A Confession
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A Confession

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  2,419 ratings  ·  197 reviews
My life came to a standstill. I could breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and I could not help doing these things; but there was no life, for there were no wishes the fulfillment of which I could consider reasonable. If I desired anything, I knew in advance that whether I satisfied my desire or not, nothing would come of it. Had a fairy come and offered to fulfil my desires I...more
Paperback, 60 pages
Published June 1st 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1882)
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brian
in his 50's, a severely panicked and depressed tolstoy wished for the strength to kill himself, but couldn't do it. instead he wrote this book detailing his discovery that life is 'evil and meaningless'. the first half is simply astonishing: i can't recall reading a more honest description of a life lived under the shadow of the inevitability of death; much less from a man who was, at the time, one of the world's most famous people. tolstoy's Confession is staggering in its simplicity, which is...more
هالةْ أمين
يقول الشيخ عبدالله الهدلق:

‏" السيرة الذاتية في تراثنا العربي قليلة جدا بالنسبة إلى موروثنا من فنون التأليف الأخرى، وذلك لأن ثقافتنا تقبّح الحديث عن النفس على أي صورة كان
‏وأما في التراث الغربي فقد ساعدت فكرة " الاعتراف " الكنسية على رواج كتب السيرة الذاتية ، وأشهر سيرة في المكتبة الغربية قديما كتاب
"اعترافات القديس أوغستين"
وفي المكتبة الغربية الحديثة "اعترافات جان جاك روسو " ودلالة التسمية هنا " اعترافات " ذات إيحاء كنسي.
.
وكما نرى في كتاب تولستوي هذا المسمى بـ"اعترافات تولستوي"
يتحدث فيها عن رحلته...more
Joe
It shouldn't surprise you when it happens, but it always does: you read someone's thoughts from over a hundred years ago and they mirror yours, exactly, in content if not in eloquence. Tolstoy's struggle extrating a faith he needs from a doctrine he abhors is a nearly universal intellectual journey.

The book is most valuable for two reasons: it explains how the irrational conclusions of fate actually fit into a system of reason, by changing the expectations of reason, and it details how denomina...more
Ahmad
کتاب غیرداستانی «اعتراف من»، اثر تولستوی، در حوزه فلسفه و تفکر فلسفی است. این کتاب نخستین‌بار در سال 1386 منتشر شد، و به گفته مترجم در «جام جم آنلاین» روز پنجشنبه 17 مرداد 1392 در صفحه فرهنگ و سینما، کتاب از سوی «ارشاد» خریداری شد، ولی در بازار توزیع نشد. اخیرا با ویراستی دیگر، از سوی نشر جامی چاپ و عرضه شده است. ا. شربیانی
Hammad Ali
Love Tolstoy but judging by this book Tolstoy would have made a horrible dinner companion (or be really really bad at small talk).
"The fish is really good"

Tolstoy: "It is no good deceiving oneself. It is all vanity."

"So how was your day"

Tolstoy: "Why does everything exist that exists, and why do I exist? Because it exists"

"The weather is pretty nice today"

Tolstoy: "Surely that question has been asked since man began"

Overall good book, it has provided me with enough "DEEP" one liners that I c...more
Ben
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Victoria
Никогда не думала, что, читая Толстого, у меня будет ощущение того, что человек, живший в позапрошлом веке, может излагать мысли на сто процентов схожие с моими.
Не хочется ничего говорить, если честно. Просто я рада, что эта книга попалась мне в нужное время. И мне страшно представить, через что пришлось пройти автору, чтобы дойти до того, до чего он дошёл в своих размышлениях.
Lynn Beyrouthy
At first glance, you would probably scoff at this typical account of a non-believer who finds his way back to God, something I'm sure everyone has been exposed to during their excruciating years on the desks of Jesuit classrooms. But you would find yourself intrigued and disconcerted when the author is none other than the Russian giant, Leo Tolstoy.

And really, who am I to give a mediocre rating to a book by such an erudite writer and ingenious thinker? It is the man whose anarcho-pacifism inspir...more
Bogdan
This book is not for religious persons only. As an Atheist I was quite touched by Tolstoy's struggle with the absurdity of life and the inevitability of death. Tolstoy looks for answers to life's biggest question "Why?" in the fields of science and philosophy but he is dissatisfied. Reason cannot explain the absurdity of life. Because of this, Tolstoy turns his attention towards faith. I was quite impressed by the hardships he suffered in order to reach a truth that has meaning to him. All those...more
Hani
http://www.abjjad.com/review/1985019910



تولستوي رجل عبقري, ليس في ذلك شك.. ولعلّ ذلك هو ما دفعني إلى اقتناء الكتاب; فقراءة سيرة العباقرة فضلاً عن اعترافاتهم, أمر مُحبّذ -بالنسبة لي على الأقل. ثم ماذا ؟ هل أصبتُ في اقتناءه أم أخطأت ؟..

ممم.. الحقيقة لم يعجبني الكتاب. ربما لأنها لم تكن اعترافات بالمعنى الذي توقعته أو انتظرته; فلقد ظننتُ أن الرجل سيحكي لنا نشأته وطريقة تكوين فكره, ومن الذي أثر عليه, وكيف حصّل علمه وفكره, ولماذا كتب الحرب والسلام وكيف ؟ وماهو تاريخ روسيا في تلك الفترة ووووو... على طري...more
Jan
Shortly after writing Anna Karenina, Tolstoy had a spiritual crisis so severe he had to hide cord lest he would hang himself and cease to go hunting lest he would be tempted by such an easy way of ending his life. If those words sound familiar – they should, they sound very much the same as his description of Levin in Anna Karenina.

What is so startling about this essay is the directness, intensity, and honesty of Tolstoy – regardless of his conclusion. He is sincerely tormented about being unab...more
Mia
While reading this book, I couldn't help but compare Anna Karenina's Levin with A Confession's Tolstoy, and it seems to me that the two had a lot of things in common. One book is a work of fiction, and the other anything but, so this may seem far-fetched. However, a lot of issues that Tolstoy covers in A Confession were already discussed in Anna Karenina. I now know that the infamous hay-mowing scene ACTUALLY took place, that a happy family was actually a step on Tolstoy's road, like Levin's, th...more
Selby
Sometimes you cross paths with a book that perfectly compliments that moment in your life. This just happened with me and Comrade Tolstoy and his Confession. When this happens. When you happen to open, unintentionally, the exact book for your current [fill in the blank- obssession, crisis, etc.] it feels predestined. It is a cosmic dance of serendipitous delight.

Lately I've been perseverating over some thoughts. Pesky thoughts. My partner is a little bored (aka annoyed) of hearing about them. Wh...more
Hans
What makes this book so powerful for me is the fact that I too am struggling with similar issues, questions and doubts that Tolstoy experienced and wrote about in this concise book. I can almost feel the agonizing pain he suffers as he questions life, its meaning and his own purpose in it. I suppose anyone who spends a great deal of time on introspection will sooner or later go through this crisis that he writes about here.

The part that I appreciated the most for its profundity was his statemen...more
TarasProkopyuk
Эта книга действительно очень похожа на настоящею и, главное, искреннюю исповедь великого писателя.

Лев Николаевич Толстой кратко, лаконично и без лишнего описал свой внутренний мир, мир вопросов и ответов, которые мучат как и у каждого из нас. Автор делится своими мыслями и жизненным опытом открывая нам всё то что именно его терзало большую половину жизни и к чему он в итоге пришёл, к каким выводам, и есть ли действительно хоть какое нибудь предназначение у человека вообще.
Shalan al shammary
هذا الكتاب ليس سيرة ذاتية لتولستوي

بل هو سيرة ذاتية لأي إنسان تنقل في حياته وفكره بين الايمان والكفر

لأي إنسان واجه لوحده الأسئلة الكبرى التي أرقت كبار المفكرين

وما زالت تنتصب شامخة أمام كل محاولة للإجابة عليها

هو يشبه بشكل ما كتاب "المنقذ من الضلال" للغزالي

يستحق قراءة متأنية ممن يهتم بهذه الأسئلة

ولا أنصح به لذوي الدخل الفكري المحدود

من لا يعرف أن بإمكانه السباحة لا يجب أن يدخل البحر

هو كتاب مختصر لكنه يحمل بين سطوره سطورا اخرى
Betül
Tolstoy... Always pleasure.
BreAnna Long
I read this in one day...okay, because I had to. All I can say is "Wow!" Tolstoy is the master writer. Although the credibility of the story is questionable (but as Prof. Mark Purves always says, "It's one of those stories that is probably not true, but ought to be."), I am now prepared to shout with Dostoyevsky, "Tolstoy is the god of literature!" I started out reading all the foreword and introduction material, but I had to give up and just read the essay. As soon as I switched, it was like ni...more
Miroku Nemeth
Reading Tolstoy's "Confession", I was amazed at how relevant his questioning of the externally religious life is for Muslims (my adopted faith community), though he himself is questioning his own Orthodox Christian roots. Religious communities need honest questioning and honest dialogue, or else, it seems, it is all just so much theater.

"How many of our youth share Tolstoy's experience--and is our only response to crush them? "My lapse from faith occurred as is usual among people on our level of...more
Scott Bledsoe
Went to Powell's Books in Portland, and I stumbled across this book sitting on one of the shelves. I have never read any of Tolstoy's works, but I know enough to consider him one of, if not the, premier Russian writer of the 19th century. It's a short book, but incredibly poignant and relevant. To anyone who has ever struggled with religious doubt, confusion, or frustration, I cannot stress enough how enlightening this book was. I read it in about 4 hours (plane rides), so it does not take much...more
Rita
As its title, this book is about a confession of Leo tolstoy. a very honest confession. I feel amazed how Leo Tolstoy can write so freely about something so deep and dark. As I read the book I felt like drowning to the deepest of darkness…

In this book Leo Tolstoy, describe about how he was tempted to kill himself, because he thought of how unworthy and meaningless of life. He felt that there something or someone was playing a stupid and evil joke on him by placing him in the world.. how he can...more
Angelique
Những năm cuối đời, Lev Tolstoy đã rời bỏ cuộc sống của một đại Bá Tước giàu có đầy danh vọng, chuyển ra ở một mình trong thái ấp nhỏ vùng nông thôn và sống như người hành hương nghèo khổ nhất. Trong bức thư dài viết cho vợ khước từ sự trở về, ông nói "...sự trở về của tôi bây giờ hoàn toàn không thể được nữa...Cuộc sống không phải là trò đùa, chúng ta không có quyền tự ý vứt bỏ nó đi và đo nó theo chiều dài thời gian cũng không hợp lý. Có thể là những tháng cuối cùng trong đời chúng ta lại quan...more
Philip
Profound and thought-provoking meditation by Tolstoy about his own life as an aristocrat and famous writer who becomes disillusioned with the existence he and his literary and learned peers are living; the vacancy and meaningless of his life and the upper class he belongs to leaves him in an existential crisis. On the verge of suicide yet unable to find the will to kill himself, he decides to break away from his decadent set and embarks on a spiritual quest to find the meaning of life. The menta...more
Saeede Esmailzade
The kind of philosophy that Tolstoy developed in the course of reading the book was really adorable.The device that he uses for shedding light on complex and intricate subjects is the clarity and simplicity of language which is really helpful for those who seek for a straightforward way of understanding philosophical issues. plus, the subject of book can be a widespread problem of whole people in the world.Absurdity is a trouble that we all may face at any age or any period in our life.Tolstoy d...more
Tasneem Tripathi
Tolstoy describes his journey of asking and answering the essential question: "what is my life?" He is self-deprecating, inquisitive, and open-minded throughout the book. He explains his frustration trying to use reason/rational thought to answer a question that lies in the irrational/unreasonable realm. When he realizes his misdirection, he decides to embrace faith. He turns to Christianity, but soon becomes uncomfortable with the discrepancies between what the religion professes and what is pr...more
Yusra Zainab Laghari
Apr 19, 2009 Yusra Zainab Laghari rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all those who know the importance of FAITH in their lives
Wonderful book! it was amazing to read a thinker's quest for God and about his struggle to find the answers to the most basic and fundamental questions of life which even the most learned people tend to ignore and are oblivious of the fact that life is meaningless without FAITH.

I am a muslim and was inspired by many of tolstoy's conclusions which coincide with the teachings of ISLAM.

"Every person comes into the world through the wll of God. And God created man in such a way that each of us can...more
Ibraheem Hamdi
Tolstoy's reiteration of thoughts expounded upon throughout his novels is considered a good crash course in 'practical faith'; a field of knowledge that, I think, is pioneered by him, at least in the way he presents it.

I recommend this book for nowadays' youth who think they have faith-related issues, who think God doesn't exist, or who are humble enough to only silently contest it.

I divest this work of a fifth star not because I that less liked it, but because for me it somehow ended abruptly....more
Yasmine Tarek
رحلة طويلة جدا من الكفر للإيمان ثم الشك في ما يستلزمه الإيمان بقبول أشياء يرفضها العقل متمثلة في شكل من أشكال الخرافات..كادت الرحلة تنتهي بالانتحار في مرات كثيرة عندما كان تولستوي يهتدي إلى معنى واحد أن الحياة شر ويسأل نفسه لماذا لا يضع حد لها بالانتحار؟ في سبيل معرفة إجابة على سؤاله لماذا أعيش تحول من منطق تحكيم العقل في كل الظواهر إلى منطق الإيمان ولو بأشياء غير مفهومة أو متناقضة وبدخوله ساحة الإيمان ترائى له الوجه الأخر من استغلال الإيمان في أشياء دنيوية بحتة ما دفعه إلى قبول الإيمان فكرا وحل...more
Thorne Clark
Tolstoy's Confession reads like a narrative, in that he neatly describes his goal, his failures, his changes, and about halfway through he begins sharing his answers. He has a really compelling argument about faith serving as the link to the "infinite" required to make any understanding of the meaning of life satisfying. While he ultimately doesn't end up making a big dent in advancing possible answers to "What is the meaning of life?", I found his descriptions of faith to be very useful for res...more
Capsguy
What's needed to be said about this has been repeated by thousands upon thousands.

Almost everyone feels this at least once in their life, trying to find reasoning behind their existence. Tolstoy's 'A Confession' depicts Tolstoy's struggle to find reasoning for finite life in a universe of perpetuity.

To be honest, I find nothing special with this, other than it depicts what we all feel. Age has nothing to do with the literary merit, as made clear in the work itself. This has been the question of...more
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128382
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой; commonly Leo Tolstoy in Anglophone countries) was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist fiction. Many consider To...more
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“Wrong does not cease to be wrong because the majority share in it.” 576 likes
“The only absolute knowledge attainable by man is that life is meaningless.” 89 likes
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