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Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, province of Tula, the fourth son of Count Nikolay Tolstoy. Between 1856 and 1861 Tolstoy wrote and traveled abroad extensively. He returned with a sense of revulsion for what he considered to be European materialism. In 1859 he started several schools for peasant children at Yasnaya and in 1862 he founded a magazine in which he contended that it was the peasants who should teach the intellectuals, rather than the other way round. Tolstoy's increasingly radical political stance at the end of his life alienated his wife. He frequently dispensed huge sums of money to beggars and drew up a will relinquishing his copyrights. Such behavior led to frequent disputes with his Sofia. Finding it impossible to continue living a comfortable life with his family whilst preaching communism, he left Yasnaya in 1910, with one of his daughters and his doctor, for an unknown destination. He died on the journey and was buried in a simple peasant's grave.
At a glittering society party in St Petersburg in 1805, conversations are dominated by the prospect of war. Terror swiftly engulfs the country as Napoleon's army marches on Russia, and the lives of three young people are changed forever. The stories of quixotic Pierre, cynical Andrey and impetuous Natasha interweave with a huge cast, from aristocrats and peasants to soldiers and Napoleon himself. In War and Peace, Tolstoy entwines grand themes - conflict and love, birth and death, free will and faith - with unforgettable scenes of nineteenth-century Russia, to create a magnificent epic of human life in all its imperfection and grandeur. Anthony Briggs' superb translation combines stirring, accessible prose with fidelity to Tolstoy's original, while Orlando Figes' afterword discusses the novel's vast scope and depiction of Russian identity. This edition also contains appendices, notes, a list of prominent characters and maps.
The lives of Pierre, Prince Andrei and Natasha are changed forever as conflict rages throughout the early nineteenth century. Following the rise and fall of some of society's most influential families, this truthful and poignant epic is as relevant today as ever. This six part adaptation has been written by Bafta-winning author Andrew Davies and will be directed by Tom Harper (Peaky Blinders, The Scouting Book for Boys, Woman in Black: Angel of Death). Accompanied by a stellar cast including Paul Dano (12 years a Slave, Prisoners, There Will be Blood) as the idealistic Pierre, James Norton (Happy Valley, Belle, Grantchester) as the ambitious Prince Andrei and Lily James (Cinderella, Downton Abbey) as the impulsive beauty Natasha. It also features the legendary Jim Broadbent (Moulin Rouge, Harry Potter, Longford), Gillian Anderson (The Fall, The X-Files), Greta Scacchi (White Mischief, Presumed Innocent) and many more.
Anna Karenina is the story of a woman who throws everything away to be with the young soldier she has fallen in love with, recklessly disregarding the consequences of her actions. In the Compact Edition philosophical and political sections have been outlined rather than given in full, some lengthy descriptions have been pruned, including descriptions of society life in Moscow and St Petersburg, but none of the passion, intrigue or momentum is lost
January 2010 Good Housekeeping selection. On My Bookshelf by Wendy Holden... Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is the best in its class – I am a novelist, but for my money the writers of the19th century set the bar for the whole genre. The reason I love it isn’t so much the tragic Anna with ghastly Vronsky, but because of Princess Kitty and Levin. He’s cracked and she’s a bit cosy, but their love affair is just so transportingly romantic. The description of when they meet at the frozen pond, where she is skating and he can’t even look at her because he feels it would be like looking at the sun, gets me every time. It’s because of these two lovers that I’ve never understood the fuss about Jane Austen’s Elizabeth and Mr Darcy.
War looms in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, and when Napoleon invades Russia in 1812 it forever changes those whose lives it engulfs. Although told on a panoramic scale Tolstoy's epic novel focuses the chaos of battle, the horror of death and bloodshed, and the expression of the noble virtues of love and valor through their impact on the lives of three principal characters: the courageous Prince Andrei Bolkonsky, the idealistic Pierre Bezukhov, and the nobly born beauty Natasha Rostov.
Although best known for his monumental novels, Tolstoy also wrote tightly compressed works of equal power. This new collection gathers perhaps his greatest novella, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, together with shorter masterpieces 'Three Deaths', 'Pace-setter' and the fable-like story 'Alyosha the Pot'. Whether writing from the perspective of an aged horse or plotting the travails of an optimistic young worker, Tolstoy was able to penetrate to the rich core of human experience like no writer before or since. These sensitive new renderings by award-winning translator Boris Dralyuk show with gleaming clarity Tolstoy's unmatched understanding of the human condition.
The judge Ivan Ilyich Golovin has spent his life in the pursuit of wealth and status, devoting himself obsessively to work and often neglecting his family in the process. When, after a small accident, he fails to make the expected recovery, it gradually becomes clear that he is soon to die. Ivan Ilyich then starts to question the futility and barrenness of his previous existence, realizing to his horror, as he grapples with the meaning of life and death, that he is totally alone. Included in this volume is another celebrated novella by Tolstoy, The Devil, which addresses the conflicts between desire, social norms and personal conscience, providing at the same time a further exploration of human fear and obsession.
I don't understand it; I don't in the least understand why men can't live without wars. How is it that we women don't want anything of the kind, don't need it? Tolstoy's epic masterpiece intertwines the lives of private and public individuals during the time of the Napoleonic wars and the French invasion of Russia. The fortunes of the Rostovs and the Bolkonskys, of Pierre, Natasha, and Andrei, are intimately connected with the national history that is played out in parallel with their lives. Balls and soirees alternate with councils of war and the machinations of statesmen and generals, scenes of violent battles with everyday human passions in a work whose extraordinary imaginative power has never been surpassed. The prodigious cast of characters, both great and small, seem to act and move as if connected by threads of destiny as the novel relentlessly questions ideas of free will, fate, and providence. Yet Tolstoy's portrayal of marital relations and scenes of domesticity is as truthful and poignant as the grand themes that underlie them. In this definitive and highly acclaimed Maude translation, Tolstoy's genius and the power of his prose are made newly available to the contemporary reader. In addition this edition includes a new introduction by Amy Mandelker, revised and expanded notes, lists of fictional and historical characters, a chronology of historical events, five maps, and Tolstoy's essay 'Some Words about War and Peace'.