9 votes
Accepted

Is this mistake in Tolstoy's original, or just this translation?

It is indeed end of November in the actual Russian text and all my research so far shows that this is a genuine author's mistake. "Он исписал альбомы девочек стихами и нотами и, не простившись ни с ...
  • 960
9 votes

Original language of Tolstoy quote "Il ne faut écrire qu'au moment..."

The quote is known from the memoir of A.B.Goldenweiser, page 157, the last paragraph of a 1904 chapter. He refers to the private conversation. The memoir was published in Russian. Писать надо ...
8 votes
Accepted

Mystifying reference in "Anna Karenina"

I assumed it might be a biblical reference, but upon checking, it doesn't seem that Rebecca was a slave. It is her, Rebecca. According to these comments to "Anna Karenina" (in Russian, ...
  • 960
7 votes
Accepted

How do Pierre and Natasha "lie to each other" in 'War and Peace'?

They really don’t. 1. The lie in question. Beauvoir didn’t provide insight of her own here, it’s a paraphrase of certain arguments from Fantasia of the Unconscious by D. H. Lawrence: Better Anna ...
  • 836
7 votes

Original language of Tolstoy quote "Il ne faut écrire qu'au moment..."

According to the book Retrouvailles, by Claudette Combes and ‎Patrick Marcadet, found in Google books, the quote comes from the book Mémoires d'Alexandre Golden Veiser. Alexandre Golden Veiser is ...
  • 8,378
7 votes
Accepted

Is there symbolism in Vronsky going bald in Anna Karenina?

I think there is indeed symbolism in Vronsky's bald spot. One of Karenin's chief characteristics is his ears, which is often the first thing people notice of him. Ears are meant for hearing—hearing ...
  • 639
7 votes
Accepted

Why did the doctor give Count Bezukhov cream of tartar?

Notably this isn't the Count's first stroke. It is, in fact his sixth. Doctors have known for centuries that victims of stroke can become constipated and suffer from fecal impaction as a result of ...
  • 4,360
6 votes
Accepted

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

I believe that there is no reliable answer to your question. He could make this up, or he could hear it from someone or read about it somewhere, we will never know. Tolstoy's wife Sofia Andreevna ...
  • 1,153
5 votes

Why do readers dislike Vronsky in the early part of the novel?

Because Levin appears first. Levin/Lyovin is the main character of the novel: it is not just about Anna and Vronsky! See LitCharts, for example: Levin, the other main protagonist of the novel (...
  • 836
5 votes

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

It's metaphorical, and examining the context before the passage you cite can illuminate the meaning. I believe the light refers to Anna's outlook on the world, or her interpretation of external events....
4 votes
Accepted

Does someone know the "Moment of Ljewin" in Anna Karenina?

My guess would be the scene, where Kitty and Levin open their hearts to each other. It fits the description (tr. Constance Garnett). “Ah! I’ve scribbled all over the table!” she said, and, laying ...
  • 1,153
4 votes

What is the exact social status of Alexei Vronsky?

I'll give it a go. I'll start with providing an extended quote from Levin's dialogue with Oblonsky: 'Aristocratism, you say. But allow me to ask, what makes up this aristocratism of Vronsky or ...
  • 960
4 votes
Accepted

Is Anna Karenina a modernist novel?

[T]he hero of my story, whom I love with all my heart and soul, whom I have attempted to portray in all his beauty and who has always been, is now, and will always be supremely magnificent, is truth. -...
  • 1,750
3 votes

Allusion in Nabokov's Pnin

It's from a poem of Pushkin's. An English translation is here. The relevant stanza: И где мне смерть пошлет судьбина? В бою ли, в странствии, в волнах? Или соседняя долина Мой примет охладелый прах? ...
  • 8,378
3 votes

Why did Pierre want to assassinate Napoleon?

Он должен был, скрывая свое имя, остаться в Москве, встретить Наполеона и убить его с тем, чтобы или погибнуть, или прекратить несчастье всей Европы, происходившее, по мнению Пьера, от одного ...
  • 4,226
3 votes

Why is War and Peace not considered an epic?

The obvious reason why War and Peace is usually described as a novel and not as an epic is that verse is one of the defining characteristics of the epic. Applying the descriptor "epic" to ...
  • 39.7k
3 votes

Tolstoy's "A Letter to a Hindu" - Krishna Quote References?

From Wikipedia: "A Letter to a Hindu" (also known as "A Letter to a Hindoo") was a letter written by Leo Tolstoy to Tarak Nath Das on 14 December 1908... The letter caused the ...
  • 836
3 votes

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

Sex in Anna Karenina? Whoever put that rating must have had a wild imagination. I'd rather restrict it for drug use. To be serious, Anna Karenina is not suitable for a reader below 18 just because ...
3 votes
Accepted

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

Vronsky has learned, earlier that day, that Anna is pregnant. It's obvious that the horse's death is tied to this revelation. The pregnancy, which forces her husband to acknowledge the affair, leads ...
  • 1,149
3 votes

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

War and Peace is classified as a Novel of Ideas, which are sometimes labeled as Philosophical Novels. Other examples are Voltaire's Candide, and all novels by Goethe and by J.-J. Rousseau. Of course, ...
  • 406
2 votes

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

"The simple peasant" refers to the cultivators of the soil mentioned just before. Rousseau claimed that, before humanity was corrupted by civilization, people were noble savages with a lot of natural ...
2 votes
Accepted

Description of a character in 'War and peace'

Apraskin is an old Russian noble family. They are not the only real nobles portrayed in the novel, but I couldn't find exactly whom of the Apraskins Tolstoy had in mind. My guess would be Ekaterina ...
  • 1,153
2 votes

In War and Peace, why do all the generals and Kutuzov consider it "impossible" to defend Moscow?

TL;DR: It suited Tolstoy’s theory of history to portray the abandonment of Moscow as inevitable. Tolstoy’s theory of history Tolstoy portrays the decision-making after Borodino in the first four ...
  • 42.4k
2 votes

What concept of love does Tolstoy suggest in Anna Karenina?

One of the guilty pleasures of writing is that you create a world where you have absolute power. You place the scenery, you define the people, you make the rules, and you decide who lives and who dies....
  • 1,149
1 vote

Is The Shawshank Redemption based on a Leo Tolstoy story?

In today's era, saying someone's work is based on someone else's work is equivalent to calling the former as ungrateful and the latter as unacknowledged. We tend to relate things and find patterns in ...
1 vote

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

This is quintessential Tolstoy the man, Tolstoy the philosopher. The point is not to judge or second-guess God's actions. He has His own ways, and we can only be sure that He knows everything. The ...
  • 491
1 vote

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

In short: Suicide is bad, kids, don't do it. That's basically all there is to it. Long answer: You need to get into the morality of the time and place when the novel was written and ask yourself ...
  • 488
1 vote

Could Levin have a friend like Oblonsky in real life?

Oblonsky is presented as a person who is everybody's friend. He's not an especially good person, though. He cheats on his wife. He makes a poor deal selling his land. He's not particularly good at his ...
  • 1,149

Only top scored, non community-wiki answers of a minimum length are eligible