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

4.5 out of 5 stars 28 customer reviews

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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.

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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: 5.3 x 1.2 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #64,462 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Paperback
Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy is another entry in the Perennial series "Great Short Works of....". In it we see the author of "War and Peace" and "Anna Karenina" doing himself proud in excellently written short novels and stories. The pieces are:
1. Family Happiness: Masha is the stortyller in this beautiful tale of the passage of time and the reality of love, She tells of her marriage to a much older man, her boredom on a rural estate and her disillusionment with society. Masha matures in the tale and is along with Natasha in "War and Peace" and Anna Karenina another example of Tolstoy's ability to see life through the eyes of female characters.
2. The Cossacks is an autobiographical short novel of the life of a Moscow officer who spends time in a Cossack village experiencing love, war and exposure to an alien culture. This is an exciting and moving tale.
3. The Death of Ivan Ilych is an unforgettable story of the death of a judge. We see him bid farwell to life and prepare for the great unkown as he screams in pain and forsakes the hypocrisies of life. Sad and memorable.
4. The Devil is a cautionary story of how a man is possessed by lust. The rich landowner seduces a peasant girl destroying his marriage and his life. Tolstoy was himself a man who had a lively libido and dueled with lust throughout his long life.
5. The Kreutzer Sonata deals with a husband's jealousy. He kills his wife who may (or may not!) have been sleeping with a violinist who enjoys playing Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata. One of the world's greatest short stories.
6. Master and Man. A greedy businessman and his servant set out for a business appointment during a terrible snowstorm. There sled is lost. The story is a vivid tale of survival and loss.
7.
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