The Fruits of Enlightenment, aka Fruits of Culture (1889) is a play by the Russian writer Leo Tolstoy. It satirizes the persistence of unenlightened attitudes towards the peasants amongst the Russian landed aristocracy. In 1891 Constantin Stanislavski achieved success when he directed the play for his Society of Art and Literature organization. Tolstoy created the first, incomplete draft of the play in 1886, along with The Power of Darkness. Three years later, his children and wife persuaded him to complete the manuscript sufficiently for a house performance in Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy initially denied the proposal but quickly took the lead in directing the amateur actors; the cast included twenty six of his children, two nieces, a court prosecutor from Tula and a judge from Moscow. This first performance was held December 30, 1889. According to Sergey Tolstoy, the 1889 play deliberately reflected the realities of Yasnaya Polyana and the neighboring country estates, even using the real names of Tula gentry for the stage characters (these names were replaced with purely fictitious ones later). The first performance washed out the border between imaginary characters and the real personalities playing them, removing the fourth wall between actors and the audience; it was never reproduced in this form ever since. The audience received the play well, and it was reproduced by Tula amateurs, including Tatyana Tolstaya, in April 1890, with the proceeds donated to a local orphanage. The second performance was attended by Maly theatre actor Alexander Yuzhin and independent theatre director Vladimir Nemirovich-Danchenko.
The Power of Darkness (Russian: Власть тьмы, Vlast' t'my) is a five-act drama by Leo Tolstoy. Written in 1886, the play's production was forbidden to be produced in Russia until 1902, mainly through the influence of Konstantin Pobedonostsev. In spite of the ban, the play was unofficially produced and read numerous times. The central character is a peasant, Nikita, who seduces and abandons a young orphan girl Marinka; then the lovely Anisija murders her own husband to marry Nikita. He impregnates his new stepdaughter, then, under his wife's influence, murders the baby. On the day of his stepdaughter's marriage, he surrenders himself and confesses to the police.
The story of a slightly preachy `educated' tramp who's a proclaimed champion of the proletariat. He espouses the virtues of sobriety and the vicissitudes of severe alcoholism giving witness to the immoral actions that one has the potential to undertake while inebriated. Subsequently he becomes such and pilfers from the household of his lodgers. His punishment is just in that the guilt he suffers is befitting.
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 three of his toes to frostbite.
A kind and humble shoemaker called Simon goes out one day to purchase sheep-skins in order to sew a winter coat for his wife and himself to share. Usually the little money, which Simon earned would be spent to feed his wife and children. Simon decided that in order to afford the skins he must go on a collection to receive the five roubles and twenty kopeks owed to him by his customers. As he heads out to collect the money he also borrows a three-rouble note from his wife's money box. While going on his collection he only manages to receive twenty kopeks rather than the full amount. Feeling disheartened by this Simon rashly spends the twenty kopeks on vodka and starts to head back home. On his way home he rants to himself about the little he can do with twenty kopeks besides spend it on alcohol and that the winter cold is bearable without a sheep-skin coat. While approaching a holy shrine, Simon stops and notices something pale looking leaning against it. He peers harder and distinguishes that it is a naked man who appears poor of health. At first he is suspicious and fears that the man has no good intentions if he is left in such a state. He proceeds to pass the man until he feels that for a second the man lifted his head and looked toward him. Simon debates what to do in his mind and feels shameful for his disregard and heads back to help the man.
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.
The central character of the play, Fedor Protasov, is tormented by the belief that his wife Liza has never really chosen between him and the more conventional Victor Karenin, a rival for her hand. He wants to kill himself, but doesn't have the nerve. Running away from his life, he first falls in with Gypsies, and into a sexual relationship with a Gypsy singer, Masha. However, facing Masha's parents' disapproval, he runs away from this life as well. Again he wants to kill himself, but lacks the nerve; again, his descent continues. Meanwhile, his wife, presuming him dead, has married the other man. When Protasov is discovered, she is charged with bigamy, accused of arranging her husband's disappearance. He shows up in court to testify that she had no way of knowing that he was alive; when the judge rules that his wife must either give up her new husband or be exiled to Siberia, Protasov shoots himself. Hysterically, his wife declares that it is Protasov whom she always loved.
The Cossacks (Russian: Казаки [Kazaki]) is a short novel by Leo Tolstoy, published in 1863 in the popular literary magazine The Russian Messenger. It was originally called Young Manhood. Both Ivan Turgenev and the Nobel prize-winning Russian writer Ivan Bunin gave the work great praise, Turgenev calling it his favorite work by Tolstoy. Tolstoy began work on the story in August 1853. In August 1857, after having reread Iliad, he vowed to completely rewrite The Cossacks. In February 1862, after having lost badly at cards he finished the novel to help pay his debts. The novel was published in 1863, the same year his first child was born.
a comedy by Tolstoy in six acts. An imp is assigned by the chief devil to draw Russian peasants from God and capture them for the devil. This imp is unsuccessful but other imps are victorious, such as those assigned to bedevil lawyers and married women, especially the latter. The chief devil is very angry at the imp who promises that he will find a way to ensnare the peasants. The imp disguises itself as a laborer and helps a peasant plant and harvest enormous amounts of grain. The peasant does not know what to do with the abundance and the imp shows him how to distill the grain into alcohol. As readers could foresee, the idea of distilled alcohol soon becomes rampant among the peasants from that day until the time Tolstoy wrote this comedy, and the drunken peasants are captured by the devil.