Tolstoy: A Very Short Introduction

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2019-08-01
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
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War and Peace and Anna Karenina are widely recognized as two of the greatest novels ever written. Their author Leo Tolstoy has been honored as the father of the modern war story, as an innovator in psychological prose, and as a genius at using fiction to reveal the mysteries of love and death. At the time of his death in 1910, Tolstoy was known the world over as both a great writer and as a merciless critic of institutions that perpetrated, bred, or tolerated injustice and violence in any form.

Yet among literary critics and rival writers, it has become a commonplace to disparage Tolstoy's "thought" while praising his "art." In this Very Short Introduction Liza Knapp explores the heart of Tolstoy's work. Focusing on his works of fiction that have stood the test of time, she analyses his works of non-fiction alongside them, and sketches out the core themes in Tolstoy's art and thought, and the interplay between them. Tracing the continuing influence of Tolstoy's work on modern literature, Knapp highlights those aspects of his writings that remain relevant today.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Author Biography

Liza Knapp, Professor, Department of Slavic Languages, Columbia University

Liza Knapp is a Professor of Slavic Languages at Columbia University; before coming to Columbia in 2004, she taught for a decade in the Slavic Department at the University of California at Berkeley. She teaches and writes widesly on the subjects of Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, and is the author of Anna Karenina and Others: Tolstoy's Labyrinth of Plots (2016), and The Annihilation of Inertia: Dostoevsky and Metaphysics (1996). Knapp is also the co-editor of the MLA Approaches to Teaching Anna Karenina (2003), and the editor of Dostoevsky's The Idiot: A Critical Companion (1998).

Table of Contents

1: From "Ant Brothers" to loving all as brothers and sisters
2: Tolstoy on War and on Peace
3: Tolstoy on love
4: Tolstoy on death
5: What Tolstoy believed
6: What then must we do?
7: Tolstoy's art and Tolstoy's devices
Further reading
1. From "Ant Brothers" to loving all as brothers and sisters
2. Tolstoy on War and on Peace
3. Tolstoy on love
4. Tolstoy on death
5. What Tolstoy believed
6. What then must we do?
7. Tolstoy's art and Tolstoy's devices
Further reading

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