"The previous history of Ivan Ilych was the simplest, the most ordinary, and the most awful."
Brilliant. Tolstoy tackles raw emotion in a powerful, tas"The previous history of Ivan Ilych was the simplest, the most ordinary, and the most awful."
Brilliant. Tolstoy tackles raw emotion in a powerful, tasteful form. I put off reading this one for quite some time out of fear but I should have known that I could trust Tolstoy. This masterpiece compels you to examine the baseness of empty, materialistic values and reminds us to take heed in the way we choose to live our lives ... to be able to discern what is right from what is merely acceptable and conventional. ...more
While it's true that Tolstoy harbored some misogynist views towards women, it's something I'm willing to look past: That's sort of a given, consideri While it's true that Tolstoy harbored some misogynist views towards women, it's something I'm willing to look past: That's sort of a given, considering the consciousness of the 19th century. Tolstoy was impeccably honest in his writings; I couldn't help but feel he was at war with his opinion of Anna, who is in fact, an anti-heroine. I would have loved to see Tolstoy live at least another hundred years; all great minds are self-transcending.
The book covers a broad spectrum of philosophical reflection: Theology, nihilism, aesthetics, ethics, psychology ... It really is a very beautiful piece of work, the book has a heartbeat.
Like all great art, Anna Karenina transcends beyond Tolstoy's original intent, becoming its own entity . . . with all the utmost respect regarding the author, of course ( I LOVE Tolstoy, despite his inclination to preach through his work ). Everyone walks away from the book with something different, uniquely their own. Whether that's something negative or positive is up to you.
"The longer Levin mowed, the oftener he felt the moments of unconsciousness in which it seemed that the scythe was mowing by itself, a body full of life and consciousness of its own, and as though by magic, without thinking of it, the work turned out regular and precise by itself. These were the most blissful moments."
"Now nothing mattered: going or not going to Vozdvizhenskoe, getting or not getting a divorce from her husband. All that did not matter. The only thing that mattered was punishing him. When she poured out her usual dose of opium, and thought that she had only to drink off the whole bottle to die, it seemed to her so simple and easy that she began musing with enjoyment on how he would suffer, and repent and love her memory when it would be too late."
Do yourselves a favor and read War and Peace! Prior to picking this up I had immersed myself in nihilism and at times it seemed as though I would neveDo yourselves a favor and read War and Peace! Prior to picking this up I had immersed myself in nihilism and at times it seemed as though I would never snap out of it. The sheer size of this novel discourages many in delving into it but despite its vastness it is not at all superfluous. War and Peace brought me into the light once again. It has done more for my peace of mind than the Bible (although I could never admit that to my mother). I could try in vain to convey the importance of this masterpiece but it isn't necessary. Allow Tolstoy to speak for himself and read War and Peace! I finished this not 2 weeks ago and already I want to pick it up a second time.
One of my favorite passages: The personification of the oak. It stands as a symbol of bitter truth, the hopelessness of dreams; But after Andrey's stay with the Rostovs he sees the oak in a new light, full of life. The contrast of the two conflicting personifications supports my theory, my idea: that trees are empathic. They never TELL you how to feel, they merely reflect your own thoughts and feelings albeit in a very powerful way.
"There is perhaps no other modern author in whose works the "totality of objects" is so rich, so complete as in Tolstoy. We need not think only of War and Peace in which every detail of the war is shown, from the court and the general staff down to the guerrilla fighters and prisoners of war and every phase of peaceful private life from birth to death . . . The "totality of the objects" in Tolstoy always expresses, in immediate, spontaneous, and palpable form, the close bond between individual destinies and the surrounding world." --From The Historical Novel (1936 - 1937)
"What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind-then all the rest is prejuBrilliant. An essential must read.
"What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind-then all the rest is prejudice, simply artificial terrors and there are no barriers and it's all as it should be." ...more