"There was no death. Instead of death there was light."
At the age of forty-one, Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) underwent a profound spiritual crisis, from which he emerged believing that he had encountered Death itself. These seven compelling stories explore, in very different ways, his subsequent preoccupation with mortality. The Death of Ivan Ilyich is a devestating account of a man fighting his inevitable end, and ask the existential question: why must a good person be taken before his time? In Polikushka a light-fingered drunk's chance to prove himself has tragic repercussions, while Three Deaths depicts the last moments of an aristocrat, a peasant and a tree, and The Forged Coupon shows a seemingly minor offence that leads inexorably to ever more horrific crimes. And in three tales about soldiers, After the Ball, The Wood-felling and The Raid, Tolstoy portrays the brutality that all too often accompanies military life.
The translations by Anthony Briggs, David McDuff and Ronald Wilks capture Tolstoy's powerful, vivid prose. This edition also includes a new introduction by Anthony Briggs discussing Tolstoy's breakdown and the effect this had on his writing, as well as a chronology, further reading and notes.
About the Author
Leo Tolstoy was born in central Russia in 1828. He studied Oriental languages and law (although failed to earn a degree in the latter) at the University of Kazan, and after a dissolute youth eventually joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus in 1851. He took part in the Crimean War, and the Sebastopol Sketches that emerged from it established his reputation. After living for some time in St Petersburg and abroad, he married Sophie Behrs in 1862 and they had thirteen children. The happiness this brought him gave him the creative impulse for his two greatest novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). Later in life his views became increasingly radical as he gave up his possessions to live a simple peasant life. After a quarrel with his wife he fled home secretly one night to seek refuge in a monastery. He became ill during this dramatic flight and died at the small railway station of Astapovo in 1910.
|The Raid||p. 1|
|The Woodfelling||p. 29|
|Three Deaths||p. 71|
|The Death of Ivan Ilyich||p. 155|
|After the Ball||p. 219|
|The Forged Coupon||p. 233|
|Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.|
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 352
Published: April 2008
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.6 x 13.1 x 2.1
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1