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The Cossacks: A Tale of 1852 [NOOK Book]

Overview

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer - novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher - as well as pacifist Christian anarchist and educational reformer. He was the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family. His first publications were three autobiographical novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852-1856). They tell of a rich landowner's son and his slow realization of the differences between him and his peasants. As a ...
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The Cossacks: A Tale of 1852

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Overview

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) commonly referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer - novelist, essayist, dramatist and philosopher - as well as pacifist Christian anarchist and educational reformer. He was the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family. His first publications were three autobiographical novels, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852-1856). They tell of a rich landowner's son and his slow realization of the differences between him and his peasants. As a fiction writer Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists, particularly noted for his masterpieces War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). In their scope, breadth and realistic depiction of 19th-century Russian life, the two books stand at the peak of realist fiction. As a moral philosopher Tolstoy was notable for his ideas on nonviolent resistance through works such as The Kingdom of God is Within You (1894).
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781775415206
  • Publisher: The Floating Press
  • Publication date: 6/1/2009
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 298 KB

Meet the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist and philosopher, is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest writers. His notions of Christian anarchism, pacifism, and reform are clearly outlined in his philosophical works. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina are among the foremost embodiments of realistic fiction.

Biography

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province, where he spent most of his early years, together with his several brothers. In 1844 he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental Languages and later Law, but left before completing a degree. He spent the following years in a round of drinking, gambling and womanizing, until weary of his idle existence he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851.

He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 Tolstoy spent some time mixing with the literati in St Petersburg before traveling abroad and then settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. His marriage to Sofya Andreyevna Behrs in 1862 marked the beginning of a period of contentment centred around family life; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy managed his vast estates, continued his educational projects, cared for his peasants and wrote both his great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877).

During the 1870s he underwent a spiritual crisis, the moral and religious ideas that had always dogged him coming to the fore. A Confession (1879–82) marked an outward change in his life and works; he became an extreme rationalist and moralist, and in a series of pamphlets written after 1880 he rejected church and state, indicted the demands of flesh, and denounced private property. His teachings earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad, and also led finally to his excommunication by the Russian Holy Synod in 1901. In 1910 at the age of eighty-two he fled from home "leaving this worldly life in order to live out my last days in peace and solitude;" he died some days later at the station master's house at Astapovo.

Author biography courtesy of Penguin Books LTD.

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    1. Also Known As:
      Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (full name)
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 9, 1828
    2. Place of Birth:
      Tula Province, Russia
    1. Date of Death:
      November 20, 1910
    2. Place of Death:
      Astapovo, Russia

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 5 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 2, 2005

    A wonderful book

    Tolstoy¿s COSSACK is another fascinating story where purpose is found in the atmosphere of war. This goes for the jaded Olenin, an heir to a fortune that he had half squandered until he abandons his jaded life as a Moscow socialite for the adventures as a soldier in the Caucasus where he finds his purpose and true love.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    A great short story

    This book evokes all the old tales about the ethnic groups in Russia and the Caucasus. The book begins with a young, powerful man (Olénin)leaving with the Czarist army toward the regions around the Caspian sea, in search for love, since he has never been able to love a woman. With an excellent accuray, the author then portrays what the life in a cossack village is all about, as well as the relationship with the tartars, chéchens, etc. The book goes on describing Olénin's search for love amongst the typical cossack girls. Tolstoy's style in describing the everyday human behaviour and the mindmaze of the main character captivates the reader through the novel to then come across a surprising -and shocking- ending.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    Adventure Comes To Life

    When you think of Tolstoy, you most likely think of his epic novels, like Anna Karenina or War and Peace. You probably don't think of his shorter pieces like The Cossacks, a shorter novella that is considered to be the author's autobiography. The book centers around an unhappy Muscovite nobleman named Dmitri Olénin who joins the army in search of adventure and purpose in his life. He winds up in the Caucasus and is intrigued by the geography and the simple people who live there. Along the way, he discovers himself and falls in love for the first time, and in turn discovers the pain love can bring. We meet a cast of characters that includes the manly Cossack soldier Lukashka, the beautiful Cossack girl Maryanka, and the larger-than-life grandfather figure, Uncle Yeroshka, each of who play an important role in the life education of Olénin.

    Since this has always been one of my favorite books, I was curious to see how it translated into the audiobook format. The voice work is done by Jonathan Oliver, an English actor who has over a decade of experience reading audiobooks for the blind. At first, I was a little thrown by his English accent, as I know many Russians personally, and I always lent a Russian accent to The Cossacks characters in my mind. But as the story progressed, I got used to Oliver's accent and it became very natural sounding, as he took on the life of the characters. He also did a wonderful job of changing out his vocal style as each different character spoke, making it easy to tell who was speaking as the conversations took place. I especially liked his portrayal of Uncle Yeroshka, the colorful old man of the Cossack village who takes Olénin under his wing. Oliver's voice bellows and rings out with intensity, bringing the character to life in incredible fashion. Oliver is obviously very familiar with the story as well as Tolstoy in general, and he adds touches here and there to make the story even more special. For example, he reads the descriptive sections with the same enthusiasm as the speaking roles, painting a perfect picture of the Cossack village and the activities of its inhabitants as they go about daily life. He also sings their songs with a convincing air, staying in character the whole time.

    As far as classic literature goes, this one is an easy listen. It is not too long, and the story moves quickly, filled with adventure and a touch of innocent romance. Plus, it is a great introduction to Tolstoy without getting lost in the epic length of some of his other works. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 15, 2004

    the start of something beautiful

    Even his first novel held the romantic style of writing that later made him famous. It's a very simple story, but it is written so well. It's not just a look at where Tolstoy began his literature career, but it's also a look at Tolstoy's life. He himself was actually stationed in the Cossacks and used his experience to effectively write the book. The book is a pretty quick read too, so there's no reason not to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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