The year is 1910. "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In this fascinating look at a tortured genius on the eve of death, Jay Parini presents Tolstoy's autobiographical writing alongside letters from loved ones to paint a portrait of the great author's final year. ...Read MoreThe year is 1910. "Anna Karenina" and "War and Peace" have made Leo Tolstoy the world's most famous author. But fame comes at a price. In this fascinating look at a tortured genius on the eve of death, Jay Parini presents Tolstoy's autobiographical writing alongside letters from loved ones to paint a portrait of the great author's final year. Desperate to find respite from his troubled marriage, Tolstoy ventures into the wilderness in search of isolation, only to find a battle for his soul and legacy that offers no peace. "Last Steps" puts a literary giant's life and work in perspective as it bears witness to his struggle to reconcile the two.Read Less
New York. 2009. Penguin Books. 1st Penguin Classic Paperback Edition. Very Good In Wrappers. 336 pages. paperback. 9780141191195. Cover: Leo Tolstoy on his 75th birthday, 1903. Edited & With An Introduction by Jay Parini. Translations from the Russian by R. F. Christian, Constance Garnett, Michael R. Katz, Jane Kentish, Aylmer Maude, Leo Weiner, and Jay Parini. keywords: Literature Russia Translated. inventory # 37738. FROM THE PUBLISHER-This new selection brings together the pivotal writings — essays, diaries and letters — from Tolstoy's turbulent later years, when he became increasingly tortured by personal and spiritual crises. It includes A Confession (1882) and other pieces in which he expressed his unorthodox version of Christianity, which eventually led to his excommunication from the Church. Here too are essays championing social justice, pacifism and various moral causes, including The First Step (1891), a defence of vegetarianism; writings on aesthetic issues — such as What is Art? (1896), a passionate argument that art must express ethical values — as well as the famous and controversial Shakespeare and the Drama (1906). Together these pieces show the force and fervour of Tolstoy's late writing, shedding new light on his life and work during his last three decades. This volume is edited by Jay Parini, author of The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Final Year, with an introduction placing the works of Tolstoy's final decades in their biographical and literary context. Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana. In 1844, he entered the University of Kazan to read Oriental languages and later law, but left before completing a degree. In 1851, he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus. He took part in the Crimean War and after the defense of Sevastopol wrote THE SEVASTOPOL SKETCHES (1855), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856, Tolstoy spent some time mixing in literary circles in St. Petersburg and abroad, finally settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. In 1862, he married Sofya Andreevna Behrs; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy wrote two great novels, WAR AND PEACE (1869) and ANNA KARENINA (1877). His works, which include many short stories and essays, earned him numerous followers in Russia and abroad. He died in 1910.
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