Questions tagged [leo-tolstoy]

For questions about the works of Leo Tolstoy and his life as a writer. Use this tag with the tag [russian-literature].

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How did Denisov reappear in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace?

In 1807 Major Denisov got court-martialed for stealing food, threatening and insulting chief quartermaster, and thrashing two officials even dislocating the arm of one of them. All of this happens ...
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Is Anna Karenina a modernist novel?

Almost all of Anna Karenina (1878) had a classical flavour to me. For most of the novel, the thought processes of the characters, as described by the omniscient narrator, are very linear, ordered, ...
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Allusion in Nabokov's Pnin

In chapter 3, section 6 of Nabokov's Pnin, the main character is carrying a reference work "mainly devoted to Tolstoyana" across the Waindell campus when he drops it by accident: Pnin, on ...
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2 answers
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Original language of Tolstoy quote "Il ne faut écrire qu'au moment..."

Was the following quote by Tolstoy originally in French? Did he say it in French? In what language should this quote by Tolstoy be cited? Il ne faut écrire qu'au moment où chaque fois que tu trempes ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why do readers dislike Vronsky in the early part of the novel?

Anna Karenina, the first novel of Count Leo Tolstoy is about the life of Anna (mainly) and her lover Vronsky (I know it is not possible to say what the novel is about but for this particular ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Why did Pierre want to assassinate Napoleon?

Pierre’s friend Andrei was shown to have great respect for Napoleon, as his view on historic events being the will of a few important people is embodied best by Napoleon. While lying wounded on the ...
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2 votes
1 answer
251 views

Why is War and Peace not considered an epic?

The plot of War and Peace involves more than 500 characters. More than 200 of them are real historical figures put to life on the pages of Tolstoy’s novel. The novel is set 60 years before Tolstoy's ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Tolstoy's "A Letter to a Hindu" - Krishna Quote References?

In Tolstoy's letter to Gandhi (A Letter to a Hindu), Tolstoy quotes extensively from Krishna. On page 12 above, Gandhi asks for the reference: "In the letter in question, you have quoted largely ...
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What is the English title of Tolstoy's memoirs "Without love, It's easier to live"?

I am trying to find the English name of the memoirs by Leo Tostoy titled Without love, It's easier to live (original Russian title Без любви жить легче). I could not find any mention of it neither in ...
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5 votes
2 answers
1k views

Mystifying reference in "Anna Karenina"

I encountered this mystifying aside (bolded) in the text of Anna Karenina. I assumed it might be a biblical reference, but upon checking, it doesn't seem that the biblical Rebecca was a slave. A quick ...
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Is The Shawshank Redemption based on a Leo Tolstoy story?

This Wikipedia article says that Stephen King’s novella Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption “has been thought to be loosely based on Leo Tolstoy's 1872 short story "God Sees the Truth, But ...
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7 votes
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How do Pierre and Natasha "lie to each other" in 'War and Peace'?

Simone de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex (emphasis mine) Lawrence adds that to merit this devotion, man must be authentically invested with a higher purpose; if his project is but a sham, the ...
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3 votes
2 answers
485 views

Relationship between title and protagonist's fate in Tolstoy's God Sees the Truth, but Waits

I went through Tolstoy's story God Sees the Truth, But Waits but I wonder what the title suggests and how it suits the story in regard to the protagonist Aksionov. A good innocent man is wrongly ...
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4 votes
1 answer
239 views

What is the exact social status of Alexei Vronsky?

Alexei Vronsky is first mentioned by Stepan Oblonsky, in Part One chapter XI. This is how he is presented there by Stiva (Pevear translation): Vronsky is one of the sons of Count Kirill Ivanovich ...
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9 votes
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Is this mistake in Tolstoy's original, or just this translation?

I am reading the Vintage edition of War & Peace with the translation by Pevear & Volokhonsky. In Volume II, part I, chapter 11, the farewell dinner for Nikolai at the Rostov's is held on "the ...
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Does Countess Natalia Rostova let Prince Andrei die so Nikolai could inherit all of Marya's wealth?

Natasha's mother, Countess Natalia Rostova, seems to dislike her daughter's affections for Prince Andrei when they meet again at his (eventual) deathbed. At this point in the story, she's also been ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Does someone know the "Moment of Ljewin" in Anna Karenina?

I'm visiting my girl this week (long-distance relationship, different country) and at some point she told me about being a big fan of Anna Karenina. However, the copy she had read was old and falling ...
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4 votes
1 answer
353 views

Description of a character in 'War and peace'

In the book 'War and peace ' , the characters seem to mention the name of a person ' countess Apraksina ' with a tone of respect and concern in chapter 10. This character 'countess Apraksina' is not ...
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4 votes
1 answer
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In War and Peace, why do all the generals and Kutuzov consider it "impossible" to defend Moscow?

After the battle of Borodino, in which the Russians apparently did well, why did the French simply advance to Moscow and why was it considered inevitable that Moscow would be abandoned and the army ...
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3 votes
1 answer
649 views

What is "the light by which she had read the book" in "Anna Karenina"?

What does the following sentence from Anna Karenina mean? And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, ...
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3 votes
1 answer
224 views

What is the meaning of a complex sentence from "The Hedgehog and the Fox"?

I'm new in English and I want to understand this sentence from Isaiah Berlin's The Hedgehog and the Fox: "Rousseau must have strengthened, if he did not actually originate, his growing tendency to ...
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2 votes
2 answers
313 views

What led Tolstoy to depict that a person would have a change of heart after throwing themselves under a train?

After having read a few different works by Tolstoy, I have come to the conclusion that his main goal is to accurately depict what goes through a person's mind in various situations. One of the most ...
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6 votes
1 answer
3k views

Which of Leo Tolstoy's stories are appropriate for children?

I am aware that Tolstoy wrote stories specifically for children. However, I would also like to know which of his other stories of his vast bibliography are suitable (i. e. age appropriate) for ...
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Could Levin have a friend like Oblonsky in real life?

Levin was deep-thinking; Stiva was shallow. It is hard to believe there was long lasting friendship between these two. Exactly What qualities in Oblonsky kept this friendship alive? Levin constantly ...
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10 votes
1 answer
1k views

Is Frou-Frou's death a foreshadowing of Anna's in Anna Karenina?

The only thing Vronsky loves more than Anna is Frou-Frou his horse. In the race he rides her too hard, she falls, and her back breaks. He kicks her in a rage trying to get her up and then shoots her ...
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10 votes
2 answers
267 views

What is the relevance of the essays in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'?

War and Peace is regularly interspersed with essays -- something that I have not seen anywhere else in literature. How significant are these essays? They obviously help in exploring the themes and ...
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11 votes
1 answer
255 views

Why did the doctor give Count Bezukhov cream of tartar?

In War and Peace, Count Bezukhov's doctors gave him Cream of Tartar after his stroke. What purpose did that serve? I haven't been able to find anything about medical benefits of cream of tartar that ...
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9 votes
1 answer
806 views

What concept of love does Tolstoy suggest in Anna Karenina?

I know one of the characteristics of realistic works is they are mostly formulated as some independent studies of the life of society but, at the same time, I realise that the dominant approach to art ...
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12 votes
1 answer
803 views

Is there symbolism in Vronsky going bald in Anna Karenina?

As I am reading Anna Karinina I notice how as the story continues Vronsky is going bald. As characters meet him it is noted how he tries to hid his increasing baldness. For instance when Dolly goes ...
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