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Tolstoy Journal, June 19, 2017: “The fact that we are alive is for Tolstoy the most interesting thing about us.”

The featured image is of the “travel book” I bought because Tolstoy called Rousseau, his master. I have finished Volume XI of The Novels and Other Works of Lyof N. Tolstoi and am on page 21 of Volume XII, or up to Chapter VIII of “The Invaders,” which is more commonly translated as “The Raid.”… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, June 19, 2017: “The fact that we are alive is for Tolstoy the most interesting thing about us.”

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Tolstoy Journal, June 12, 2017: “Their chief mistake is the superstition that one can arrange human life.”

I have reached p. 220 of Volume XI of The Novels and Works of Lyof N. Tolstoi, that is, in the midst of “Sevastopol in December.” What I noticed in these pages besides the usual mastery of physical and psychical detail is how much it reminded me of Hemingway’s early writing. It is written in… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, June 12, 2017: “Their chief mistake is the superstition that one can arrange human life.”

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Tolstoy Journal, May 5, 2017: “Christianity without Christ.”

Okay, this morning I read pp. 98-123 of Volume IX of the Works, and pp. 84-91 of Emile by Rousseau. I am up to Chapter XV of Part Sixth of Anna Karenina. These pages, the Tolstoy ones, describe a hunting trip, and another bout of jealousy on Levin’s part. What struck me in these pages… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, May 5, 2017: “Christianity without Christ.”

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Tolstoy Journal, April 19, 2017: “the serious ‘political’ left in Russia hated the peasants.”

Today’s travel book is Eugene Onegin by Pushkin. Who is widely considered the Shakespeare of Russian literature. I believe someone wrote, the Homer and the Shakespeare of Russian literature. This is the work Vladimir Nabokov and Edmund Wilson sparred over in the book The Feud. I am getting close to the last of my travel books… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, April 19, 2017: “the serious ‘political’ left in Russia hated the peasants.”

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Tolstoy Journal, March 1, 2017, The Rousseau Connection

Today’s travel book is the Modern Library edition of The Cossacks, translated by Peter Constantine with an introduction by Cynthia Ozick. I include other translations of Tolstoy’s works just for a sense of perspective and breadth though my main focus is on themes and ideas and the power of Tolstoy’s work, not the merits of various… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, March 1, 2017, The Rousseau Connection

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Tolstoy Journal, February 18, 2017, “The incessant worm of perfectibility.”

Here are some more quotes from the Simmons biography. pp. 26-27 “Up to the age of nine Lyovochka’s formal education was neither systematic nor thorough. His own inclination, however, and the example of his elders over this period, unquestionably encouraged that informal but valuable kind of instruction obtained from reading good books. There is no… Continue reading Tolstoy Journal, February 18, 2017, “The incessant worm of perfectibility.”