Tolstoy's Art and Thought, 1847-1880

Tolstoy's Art and Thought, 1847-1880

by Donna Tussing Orwin
     
 

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"My aim is to present Tolstoy's work as he may have understood it himself," writes Donna Orwin. Reconstructing the intellectual and psychic struggles behind the masterpieces of his early and middle age, this major study covers the period during which he wrote The Cossacks, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina. Orwin uses the tools of biography,

Overview

"My aim is to present Tolstoy's work as he may have understood it himself," writes Donna Orwin. Reconstructing the intellectual and psychic struggles behind the masterpieces of his early and middle age, this major study covers the period during which he wrote The Cossacks, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina. Orwin uses the tools of biography, intellectual and literary history, and textual analysis to explain how Tolstoy's tormented search for moral certainty unfolded, creating fundamental differences among the great novels of the "pre-crisis" period.

Distinguished by its historical emphasis, this book demonstrates that the great novelist, who had once seen a fundamental harmony between human conscience and nature's vitality, began eventually to believe in a dangerous rift between the two: during the years discussed here, Tolstoy moved gradually from a celebration of life to instruction about its moral dimensions. Paying special attention to Tolstoy's reading of Rousseau, Goethe, Schopenhauer, and the Russian thinker N. N. Strakhov, Orwin also explores numerous other influences on his thought. In so doing, she shows how his philosophical and emotional conflicts changed form but continued unabated--until, with his religious conversion of 1880, he surrendered his long attempt to make sense of life through art alone.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

One of Choice's Outstanding Academic Titles for 1993

"Instead of following the obvious route of demonstrating how philosophical obsessions inhabit the texts, she pursues the more difficult, but ultimately more rewarding path of tracing the ways in which Tolstoy's thought animates his art. In so doing, she has made a major contribution to Tolstoy scholarship and literary studies."--Slavic and East European Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781400820887
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Publication date:
05/16/2013
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
292
File size:
2 MB

Meet the Author

OrwinDonna Tussing: Donna Tussing Orwin is Research Associate at the Centre for Russian and East European Studies at the University of Toronto.

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