing spirit that, within the phrases of 1 critic, are easily "unmatched through the other writer."
This advisor deals scholars a transparent advent to Tolstoy's literary works from his significant novels to the shorter novels and texts, together with Hadji Murat and The demise of Ivan Ilyich. The advisor additionally covers significant subject matters together with intercourse, demise, authority and evil and gives an outline of Tolstoy's spiritual and philosophical concept. a last bankruptcy assesses his lasting impact within the spheres of literature and tradition, faith and philosophy and on significant figures together with Joyce, Ghandi, Wittgenstein and Heidegger.
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Extra resources for Tolstoy: A Guide for the Perplexed
He does not succeed in doing so, however, and returns to Moscow having realized the utter futility of his efforts. The allegory or generalizing paradigm that emerges from this plot is equally simple: Olenin’s departure for the Caucasus represents the aspiration for a “return to nature,” for a new life freed of the restrictions of deadening social convention in all its many forms; it represents a seeking after the immediate and unconditioned, an attempt to live the world afresh. That this aspiration cannot be fulfilled is the sober conclusion to be deduced from this allegorization of the work.
One could say that the biography is purely of secondary interest. After all, the works first create the interest in the man. But why such an interest? Surely, the usual answer to this question has everything to do with widely held notions of an author’s authority as expressed in the intention that governs the work. By this I mean the proposition that the guide for distinguishing a good from a bad interpretation of the text lies in determining to what extent an interpreter divines the author’s intent and discerns therein the “true” contours of the text upon whose basis one can build an interpretation that has convincingly final authority.
Already by the middle of the nineteenth century the region had acquired a dense texture in the Russian imagination and, especially, in literature. 14 The Caucasus had thus acquired a characteristically romantic identity and function within Russian culture, serving as a privileged other against which to measure the achievements and constrictions of Russian society. Here we encounter a form of Russian orientalism barely distinguishable from that cultivated by the other two great empires of Europe, Britain and France.