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Leo Tolstoy - book author

Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider Tolstoy to have been one of the world's greatest novelists. Tolstoy is equally known for his complicated and paradoxical persona and for his extreme moralistic and ascetic views, which he adopted after a moral crisis and spiritual awakening in the 1870s, after which he also became noted as a moral thinker and social reformer.

His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and anarcho-pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Leo Tolstoy is the author of books: War and Peace, The Death of Ivan Ilych, Anna Karenina, The Kreutzer Sonata, Resurrection, The Death of Ivan Ilych And Other Stories, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, A Confession, Hadji Murad, The Cossacks

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01
In Russia's struggle with Napoleon, Tolstoy saw a tragedy that involved all mankind. Greater than a historical chronicle, War and Peace is an affirmation of life itself, `a complete picture', as a contemporary reviewer put it, `of everything in which people find their happiness and greatness, their grief and humiliation'. Tolstoy gave his personal approval to this translation, published here in a new single volume edition, which includes an introduction by Henry Gifford, and Tolstoy's important essay `Some Words about War and Peace'.
02
Hailed as one of the world's supreme masterpieces on the subject of death and dying, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the story of a worldly careerist, a high court judge who has never given the inevitability of his dying so much as a passing thought. But one day, death announces itself to him, and to his shocked surprise, he is brought face to face with his own mortality.

How, Tolstoy asks, does an unreflective man confront his one and only moment of truth?

This short novel was an artistic culmination of a profound spiritual crisis in Tolstoy's life, a nine-year period following the publication of Anna Karenina during which he wrote not a word of fiction.
A thoroughly absorbing, and, at times, terrifying glimpse into the abyss of death, it is also a strong testament to the possibility of finding spiritual salvation.
03
Acclaimed by many as the world's greatest novel, Anna Karenina provides a vast panorama of contemporary life in Russia and of humanity in general. In it Tolstoy uses his intense imaginative insight to create some of the most memorable characters in all of literature. Anna is a sophisticated woman who abandons her empty existence as the wife of Karenin and turns to Count Vronsky to fulfil her passionate nature - with tragic consequences. Levin is a reflection of Tolstoy himself, often expressing the author's own views and convictions.

Throughout, Tolstoy points no moral, merely inviting us not to judge but to watch. As Rosemary Edmonds comments, 'He leaves the shifting patterns of the kaleidoscope to bring home the meaning of the brooding words following the title, 'Vengeance is mine, and I will repay.
04
When Marshal of the Nobility Pozdnyshev suspects his wife of having an affair with her music partner, his jealousy consumes him and drives him to murder. Controversial upon publication in 1890, The Kreutzer Sonata illuminates Tolstoy’s then-feverish Christian ideals, his conflicts with lust and the hypocrisies of nineteenth-century marriage, and his thinking on the role of art and music in society.

In her Introduction, Doris Lessing shows how relevant The Kreutzer Sonata is to our understanding of Tolstoy the artist, as well as to feminism and literature. This Modern Library Paperback Classic also contains Tolstoy’s Sequel to the Kruetzer Sonata.
05
Resurrection (1899) is the last of Tolstoy's major novels. It tells the story of a nobleman's attempt to redeem the suffering his youthful philandering inflicted on a peasant girl who ends up a prisoner in Siberia. Tolstoy's vision of redemption, achieved through loving forgiveness and his condemnation of violence, dominate the novel. An intimate, psychological tale of guilt, anger, and forgiveness, Resurrection is at the same time a panoramic description of social life in Russia at the end of the nineteenth century, reflecting its author's outrage at the social injustices of the world in which he lived. This edition, which updates a classic translation, has explanatory notes, and a substantial introduction based on the most recent scholarship in the field.
06
With an Introduction and Notes by Dr T.C.B.Cook

Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is best known for War and Peace and Anna Karenina, commonly regarded as amongst the greatest novels ever written. He also, however, wrote many masterly short stories, and this volume contains four of the longest and best in distinguished translations that have stood the test of time. In the early story 'Family Happiness', Tolstoy explores courtship and marriage from the point of view of a young wife. In 'The Kreutzer Sonata' he gives us a terrifying study of marital breakdown, in 'The Devil' a powerful depiction of the power of sexual temptation, and, in perhaps the finest of all, 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich', he portrays the long agony of a man gradually coming to terms with his own mortality.

Librarian's note: See alternate cover edition of ISBN 1840224533 here.
07
Leo Tolstoy began his trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, Youth, in his early twenties. Although he would in his old age famously dismiss it as an ‘awkward mixture of fact and fiction’, generations of readers have not agreed, finding the novel to be a charming and insightful portrait of inner growth against the background of a world limned with extraordinary clarity, grace and color. Evident too in its brilliant account of a young person’s emerging awareness of the world and of his place within it are many of the stances, techniques and themes that would come to full flower in the immortal War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and in the other great works of Tolstoy’s maturity.
08
A Confession -- an essay by Leo Tolstoy on his religious thoughts -- shows the great author in process of looking for answers to profound questions that trouble all who take them on: "What will come of my life?" and "What is the meaning of life?" these are questions whose answers were an absolute requirement for Tolstoy. In the course of the essay, Tolstoy shows different attempts to find answers on the examples of science, philosophy, eastern wisdom, and the opinions of his fellow novelists. . . . finding no workable solution in any of these, Tolstoy recognizes the deep religious convictions of ordinary people as containing the key to true answers. The first attempt at its publication took place in 1882 (Russkaya Mysl, No 5), but Tolstoy's work was removed virtually from the whole edition of the journal by Orthodox Church censorship. The text was later published in Geneva (1884), in Russia as late as 1906 (Vsemirnyj Vestnik, No 1).
09
In 1851 Leo Tolstoy enlisted in the Russian army and was sent to the Caucasus to help defeat the Chechens. During this war a great Avar chieftain, Hadji Murád, broke with the Chechen leader Shamil and fled to the Russians for safety. Months later, while attempting to rescue his family from Shamil’s prison, Hadji Murád was pursued by those he had betrayed and, after fighting the most heroic battle of his life, was killed.

Tolstoy, witness to many of the events leading to Hadji Murád’s death, set down this story with painstaking accuracy to preserve for future generations the horror, nobility, and destruction inherent in war.
10
To read Tolstoy's early sketch, The Raid, and his first novel, The Cossacks, is to enter the workshop of a great writer and thinker. In The Raid Tolstoy explores the nature of courage itself, a theme central to War and Peace. In The Cossacks he sets forth all the motifs of his whole future life and his work. The hero is a young man-about-town who has squandered half his fortune - and his life - and retires to the desultory existence of a regiment stationed in mountainous Cossack country, where he takes part in the daily life of a Cossack village. But his love for the beautiful Maryanka precipitates a conflict between the belief that "Happiness lies in living for others" and a passion that sweeps self-abnegation aside. As Romain Roland says, "The full force of Tolstoy's descriptive powers is already expressed in this splendid [novel] and Tolstoy's realism shows itself with equal force in depicting human nature."