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How did Leo Tolstoy approve Maude's English translation of War and Peace? Did he speak good English already?

Tolstoy was born into the Russian aristocracy and thus had the benefit of paid tuition as a young man. He was interested in languages and so, given the opportunity to learn them, he did. In fact he ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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12 votes

How did Leo Tolstoy approve Maude's English translation of War and Peace? Did he speak good English already?

In his critique of Shakespeare, Tolstoy wrote: For a long time I could not believe in myself, and during fifty years, in order to test myself, I several times recommenced reading Shakespeare in every ...
Alex's user avatar
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10 votes
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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 ...
tum_'s user avatar
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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 ...
Рябчиков-Жуй's user avatar
8 votes
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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 ...
Valorum's user avatar
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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, ...
tum_'s user avatar
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7 votes
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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 ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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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 ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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7 votes
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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 ...
ktm5124's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why did Russian corpses rot in "War and Peace", but not French?

These uneducated soldiers ascribe supernatural unhuman qualities to the invaders. A little further they suspect that the French military commander Napoleon possesses shape-shifting and undead ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why does Pierre think a priest giving a deserter the cross to kiss is hypocrisy?

To begin with, Pierre is describing a particularly brutal method of execution. Being "knouted to death" means being whipped until your body literally cannot take any more. Hanging would be ...
MJ713's user avatar
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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 ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
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6 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 (...
b4rtr's user avatar
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What was the original meaning of "rolling their eyes"?

Seems to be a mistranslation. Rolling one’s eyes is a gesture “used to disagree or dismiss or express contempt”. The Russian phrase for it is «закатывая глаза». The novel says «выкатывая глаза» (...
b4rtr's user avatar
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5 votes
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What does "gentleman of the bedchamber" mean in "War and Peace"?

Original text is: Пьер был у него под рукою в Москве, и князь Василий устроил для него назначение в камер-юнкеры, что тогда равнялось чину статского советника, и настоял на том, чтобы молодой человек ...
DVK's user avatar
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How did Denisov reappear in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace?

While I didn’t find an explicit explanation in the book, it’s possible to speculate about it. The simplest solution is as follows. Vasily Denisov has a clear historical prototype: Denis Vasilyevich ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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5 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 ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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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....
Michael Meznar's user avatar
5 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 ...
Рябчиков-Жуй's user avatar
4 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, ...
Philly's user avatar
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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 ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
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4 votes
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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 ...
tum_'s user avatar
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4 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 ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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4 votes
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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. -...
Kevin Troy's user avatar
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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? ...
Peter Shor's user avatar
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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 ...
DVK's user avatar
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3 votes
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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 ...
Ralph Crown's user avatar
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War and Peace: Russian troop movements in part 2, chapters 7 and 8

My understanding of the events. Nesvitski is sent with the order to “tell the hussars that they are to cross last and to fire the bridge […]; and the inflammable material on the bridge must be ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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3 votes
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How to Interpret a mention of Tolstoy in "Revenge Fable" by Ted Hughes?

[Self-answering after doing some digging.] It's a criticism of Tolstoy's Christian beliefs, which he commited to in a late stage of his life, after experiencing an existential crisis, detailed in his ...
HeyJude's user avatar
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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 ...
Andreas Blass's user avatar

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