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Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy (Perennial Classics) Paperback – March 2, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Perennial Classics
  • Paperback: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial Modern Classics; Reprint edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060586974
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060586973
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.3 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #89,282 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is the author of War and Peace, Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and other classics of Russian literature.


More About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) wrote two of the great novels of the nineteenth century, War and Peace and Anna Karenina.

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Customer Reviews

His style is vivid, clear, and engaging, and his themes are interesting and profound.
Nathaniel Grublet
For Ivan Ilych, he had answered this question by leading a life that was, "the most simple and most ordinary and therefore most terrible".
LB Song
In it we see the author of "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" doing himself proud in excellently written short novels and stories.
C. M Mills

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

48 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Nathaniel Grublet on July 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
This paperback gathers many of Lev Tolstoy's most masterfully crafted short works. The Death of Ivan Ilych, Hadji Murad, The Cossacks, The Kreutzer Sonata ... they are all here. While it is impossible to give an adequate review of each of the stories in this collection, I will say that Tolstoy's short stories are a joy to read. His style is vivid, clear, and engaging, and his themes are interesting and profound. Tolstoy tackles the issues of death, war, religion, sex, and others. While I do not agree with many of his views, the beauty and subtlety with which he expresses them is tremendous.
On a more technical note, the translation is more than adequate. While reading Tolstoy in Russian is best, this translation is seamless and does not interfere with the reading. I would enthusiastically recommend this collection to anyone who is intrigued by this influential and quirky author.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By A. Lowry on June 1, 2006
Format: Paperback
I prefer the Everyman's volumes because the typesetting is so much nicer. The present volume is a trade-sized paperback with the text simply photo-enlarged from the original mass-market edition. Both volumes use the Maudes' translations, but the Everyman's includes a great many more stories, including the Sevastopol Sketches. On the other hand, Everyman's publishes The Cossacks as a third volume, whereas you get that in here and all the other can't-miss stories.

If you can't afford the Everyman's, this is the one to get.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Extollager on June 29, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I turn to some of these stories repeatedly. Tolstoy gives searching portraits of obsessed souls in stories such as "The Devil" (an unforgettable account of lust), "Father Sergius," and "The Kreutzer Sonata." Here is a more "Dostoevskian" Tolstoy than we see in War and Peace. Providing balance in the collection are masterpieces such as "Hadji Murad." Don't overlook this book; it is a convenient compilation of some of the finest literary works of Russia's 19th century. I bought a second copy because my first one wore out.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on September 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
With that work being the main concern of this review, I must say that probably the most facinating thing about Tolstoy the artist, the man, the philosopher is his lifelong horror and obsession of death. He was a lifelong deathwatcher and with a distinctive brilliance does he describe death in his works, Ivan Ilych being the culmination of his concern with death.

Dostoevsky is without a shadow of a doubt my favorite writer and with that being stated is the obvious superior of his great tempororay Tolstoy. I sometimes regret this because it sometimes blinds me to Tolstoy's greatness. In the case of Ivan Ilych, Tolstoy shines through in all of his literary genius. With this 1886 short novel, one can easily see Tolstoy the literary artist. He chooses a judge who never gives death a thought and yet condemns accused to death. Tolstoy hated judges and one perceives that there is a slight sinister Chekhovian schadenfreude to the title character's sufferings and epiphany in the great Lion as he wrote this one. I remember slightly the storm of thought which surged within me when I finished reading this work about a year ago. Never before had I read a work with a simple plot work laced through with character intrigue (and in this case Tolstoy gets alongside and may have even beaten Dostoevsky when it comes to the latter's utter phenomenal mastry over creating facinating characters) and the philosophical force of a bullet train.

Everyone must at one point in their lives read Tolstoy's incredible work, The Death of Ivan Ilych. It is not only what I would consider to be the greatest short novel ever written but is a testament to the philosophical anguish of a great mind rendered into haunting brilliance and a beauty which leaves its mark upon the stunned reader, never to recover over the magnificence that is Tolstoy.
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13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 6, 1999
Format: Paperback
A good collection of the best short works of Tolstoy. It will give you an insight into the problems he tried to express in his major works. A great reading and self-reflection experience after reading his short works especially Kreutzer Sonata, The Devil, Family Hapiness.
Recommended for any serious reader.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on July 8, 2007
Format: Paperback
According to many critics, Tolstoy (1828 to 1910) is viewed as one of the greatest novelists of all time, particularly noted for his historical novel War and Peace and later the novel Anna Karenina. The two novels are among the best novels ever written, and depict life in 19th century Russia. Tolstoy was associated with the realism movement and as such his writings are graphic and compelling. The present book is a bargain and brings the reader some of his best short works.

Tolstoy was born on his father's estate in Central Russia, attended college, and joined the military. He served in Chechnya and wrote about his experiences, and later served in Sevastopol where he was involved in intensive fighting. He wrote about life in the Russia military, and he wrote about other historical military events such as the Napoleonic wars. He wrote about historical events and he wrote about people and the mundane events of life. The short novel The Cossacks (included here) came from this early experiences in the military.

War and Peace (1865-69) is generally thought to be one of the greatest and most complicated novels ever written including over 500 characters and a variety of historical details on the Napoleonic wars. Anna Karenina (1877) followed later. It is a beautifully written story of a farmer (Levin) and a woman (Anna ¨Karenina) who have two parallel and loosely interconnected lives.

In addition to those primary novels, Tolstoy wrote other major novels, novellas, and short stories. Some of the best of his writings are here in this collection. They include the important work "The Death of Ivan Ilych" which is a profound but short work, and possibly one of the best novels of all time.
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