Anna Karenina and Others
Liza Knapp University of Wisconsin Press, 2018 Library of Congress PG3365.A63K63 2016 | Dewey Decimal 891.733
Liza Knapp offers a fresh approach to understanding Tolstoy's construction of his novel Anna Karenina and how he creates patterns of meaning. Her analysis draws on works that were critical to his understanding of the interconnectedness of human lives, including The Scarlet Letter, Middlemarch, and Blaise Pascal's Pensées. Knapp concludes with a tour-de-force reading of Mrs. Dalloway as Virginia Woolf's response to Tolstoy's treatment of Anna Karenina and others.
In the French filmmaker Robert Bresson’s cinematography, the linkage of fragmented, dissimilar images challenges our assumption that we know either what things are in themselves or the infinite ways in which they are entangled. The “bond” of Sharon Cameron’s title refers to the astonishing connections found both within Bresson’s films and across literary works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, and Kafka, whose visionary rethinkings of experience are akin to Bresson’s in their resistance to all forms of abstraction and classification that segregate aspects of reality.
Whether exploring Bresson’s efforts to reassess the limits of human reason and will, Dostoevsky’s subversions of Christian conventions, Tolstoy’s incompatible beliefs about death, or Kafka’s focus on creatures neither human nor animal, Cameron illuminates how the repeated juxtaposition of disparate, even antithetical, phenomena carves out new approaches to defining the essence of being, one where the very nature of fixed categories is brought into question. An innovative look at a classic French auteur and three giants of European literature, The Bond of the Furthest Apart will interest scholars of literature, film, ethics, aesthetics, and anyone drawn to an experimental venture in critical thought.
Masculine codes of honor and dominance often are expressed in acts of violence, including war and terrorism. In Disarming Manhood: Roots of Ethical Resistance, David A.J. Richards examines the lives of five famous men—great leaders and crusaders—who actively resisted violence and presented their causes with more humane alternatives.Richards argues that Winston Churchill, William Lloyd Garrison, Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, and Leo Tolstoy shared a psychology whose nonviolent roots were deeply influenced by a loving, maternalistic ethos deeply influenced by the teachings of Jesus of Nazareth. Drawing upon psychology, history, political theory, and literature, Richards threads a connection between these leaders and the maternal figures who profoundly shaped their responses to conflict. Their lives and work underscore how the outlook of maternal care givers and women enables some men to resist the violent responses characteristic of traditional manhood. The voice of nonviolent masculinity has empowered important democratic movements of ethical transformation, including civil disobedience in South Africa, India, and the United States. Disarming Manhood demonstrates that as Churchill, Garrison, Gandhi, King, and Tolstoy carried out their various missions they were galvanized by teachings whose ethical foundations rejected unjust violence and favored peaceful alternatives. Accessibly written and free of jargon, Disarming Manhood's exploration of human nature and maternal bonds will interest a wide audience as it furthers the understanding of human nature itself and contributes to the fields of developmental psychology and feminist scholarship.
In the essays brought together in this volume Shestov presents a profound and original analysis of the thought of three of the most brilliant literary figures of nineteenth-century Europe—Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche—all of whom had a decisive influence on the development of his own philosophy.
According to Shestov, the greatness of these writers consists in their deep probing into the question of the meaning of life and the problems of human suffering, evil, and death. That all three of them at times abandoned their probing and lapsed into the banality of preaching does not diminish their stature but shows only that there are limits to man’s capacity for looking unflichingly at reality.
Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche are united, in Shestov’s view, by their common insight into the essential tragedy of human life—a tragedy which no increase in scientific knowledge and no degree of political and social reform can significantly mitigate but which can ultimately be redeemed only by faith in the omnipotent God proclaimed by the Bible.
In all three of his subjects Shestov sees a rebellion against the tyranny of idealist systems of philosophy, as well as a recognition that the supposedly universal and necessary laws discovered by science and the moral principles for which autonomous ethics claims eternal validity do not liberate man but rather crush and destroy him. This rebellion and this recognition are often suppressed by Dostoevsky, Tolstoy, and Nietzsche, byt they break forth again and again with overwhelming power.
In this provocative discussion of the novels and stories of the two celebrated Russian writers and of the essays and aphorisms of the solitary German philosopher whose genius was finally extinguished by insanity, Shestov finds ideas and insights that other critics have overlooked or the important of which they have not adequately understood. The value of his achievement has been widely recognized. Prince Mirsky, for example, does not hesitate to say in his authorative history of Russian literature that, as far as Dostoevsky is concerned, Shestov is undoubtedly his greatest commentator.
The reader will find in these remarkable studies of the men who exercised the strongest intellectual influence on the young Shestov the beginnings of the Russian philosopher’s own lifelong polemic against idealism, scientism, and conventional morality, as well as the first gropings of the quest for faith in the Biblical God that was to become the leitmotif of all his thinking and writing in the last decades of his life.
Russian writers of the nineteenth century were quite consciously creating a new national literary tradition. They saw themselves self-consciously through Western European eyes, at once admiring Europe and feeling inferior to it. This ambivalence was perhaps most keenly felt in relation to France, whose language and culture had shaped the world of the Russian aristocracy from the time of Catherine the Great.
In How the Russians Read the French, Priscilla Meyer shows how Mikhail Lermontov, Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Lev Tolstoy engaged with French literature and culture to define their own positions as Russian writers with specifically Russian aesthetic and moral values. Rejecting French sensationalism and what they perceived as a lack of spirituality among Westerners, these three writers attempted to create moral and philosophical works of art that drew on sources deemed more acceptable to a Russian worldview, particularly Pushkin and the Gospels. Through close readings of A Hero of Our Time, Crime and Punishment, and Anna Karenina, Meyer argues that each of these great Russian authors takes the French tradition as a thesis, proposes his own antithesis, and creates in his novel a synthesis meant to foster a genuinely Russian national tradition, free from imitation of Western models.
Winner, University of Southern California Book Prize in Literary and Cultural Studies, American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies
Vladimir E. Alexandrov advocates a broad revision of the academic study of literature, proposing an adaptive, text-specific approach designed to minimize the circularity of interpretation inherent in the act of reading. He illustrates this method with the example of Tolstoy's classic novel via a detailed "map" of the different possible readings that the novel can support. The novel Anna Karenina emerges as deeply conflicted, polyvalent, and quite unlike what one finds in other critical studies.
After explaining his new methodology, Bidney identifies and discusses epiphanies in the works of William Wordsworth, Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Matthew Arnold, Alfred Lord Tennyson, Walter Pater, Thomas Carlyle, Leo Tolstoy, and Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Taking his cue from the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard, Bidney postulates that any writer’s epiphany pattern usually shows characteristic elements (earth, air, fire, water), patterns of motion (pendular, eruptive, trembling), and/or geometric shapes. Bachelard’s analytic approach involves studying patterns of perceived experience—phenomenology—but unlike most phenomenologists, Bidney does not speculate on internal processes of consciousness. Instead, he concentrates on literary epiphanies as objects on the printed page, as things with structures that can be detected and analyzed for their implications.
Bidney, then, first identifies each author’s paradigm epiphany, finding that both the Romantics and the Victorians often label such a paradigm as a vision or dream, thereby indicating its exceptional intensity, mystery, and expansiveness. Once he identifies the paradigm and shows how it is structured, he traces occurrences of each writer’s epiphany pattern, thus providing an inclusive epiphanic portrait that enables him to identify epiphanies in each writer’s other works. Finally, he explores the implications of his analysis for other literary approaches: psychoanalytical, feminist, influence-oriented or intertextual, and New Historical.
Anna A. Berman’s book brings to light the significance of sibling relationships in the writings of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky. Relationships in their works have typically been studied through the lens of erotic love in the former, and intergenerational conflict in the latter.
In close readings of their major novels, Berman shows how both writers portray sibling relationships as a stabilizing force that counters the unpredictable, often destructive elements of romantic entanglements and the hierarchical structure of generations. Power and interconnectedness are cast in a new light. Berman persuasively argues that both authors gradually come to consider siblinghood a model of all human relations, discerning a career arc in each that moves from the dynamics within families to a much broader vision of universal brotherhood.
In this highly original interdisciplinary study incorporating close readings of literary texts and philosophical argumentation, Henry W. Pickford develops a theory of meaning and expression in art intended to counter the meaning skepticism most commonly associated with the theories of Jacques Derrida.
Pickford arrives at his theory by drawing on the writings of Wittgenstein to develop and modify the insights of Tolstoy’s philosophy of art. Pickford shows how Tolstoy’s encounter with Schopenhauer’s thought on the one hand provided support for his ethical views but on the other hand presented a problem, exemplified in the case of music, for his aesthetic theory, a problem that Tolstoy did not successfully resolve. Wittgenstein’s critical appreciation of Tolstoy’s thinking, however, not only recovers its viability but also constructs a formidable position within contemporary debates concerning theories of emotion, ethics, and aesthetic expression.
Assessing the relevance of Tolstoy's thought and teachings for the current day, Tolstoy and His Problems: Views from the Twenty-First Century is a collection of essays by a group of Tolstoy specialists who are leading scholars in the humanities and social sciences.
In the broadest sense—with essays on a variety of issues that occupied Tolstoy, such as nihilism, mysticism, social theory, religion, Judaism, education, opera, and Shakespeare—the volume offers a fresh evaluation of Tolstoy's program to reform the ways we live, work, commune with nature and art, practice spirituality, exchange ideas and knowledge, become educated, and speak and think about history and social change.
Tolstoy on Screen
Edited by Lorna Fitzsimmons and Michael A. Denner Northwestern University Press, 2015 Library of Congress PG3415.F54T69 2014 | Dewey Decimal 791.436
Scholarship on screen adaptation has proliferated in recent years, but it has remained largely focused on English- and Romance-language authors. Tolstoy on Screen aims to correct this imbalance with a comprehensive examination of film and television adaptations of Tolstoy’s fiction. Spanning the silent era to the present day, these essays consider well-known as well as neglected works in light of contemporary adaptation and media theory. The book is organized to facilitate a comparative, cross-cultural understanding of the various practices employed in different eras and different countries to bring Tolstoy’s writing to the screen. International in scope and rigorous in analysis, the essays cast new light on Tolstoy’s work and media studies alike.
Tolstoy's Major Fiction
Edward Wasiolek University of Chicago Press, 1981 Library of Congress PG3410.W3 | Dewey Decimal 891.733
"Edward Wasiolek, after much valuable work on Dostoevsky, has now written one of the best books on Tolstoy in recent decades. This may be in part because of his preoccupation with Tolstoy's most challenging contemporary, and the resulting sense of their unlikeness in a common pursuit. But there are other, unspeculative reasons. Few studies of Tolstoy have been so carefully pondered and so firmly organized to convince; and not so many show the flexibility and variety of its approach. Wasiolek proposes an essentially simple and consistent reading, but he advances it with subtlety and discretion."—Henry Gifford, Times Literary Supplement
By examining Tolstoy's techniques and analyzing the structure of War and Peace, essayist George R. Clay offers a fresh perspective and jargon-free analysis of one of the world's greatest novels. Beginning with Tolstoy's strategies, devices, and structural elements, Clay moves beyond previous approaches and reveals the novel's larger thematic concerns, showing how all the pieces fit into an overall pattern that he calls the phoenix design.
This latest volume in the acclaimed AATSEEL series assembles fact and informed opinion on the most celebrated work of Tolstoy's later period. Published for the first time are a new stylistic analysis of the novel by C.J.G. Turner and a psychological commentary by Daniel Rancour-Laferriere. Reprinted work includes landmark papers on the symbolism of the novel by Rimgaila Salys and on its central thematic concerns by George J. Gutsche. Completing the volume is Philip Rogers's discussion of the novel from the point of view of the comparatist. Editor Gary R. Jahn adds both factual and interpretative annotations to the novel.
Andrew D. Kaufman The Ohio State University Press, 2010 Library of Congress PG3410.K376 2011 | Dewey Decimal 891.733
Understanding Tolstoy recreates Tolstoy’s lifelong artistic and spiritual journey, taking readers to the core of the writer’s world through nuanced close readings of his major novels and novellas. Andrew D. Kaufman’s broad and accessible analysis of Tolstoy’s work speaks to the ways in which Tolstoy, despite living in a manner far removed from the experiences of most modern-day Americans, is still applicable and contemporary.
From a reconstruction of Olenin’s search for truth in The Cossacks to an illuminating analysis of Hadji-Murat’s tragic last stand, Understanding Tolstoy brings to life the fascinating parallels between Tolstoy’s personal quest and his characters’ journeys. Whether writing about the ballrooms and battlefields of War and Peace or the spectrum of sexual and spiritual attachments in Anna Karenina, Tolstoy emerges as a vital, searching artist who continually grows and surprises us, yet is driven by a single, unchanging belief in universal human truths.
Understanding Tolstoy is a treasure trove of critical and philosophical insights that will appeal to Tolstoy aficionados of all kinds, from advanced scholars to undergraduate students. The book offers an eminently readable guide to those entering Tolstoy’s world for the first time or the tenth, and it invites them to grapple alongside the writer and his characters with the most urgent existential questions of our time, and all times.