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Master and Man and Other Stories (Penguin Classics) Paperback – December 27, 2005

ISBN-13: 978-0140449624 ISBN-10: 0140449620 Edition: Revised

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Product Details

  • Series: Penguin Classics
  • Paperback: 293 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; Revised edition (December 27, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140449620
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140449624
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #124,561 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English, Russian (translation) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province. He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. He is the author, among many other works, of War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877) and A Confession (1879-82). Ronald Wilks has translated widely from the Russian, including for Penguin works by Gorky, Gogol and Chekhov. Hugh McLean has published widely on Russian literature, including contributing an essay on "The Countryside" to the Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel and one on Tolstoy's Resurrection to the Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy. Paul Foote was, until his retirement, a University Lecturer in Russian and Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford.

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Customer Reviews

Well worth the hour or so it will take to read.
Mark Wilkerson
He believes it will come to be lucrative as he gives much thought on it.
Scott Walker
In this book Tolstoy is focused on religious aspect of life.
CW

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Ronnie Dylan on September 22, 1999
Format: Paperback
I, too, have to disagree with this 'english class' in their dull-assesment of this story. This must be a very young class of students who haven't experienced enough of human nature to fully appreciate and understand the complexity and beauty of the 2 characters in this wonderfully touching story. This is the first story that has ever made me weep openly while reading. The second, also by Tolstoy, was Strider: The Story of a Horse. If you liked Master and Man, you must find this one! That's why I'm here today; looking to replace my lost copy.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 31, 1998
Format: Paperback
I felt I had to respond to the above comment by saying that this is a masterfully written short story and a moving account of a Master who makes the ultimate sacrifice, whether knowing it or not, to his lowly, faithful servant. The story contrasts well the attitudes and lives of rich masters and their voluntary slaves.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By J. Robinson on August 14, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is a good three story collection with an introduction by Paul Foote.

Tolstoy is recognized as one of the leading writer of novels, and he was a leading Russian writer of the 19th century. He wrote three monumental works including War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and the novella The Death of Ivan Ilych." Two were written by Tolstoy at his peak around 1865 to 1980, and Ilych was written in 1886 before Tolstoy started to lose his interest in fiction.

This is a collection of three stories that were all written at the end of Tolstoy's career, all written after 1890 when he was making the transition to non-fiction polemics. Only one of the three stories was published during Tolstoy's lifetime and that was Master and Man.

The first story in the book is Father Sergius, and it was written between 1890 and 1898. It is brilliant and ambitious. It is a story about a priest who dedicates his life to religion and purity. He lives in isolation and commits his life to God, and the story is about his search for truth. Unfortunately, he is still attracted to women, and that attraction or sexual passion frightens him and the story describes how he deals with that struggle to overcome his moral shortcomings or temptations. This was a favorite story of Tolstoy.

The second story, Master and Man, is simply superb. It is about two men on a trip by a horse drawn sleigh through the winter snows near a small village. They get caught in a blizzard while on a simple business trip. It was published in 1895, and is among the finest short stories ever written. It contains many signature elements of Tolstoy's writings including detailed descriptions of the Russian characters in a rural setting: "man, society, and nature" as described by Foote.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Scott Walker on October 18, 2012
Format: Paperback
Not only are Tolstoy's stories enjoyable with their touching detail and, do contain valuable messages, they, are also beneficial in developing our writing skills.

Master and Man: A landowner and his worker travel the winter countryside through a peasant area in Russia drawn by a single horse sledge. The landowner has a business deal waiting for him and time is of the essence. He believes it will come to be lucrative as he gives much thought on it. Defying the weather they end up stranded in a severe snowstorm. The next day they are discovered buried under the snow. The worker is found alive with the frozen body of the landowner on top of him. The horse too is frozen. In the end, the perceived wealth did not matter, only the life of his worker.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eric Maroney on July 25, 2011
Format: Paperback
The Penguin Classics edition of Tolstoy's Master and Man and Other Stories contains some short story gems we would expect in Tolstoy collection.

Most have the religious sensibility of Tolstoy's later years, and only stories like "Neglect a Spark and the House Burns Down" is somewhat obvious and thereby heavy handed. The others are masterpieces of storytelling and message melded into one. "Three Hermits," "Two Old Men," "How Much Land Does a Man Need" are all famous Tolstoy stories, part fable, part wish-fulfillment, all fully crafted and realized.

Tolstoy at this best shows how short fiction can be an excellent vehicle to express religious and theological ideas without getting overpowered by them. The best of his stories in this vein walk a fine line between the power of the idea and the magic of storytelling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
What a story! This is a remarkably effective simple tale of two men, a businessman and his trusty assistant, who set off in the afternoon of a cold and bitter Russian day with a reliable horse in search of a town where a business meeting is to take place. They get lost, and a challenge for survival ensues. Read alongside Jack London's "To Build a Fire," and you will never see a pretty snowfall in the same way again.

If you are unfamiliar with the epic works of Tolstoy, this is as good an introduction to his world as any of the rest. Well worth the hour or so it will take to read.

Note: Best enjoyed while wrapped in the arms of a loved one and while drinking a cup of hot coffee in front of a fireplace.
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By CW on December 24, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this book Tolstoy is focused on religious aspect of life. He explains the relationship between people as well as the expectation of afterlife. There are extraordinary characters and stories which are connected with religious supernatural beliefs. He does a great job telling us stories that we can enjoy reading. He makes people think about death and after. It is a real good book particularly religious people will love it.
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