The Journal of Leo Tolstoi 1895~1899 (Abridged)

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 Originally published immediately after the Russian revolution, this translation of Tolstoy's 1895-1899 journals is remarkable for what it captures of both the time and the man. 
In it, he wrestles with God, the nature of consciousness, love, marriage, religion, socialism, writing, and the nature of reality. 

"Now I am an ordinary man, L. N. (Tolstoi), and animal, and now I am the messenger of God. I am all the time the same man." 

"There is no greater prop for a selfish, peaceful life, than the occupation of art for art’s sake." 

Nearing 70, he was also struggling with his health and frequent bouts of depression. 

Yet the power of his intellect and his forceful persistence in trying to understand his life come through in nearly every page. Increasingly radical in his thinking, he never fails to fascinate, even while indulging in the very weaknesses he deplores. 

A remarkable document of a remarkable life, this book includes a lengthy introduction, biographical material on Tolstoy, and notes about the writing he was working on in this period. 

For less than you'd spend on gas going to the library, this long out-of-print volume is available as an affordable, well-formatted book for e-readers and smartphones. 

Be sure to LOOK INSIDE by clicking the cover above or download a sample.
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About the author

Tolstoy's life was defined by moral and artistic seeking and by conflict with himself and his surroundings. Of the old nobility, he began by living the usual, dissipated life of a man of his class; however, his inner compulsion for moral self-justification led him in a different direction. In 1851 he became a soldier in the Caucasus and began to publish even while stationed there (Childhood [1852] and other works). Even more significant were his experiences during the Crimean War: the siege of Sevastopol provided the background for his sketches of human behavior in battle in the Sevastopol Stories (1855--56). After the war, Tolstoy mixed for a time with St. Petersburg literary society, traveled extensively abroad, and married Sophia Bers. The couple were happy for a long time, with Countess Tolstoy participating actively in her husband's literary and other endeavors. The center of Tolstoy's life became family, which he celebrated in the final section of War and Peace (1869). In this great novel, he unfolded the stories of several families in Russia during the Napoleonic period and explored the nature of historical causation and of freedom and necessity. A different note emerged in Anna Karenina (1876). Here, too, Tolstoy focused on families but this time emphasized an individual's conflict with society's norms. A period of inner crisis, depression, and thoughts of suicide culminated in Tolstoy's 1879 conversion to a rationalistic form of Christianity in which moral behavior was supremely important. Confession (1882) describes this profound transition. Tolstoy now began to proselytize his new-found faith through fiction, essays, and personal contacts. Between 1880 and 1883, he wrote three major works on religion. A supreme polemicist, he participated in debates on a large number of political and social issues, generally at odds with the government. His advocacy of nonresistance to evil attracted many followers and later had a profound influence on Mahatma Gandhi and, through him, Martin Luther King, Jr. (see Vol. 4). Tolstoy's stature as a writer and public figure was enormous both within Russia and abroad, greater than that of any other Russian writer. When the Orthodox Church excommunicated him in 1901, a cartoon depicted him as disproportionately larger than his ecclesiastical judges. Tolstoy's final years were filled with inner torment: Living as he did on a luxurious estate, he felt himself to be a betrayer of his own teachings. He also suffered from disputes with his wife over the disposition of his property, which she wished to safeguard for their children. In 1910, desperately unhappy, the aged writer left his home at Yasnaya Polyana. He did not get far; he caught pneumonia and died of heart failure at a railway station, an event that was headline news throughout the world. In the course of Tolstoy's career, his art evolved significantly, but it possessed a certain underlying unity. From the beginning, he concentrated on the inner life of human beings, though the manner of his analysis changed. The body of his writing is enormous, encompassing both fiction and a vast amount of theoretical and polemical material. Besides his three great novels---War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and Resurrection (1899)---he wrote many superb shorter works. Among these, The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886) stands out as a literary masterpiece and fine philosophical text, while the short novel Hadji Murat (1904), set in the Caucasus and Russia during the reign of Nicholas I, is a gem of narration and plot construction. Tolstoy has been translated extensively. The Louise and Aylmer Maude and Constance Garnett translations are institutions (for many works, the only versions available) and are used by different publishers, sometimes in modernized versions. New translations by Rosemary Edmonds, David Magarshack, and Ann Dunigan are also justifiably popular.

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Published on
Feb 2, 2016
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History / Europe / Russia & the Former Soviet Union
Literary Collections / Diaries & Journals
Literary Collections / Russian & Former Soviet Union
Literary Criticism / Comparative Literature
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Leo Tolstoy

by Leo Tolstoy

BOOK ONE: 1805


"Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the

Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don't tell me that this means war,

if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by

that Antichrist- I really believe he is Antichrist- I will have

nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer

my 'faithful slave,' as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see

I have frightened you- sit down and tell me all the news."

It was in July, 1805, and the speaker was the well-known Anna

Pavlovna Scherer, maid of honor and favorite of the Empress Marya

Fedorovna. With these words she greeted Prince Vasili Kuragin, a man

of high rank and importance, who was the first to arrive at her

reception. Anna Pavlovna had had a cough for some days. She was, as

she said, suffering from la grippe; grippe being then a new word in

St. Petersburg, used only by the elite.

All her invitations without exception, written in French, and

delivered by a scarlet-liveried footman that morning, ran as follows:

"If you have nothing better to do, Count [or Prince], and if the

prospect of spending an evening with a poor invalid is not too

terrible, I shall be very charmed to see you tonight between 7 and 10-

Annette Scherer."

"Heavens! what a virulent attack!" replied the prince, not in the

least disconcerted by this reception. He had just entered, wearing

an embroidered court uniform, knee breeches, and shoes, and had

stars on his breast and a serene expression on his flat face. He spoke

in that refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but

thought, and with the gentle, patronizing intonation natural to a

man of importance who had grown old in society and at court. He went

up to Anna Pavlovna, kissed her hand, presenting to her his bald,

scented, and shining head, and complacently seated himself on the


"First of all, dear friend, tell me how you are. Set your friend's

mind at rest," said he without altering his tone, beneath the

politeness and affected sympathy of which indifference and even

irony could be discerned.

"Can one be well while suffering morally? Can one be calm in times

like these if one has any feeling?" said Anna Pavlovna. "You are

staying the whole evening, I hope?"

"And the fete at the English ambassador's? Today is Wednesday. I

must put in an appearance there," said the prince. "My daughter is

coming for me to take me there."

"I thought today's fete had been canceled. I confess all these

festivities and fireworks are becoming wearisome."

"If they had known that you wished it, the entertainment would

have been put off," said the prince, who, like a wound-up clock, by

force of habit said things he did not even wish to be believed.

"Don't tease! Well, and what has been decided about Novosiltsev's

dispatch? You know everything."

"What can one say about it?" replied the prince in a cold,

listless tone. "What has been decided? They have decided that

Buonaparte has burnt his boats, and I believe that we are ready to

burn ours."

Leo Tolstoy
The must-have Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of one of the greatest Russian novels ever written

Described by William Faulkner as the best novel ever written and by Fyodor Dostoevsky as “flawless,” Anna Karenina tells of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dashing officer, Count Vronsky. Tragedy unfolds as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. Set against a vast and richly textured canvas of nineteenth-century Russia, the novel's seven major characters create a dynamic imbalance, playing out the contrasts of city and country life and all the variations on love and family happiness.

While previous versions have softened the robust and sometimes shocking qualities of Tolstoy's writing, Pevear and Volokhonsky have produced a translation true to his powerful voice. This authoritative edition, which received the PEN Translation Prize and was an Oprah Book Club™ selection, also includes an illuminating introduction and explanatory notes. Beautiful, vigorous, and eminently readable, this Anna Karenina will be the definitive text for fans of the film and generations to come. This Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition also features French flaps and deckle-edged paper.

For more than seventy years, Penguin has been the leading publisher of classic literature in the English-speaking world. With more than 1,700 titles, Penguin Classics represents a global bookshelf of the best works throughout history and across genres and disciplines. Readers trust the series to provide authoritative texts enhanced by introductions and notes by distinguished scholars and contemporary authors, as well as up-to-date translations by award-winning translators.

From the Trade Paperback edition.
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