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Group Reads Archive - 2012 > Resurrection - Part One - June 4-24

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message 1: by Silver (new)

Silver I was quite stricken by the opening paragraph:

Though men in their hundreds of thousands had tried their hardest to disfigure that little corner of the earth where they had crowded themselves together, paving the ground with stones so nothing could grow, weeding out every blade of vegetation, filling the air with fumes of coal and gas, cutting down trees and driving away every beat and every bird- spring however, was still spring, even in the town. The sun shone warm, the grass wherever it had not been scraped away, revived and showed green, not only on the narrow strips of lawn on the boulevards, but between the paving stones as well as the birches, the poplars, and the wild cherry trees where unfolding their sticking fragrant leaves, and the swelling buds were bursting on the lime trees; the jackdaws, the sparrows and the pigeons were cheerfully getting their nests ready for the spring, and the flies, warmed by the sunshine, buzzed gaily around the walls. All here happy - plants, birds, insects and children.

I thought this was a beautiful opening to the book, and I loved the vivid and lush desiccation of it. I also thought it made for quite an interesting contrast to the rather fowl air of the prison which is described soon after:

So now, in conformity to the with this order, on the 28th day of April, at eight o' clock in the morning, the head warder entered the dark, fowl-smelling corridor of the women's section of the prison

It is interesting, the way in which the book starts out with this vision of rebirth, showing even the way in which nature has managed to comeback and triumph against mans oppression of it and attempts to stamp it out. The image of this woman stepping out into this bright warm sunny day from the dark depths of the glum prison, give that idea of rejuvenation and rebirth.

I also really like the contrasting images between the hopeful and the gloomy that are portrayed within this first chapter. It starts out speaking of how much nature has been destroyed by man, but than goes on to show this very happy spring scene with birds signing and children playing, and yet there is still a somberness in the air.

But grown up people - adult men and women - never left off cheating and tormenting themselves and one another. It was not this spring morning which they considered scared and important, not the beauty of God's world, given to all creatures to enjoy - a beauty which inclines the heart to peach, to harmony and to love. No, what they considered sacred and important where their own devices fro wielding power over each other

I think there can also be seen a reaction to the industrial revolution within the descriptions offered of nature, and man's destruction of it, and how man does not hold natures beauty as sacred.


message 2: by Faye (new)

Faye The opening paragraph was absolutely beautiful. I've taken down the first sentence for my quotes book.

So far, I'm amazed at how masterfully he's painting us a picture of the bleak life these prostitutes led, without sounding either judgmental or approving of the lifestyle, and without going into too graphic detail. And I agree, his choice of beginning the story in the spring is a perfect contrast to what's been going on in this woman's life.


MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) Hmmm . . . I really wish the book would come in at the library. I am so not into reading on a computer screen, otherwise I'd download a copy.


message 4: by Silver (new)

Silver I really enjoyed the way in which the book led up to the scene of the trail and how we are given glimpses of the various people who will be involved, and the waiting for the judge to arrive. I felt that Tolstoy did a good job of building up anticipation and tension for the starting of the trail.

I have also that the life of Nekhlyudov remains me in a lot of ways of what I have read about Tolstoy's own young life, he himself spent his youth as a rouge, drinking, womanizing, brawling, gambling. I remember once reading a quote from one of his diaries in which he said something to the affect of there was not a crime of which he did not commit. I cannot locate where I first read that and do not recall the exact wording.

But in reading this book I wonder how much of it might be a reflection of his own earlier experiences.


message 5: by Faye (new)

Faye It certainly sounds like he's describing Nekhlyudov from personal experience, yes. I found it interesting when he was describing his morning self-grooming routine - he focused so much on covering up dirt and odour, just like he covers up his sins with social niceties.

So far, every male character we've met seems like an arrogant, inconsiderate jerk, taking advantage of people (especially women) wherever they can. It'll be interesting to see whether that changes and for how many of these characters.


message 6: by Silver (new)

Silver Reading this book, I recall a theory I heard once, which stated that in Russian literature women tend to come in two different categories, either the noble prostitute, or the chaste noblewoman.

It is kind of a reflection against the general theory about women in literature of the 19th century, particularly, in which women are usually either whores or Madonna's.

In this book we have Maslova on the one side, the formerly innocent maid who was thrown into a life of destitution and eventually forced into a Brothel house because she was seduced by a man, and now stands accused of murder of which she may be innocent.

And on the other side there stands Princess Korcchagian, though thus far in my reading not much has been revealed about her character yet, in societies view would make a proper match for Nekhlyudov.


message 7: by Christie (last edited Jun 09, 2012 07:26PM) (new)

Christie Lots of interesting insights already about women in Russian literature and the life of Tolstoy--especially useful for someone not well-versed in Russian lit (like me).

I think this book is promising--usually courts and their procedures seem pretty boring to me, but this one promises to be interesting and entertaining (especially getting into the rather vapid minds of the judges and jurors). I'm looking forward to watching the trial develop.


message 8: by Silver (last edited Jun 09, 2012 07:36PM) (new)

Silver Christie wrote: "Lots of interesting insights already about women in Russian literature and the life of Tolstoy--especially useful for someone not well-versed in Russian lit (like me).

I think this book is promis..."


It is kind of funny, while generally speaking I do not find courts and trails to be particularly interesting for some reason I often find I enjoy court scenes in literature, and particularly when dealing with different periods of time and culture it is interesting to see how their legal system worked.

I really enjoyed the scene within the women's section of the prison and seeing the stories of the different women there, it reminded me of the movie Chicago, and particularly sense it seemed like men was the primary reason a lot of those women were there.

I also find some aspects of this book remind of Crime and Punishment in the way in which it deals with questioning both the nature of the legal system itself and the nature of crime, and questions of "guilt" and "innocence."

I am thus far really enjoying this book.


message 9: by Faye (new)

Faye I think these courtroom scenes are so much more interesting because we're getting to know so much about everyone, rather than just watching the trial unfold. They're not just spouting dry facts - they're showing their characters. If only every courtroom scene were written that way!

I'm really enjoying this book, too. :)


message 10: by Silver (new)

Silver One of the things of which I love about Russian literature, is that I find often for me, even with characters who are tremendously flawed, and act in ways that can be quite despicable, and whose behavior I often find rather disagreeable, I still cannot help but to love the characters themselves. Even when they do things of which I find repulsive, there is something about them that I find captivating and draws me in, that I feel I can forgive them. And I am someone has more than once been criticized for being too judgmental of characters, though I also have a habit of liking characters that everyone else hates.

But there is something I find irresistibly likeable about Nekhlyudov.


message 11: by MountainAshleah (last edited Jun 11, 2012 08:05AM) (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) I just started this weekend and my pace is going to be slower. But I am reading along with everyone else, even if I am not commenting online.

My reaction initially is similar to Silver's re. the "noble prostitute." But that seems to be an idea that transcends culture and century (Leaving Las Vegas, anyone?).


message 12: by Soad (new)

Soad (jumping_crickets) | 35 comments I think u like Nekhlyudov because he is human... we all hear that little voice in our heads but we just like him only listen to it as background music (lol) but never really pay attention. The characters in some Russian literature speak with their consciences and thats why we relate to them most of the time, in the end we are all bad people trying to be good people and making a bad job of it.


message 13: by Faye (new)

Faye I just read the "seduction" scene, so I'm mad at Nekhlyudov right now. I think I would have liked him better if he hadn't had that moment of "Wait, I might ruin her life here..." before deciding to ignore it and have his fun anyway because that's what "men" are supposed do. Ugh! I'm sorry, Soad, but I disagree - I can't relate at all to someone who would ignore that initial spark of conscience.

I know he's repenting now, and I'm sure he'll win me over as the book progresses, but that scene was very uncomfortable for me.


message 14: by Silver (new)

Silver MountainShelby wrote: "My reaction initially is similar to Silver's re. the "noble prostitute." But that seems to be an idea that transcends culture and century (Leaving Las Vegas, anyone?). "

Yes I think it is a concept, and a way of viewing women that has become ingrained in many ways within us, and does transcend and still in aspects lingers on. Your bringing up Leaving Las Vegas also made me think of the movie Pretty Woman, which is reflective of this idea.


message 15: by Silver (new)

Silver Faye wrote: "I just read the "seduction" scene, so I'm mad at Nekhlyudov right now. I think I would have liked him better if he hadn't had that moment of "Wait, I might ruin her life here..." before deciding to..."

While I agree what Nekhylydov did was wrong, and I was angry at him in that moment as well for allowing himself to give into his self-serving nature, and making the choice to ignore his own conscious mind, at the same time, I cannot put the full blame of what happened upon him.

He treated Maslova badly, and he did seduce her for the sake of his own pleasure and desire without regard to her, and yet, she made her own choice as well. She also made the choice to give into temptation, she was aware of the risk to her, just as much as she was, and she herself knew the wrongness in the action, but she gave in to her own desire just as much as he did. She also had her moment of struggle, and resistance, which in the end she also ignored.


message 16: by MountainAshleah (last edited Jun 12, 2012 02:04PM) (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) Silver wrote: "MountainShelby wrote: "My reaction initially is similar to Silver's re. the "noble prostitute." But that seems to be an idea that transcends culture and century (Leaving Las Vegas, anyone?). "

Yes..."


I agree, Pretty Woman is the modern prototype of the noble prostitute. Maslova seems a bit too cardboard to me--the burgeoning, thrusting breasts; wide-eyed innocence; the "no no" when she means "yes yes" . . . BUT I certainly hope she gains another layer, if not dimension, as the book progresses. The seduction chapters were like reading an old-fashioned paperback romance! (I quite liked them.)


message 17: by Silver (new)

Silver I loved the dinner scene when Nekhlyudov goes to speak to Maslennikov about the injustices he observed at the prison and while he is speaking to Maslinnikov scraps of the conversation of his dinner guests keep drifting in.

I think this offered an interesting contrast and commentary on society. While Nekhlyudov is concerned by the injustice he has witnessed done to the poor, we see the upper class oblivious in their frivolities.


message 18: by Leanne (new)

Leanne (leanne83) Silver wrote: "I loved the dinner scene when Nekhlyudov goes to speak to Maslennikov about the injustices he observed at the prison and while he is speaking to Maslinnikov scraps of the conversation of his dinner guests keep drifting in..."

I also saw this scene as a statement about the differences between the rich and the poor.

I'm really enjoying the book so far, and find Nekhlyudov to be a very interesting character. I love reading the internal dialogue constantly going through his head, especially when he is struggling with the good and bad parts of his personality. I was disgusted by him during the seduction scene, but his intent to make things right has made me like him again.

I didn't expect Maslova to act the way she did when Nekhlyudov first visited her. It's saddening to see how far she has fallen. I'm looking forward to seeing how her character develops.


message 19: by Silver (new)

Silver I was surprised by Maslova's reaction as well, but in a way I can understand her point. It would seem a bit like too little too late after everything she has already suffered through, and how hard she has tried to forget that part of her life, but now he decides to intrude upon her life again, so that he might feel better about himself.


message 20: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (anzlitlovers) MountainShelby wrote: "Silver wrote: "MountainShelby wrote: "My reaction initially is similar to Silver's re. the "noble prostitute." But that seems to be an idea that transcends culture and century (Leaving Las Vegas, a..."

MountainShelby wrote: "I just started this weekend and my pace is going to be slower. But I am reading along with everyone else, even if I am not commenting online.

My reaction initially is similar to Silver's re. the ..."


I think this is true of most cultures: There's a book called Damned Whores and God's Police which is about the same phenomenon in Australia. And a lot of British classics have the same preoccupation with 'fallen women' and those that are too good to be true.


message 21: by Lisa (new)

Lisa (anzlitlovers) Knowing what we do about Tolstoy's preoccupations in later life (giving away his estates, wearing peasant clothing, forming the Tolstoyan Christian Anarchists etc), I'm seeing the connections with this book written in 1899 (i.e. late in his life) with his political/philosophical beliefs, and I'm wondering how his public might have reacted to the moralising aspects of Nekhlukoff's reflections and behaviour. I suppose the analogy would be if one of our contemporary popular novelists suddenly started lecturing us about everyday lifestyle issues and suggesting we should all give away our houses because owning private property is bad!


message 22: by Booksy (new)

Booksy | 8 comments First of all, Thanks so much Silver for inviting me to join in to discuss this novel with the Group. If not for your invitation, I would have not come around reading this novel. I considered my "Tolstoy education" completed during my university years and didn't really feel the need to go back to this writer and read the works that I hand't read before. And yet, I was so grateful that I was "made" to read it.

I have finished reading it today, so I will try not write any comments that may reveal the ending not to spoil the reading satisfaction of the group.

Overall, I am very happy that I read the novel. there were so many parts of it that shocked me (the description of the conditions of prisoners), made me laugh (Tolstoy's dry humour was at its best when writing the dialogues of the Petersburg's "high society" people), saddened me (reading about the life Katusha led after Nekhludov abandoned her). Tolstoy's descriptive writing ("eyes back and moist as black current", description of Russian dishes, clothes) made me feel warm and as if I was transported back to my Russian childhood, to the suburban country house where I used to spent summers with my family.
I was a little dissatisfied with the ending of the novel, but we will be discussing the ending later.


message 23: by Booksy (new)

Booksy | 8 comments Interestingly enough, in Russian literary criticism word, there was no discussion of Nekhludov's crime towards Katusha. He was unanimously added to the series of so-called "positive characters" of Russian literature. Tolstoy himself never reproached Nekhludov for his act, but only for his thoughts after it. I guess this goes back to the way society lived in the 18th-19th and even most of the 20th century: rape was not anything widely discussed in literature and if happened was always "swept under the carpet". I wouldn't call it "rape" either, as it was partly consensual (as Silver mentioned in one of the comments above).


message 24: by Silver (new)

Silver Booksy wrote: "Interestingly enough, in Russian literary criticism word, there was no discussion of Nekhludov's crime towards Katusha. He was unanimously added to the series of so-called "positive characters" of..."

It is interesting that you mention rape because there was one moment in the story in which I thought it was going to go in that direction. While in the end I believe that Katusha did ultimately consent, as she left her room and went to him. But prior to that if I recall there was a scene when he had her cornered, and I think even pushed her down upon a bed while she resisted and protested and at that time I do not think he did more than kiss her. It was an almost Tess of the D'Urbervilles moment. I do think one can read some ambiguity in what happened between the two of them particularly since rape would not have so openly been remarked upon and only subtly alluded to.


message 25: by Booksy (new)

Booksy | 8 comments Lisa asked about how the novel was accepted by the public and by the wider audience when it was published. The general public, familiar with Tolstoy's charity work (he set up a number of soups kitchens to feed the poor, helped the peasants in many ways and was known for his good deeds) welcomed the publication of the novel, however it was severely censured in its first magazine publication of 1899, reactionary bureaucrats intensified persecution of the author and this led to Tolstoy's excommunication in 1901.
I guess the acceptance of the novel by the general readers was due to the fact that they didn't really see the novel as a form of a preaching or a religious sermon (although it does certainly have the elements of it), the real power of the novel was that it unsurfaced the ugly sides of life: hypocrisy of the judges, the overall inefficiency of the criminal legislation in Russia, the severity of the poverty in the villages, the dreadful conditions of the prisons and the way prisoners were treated, the futility and complete wastefulness of the lives of the upper classes.
In actual fact, the question of what to do with the land ownership remains unanswered: Nekhludov applies himself in earnest to its resolution, and yet it is not really clear what he did in the end (the resolution in the form of the single-tax policy seemed to be too un-Russian and too vague to be implemented to the "Russian soil").


message 26: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) I'm not as far along as some of you, but I'm still here ;}.


message 27: by Faye (new)

Faye I only just read the visitation chapter. I didn't blame her at all for acting the way she did - this guy abandoned her flat at the most critical moment of her life, and now that he's essentially sent her off to Siberia he says he wants to make things right? He'd have to try a little harder than that to convince me if I were in her shoes, that's for sure.

Silver wrote: "It is interesting that you mention rape because there was one moment in the story in which I thought it was going to go in that direction."

It was definitely coming across to me as attempted rape at that point, too. I don't know what to think about the "seduction" scene at all... it seemed to me that Maslova gave in partly out of a sense of self preservation (it was obvious that he would have his way with her whether she wanted him to or not) and partly out of hope that giving him what he wanted would make him stay. She really wasn't given much of a choice in the matter, either way. To me, with my personal sensitivities towards the issue, that should at least be classed as a form of sexual harassment, and it bothers me on as deep a level as if he had raped her. I do appreciate that he's feeling true remorse and wants to fix his mistakes, but wow, that scene was incredibly uncomfortable for me.


message 28: by Silver (new)

Silver In reading this I really could not help but to think of the old saying "Everyone in prison is innocent" which is meant as an ironical statement.

I thought it was a bit amusing that as soon as it became known that there was this influential individual concerning himself with the state of the prisoners all these individuals started coming forward to plead their own cases. And while I know it is Tolstoy's intention to address the injustice of the system, and the corruption and unfairness of society and the nobility, a part of me could not completely ignore the fact that we really only the prisoners own word for their guilt or innocence.

While it is the intention that the reader accept Maslove's own innocence, in retrospect we really have no way of knowing for a certainty.

It is interesting how Tolstoy is able to get the reader to just accept the innocence of the prisoners without question.

It also makes me think of many modern day movies which take a sympathetic view towards prisoners (sometimes even ones whom are actually guilty) and turn them into the heroes of the story and make the audience root for them, while highlighting the corruption of the system and making the law appear as the villains.

It is interesting to see this sort of mentality reflected here. I have always found it a curious inclination and wonder what the psychology behind this sort of mentality might be. Is it about the people being drawn to the underdog? Or is it a way of romanticize and glorifying this underground part of society of which most of us are removed from, and is it a way for us to from a safe distant experiencing vicariously and play out fantasies of our own of that which to us has a certain "exotic" allure for being the unknown. It speaks to that primal part within us all, the inner brutality. We can watch other people doing things of which we ourselves are too afraid to do and we are drawn to their own lack of restraint.


message 29: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) I'm actually finding the characters rather stereotypical up to this point. So far this is a good read, but I'm hungry for a little more depth. then again, I haven't read Tolstoy in more than 20 years, so my memories of AK and W&P may be way off base.


message 30: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Graham | 7 comments I hadn't realised when I started that this was Tolstoy's last novel. Now I know that I understand why it comes across to me as bit preach-y. But I just reached the point where we begin to see a much more interesting side to Katyusha so I'm looking forward to reading on.
By the way, I also just watched The Last Station which I recommend to anyone interested in Tolstoy's later years.


message 31: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) Laurie wrote: "I hadn't realised when I started that this was Tolstoy's last novel. Now I know that I understand why it comes across to me as bit preach-y. But I just reached the point where we begin to see a muc..."

That's a good film.


message 32: by MadgeUK (last edited Jun 20, 2012 01:01AM) (new)

MadgeUK | 86 comments I think I will try to join you on this read as I haven't previously read Resurrection. Tomorrow I am spending a day in hospital (cataract op) so should have plenty of time to make a good start (with one eye!)!

Thankyou too for the links in the Background section from which I learned that the novel is based on Tolstoy's personal experiences of illicit seduction.

I found this extract from one of Shanez' links amusing - times they haven't a-changed!

'When French readers of the serialized translation in 'Echo de Paris' characteristically complained that the love scenes, which they relished, were too infrequent, the businesslike editor had no scruples about omitting the next regular instalment and substituting for it one in which the hero and heroine were again occupied with each other. On the other hand, the editor of 'Cosmopolitan', which had bought first serial rights in the United States, did not hesitate to tone down or delete love passages which he thought might offend the sensibilities of this magazine's respectable middle-class readers. '


message 33: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) MadgeUK wrote: "I think I will try to join you on this read as I haven't previously read Resurrection. Tomorrow I am spending a day in hospital (cataract op) so should have plenty of time to make a good start (wi..."

You are brave! Good luck with the surgery.

I am still reading and with luck may even make it through Part I on schedule.


message 34: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 86 comments Thanks! I had my left eye done earlier in the year and it was a doddle, so not at all brave:)


message 35: by Faye (new)

Faye Yikes, Madge! I hope your surgery goes/went well!


message 36: by Silver (new)

Silver I loved this passage:

"One of the commonest and most generally accepted delusions is that every man can be qualified in some particular way -- said to be kind, wicked, stupid, energetic, apathetic, and so on. People are not like that. We may say of a man that he is more often kind than cruel, more often wise than stupid, more often energetic than apathetic or vice versa; but it could never be true to say of one man that he is kind or wise, and of another that he is wicked or stupid. Yet we are always classifying mankind in this way. And it is wrong. Human beings are like rivers; the water is one and the same in all of them but every river is narrow in some places, flows swifter in others; here it is broad, there still, or clear, or cold, or muddy or warm. It is the same with men. Every man bears within him the germs of every human quality, and now manifests one, now another, and frequently is quite unlike himself, while still remaining the same man.”

I think this touches back to what Soad stated earlier, and one of the reasons why I love Russian literature so much and often find it so relatable. Because it seems many of the Russian's have such an in depth understanding of human nature, and they are often able to capture that balance within their characters, they do not shy away from the darker nature, they understand it as being a part of what makes us a whole human being.

Often it is the case in Russian literature that characters are not entirely heroes, or entirely villains. We learn to love them because of their very flaws.

While Nekhludov is the hero of this story, he is still flawed, and he struggles with himself and his own conscious mind. He has good intentions, and yet he also has moments of regret and doubt where he questions himself, and he is tempted. As when he gives up his first piece of land, and after doing so he is struck with a nostalgia about his land and begins to question if he is really doing the right thing in giving up his land, and he feels the pull back into his old way of life when he is among the noble society and the influences of his old life.

I think one of the things which makes Nekhludov so great, is the fact that he is not above corruption, unlike many hero characters, particularly in literature of this time period who from start to finish ride around on their high horse, morally above everyone else, Nekhludov has to make a willful effort, he battles temptation, he feels the pull of it.


message 37: by Faye (new)

Faye I loved that passage, too. It's so perfectly stated!

And I agree, I think that's the reason why a lot of people don't like Russian literature - the characters behave badly at times, and usually in literature that means the character is a villain. Not so in Russian literature - every character does good AND bad, just like in real life. I think a lot of people find that a hard adjustment to make when they read a Russian novel. Personally, I love it.


message 38: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 86 comments I find many Russian characters very 'operatic', larger than life. Like basso profundo singers. Perhaps it is the deep contrasts in the Russian climate and terrain which makes for this drama.


message 39: by Sarah (last edited Jun 22, 2012 06:29PM) (new)

Sarah I'm loving this book so far. Like several of you have mentioned, it does seem a bit preachy at times, and Nekhlyudov's somewhat sudden spiritual transformation seems a bit, hmm, contrived, at least right now, but other than that I'm pretty invested in the story.

Like several of you, I was struck by the opening paragraph too. If I'm swithering and dithering about whether to read a book, I'll read the first sentence to see whether it shifts the balance enough in favor of reading it, and this one definitely hooked me.

The seduction scene made me uncomfortable too. I didn't really buy that Maslova was into it and got the impression that Nekhlyudov was wrong about thinking that she was.

Chapters 39 and 40 make some really good points and also seem almost comical with how bombastic the ceremony is, and the narrator's matter-of-fact tone about transubstantiation.

It was interesting how in Chapter 44 the narrator talks about Maslova's point of view regarding how she justifies her profession ("In order to sustain any activity, all people are obliged to regard what they are doing as useful and good. ..."). It makes Nekhlyudov seem obtrusive and condescending toward Maslova and her choices, and it almost makes me want him to back off instead of acting so high-and-mighty. But not really because I want to find out what happens! :-)


message 40: by dely (new)

dely | 340 comments I have started the book and have read half of part one.
I am really liking it so far, much better than War and Peace!

I haven't read all your messages because I don't want to read spoilers but I agree with you about the beginning of the book. I have liked also the passages after the trial where Nechljudov understands how he has lived so far and wants to change. I am underlining a lot of sentences and I am so sorry I can't write them here (I am sure my translation would be terrible).


message 41: by MadgeUK (new)

MadgeUK | 86 comments There should be no Spoilers here dely, people are careful what they post so as not to 'spoil' the book for others, which is why we are able to have a discussion.

If anyone thinks they are revealing anything they can put it in parenthesis (view spoiler)


message 42: by dely (new)

dely | 340 comments MadgeUK wrote: "There should be no Spoilers here dely, people are careful what they post so as not to 'spoil' the book for others, which is why we are able to have a discussion.

If anyone thinks they are revealin..."


Thanks!
I hope to finish part 1 today so I can read part 2 with you.


message 43: by dely (new)

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "I was surprised by Maslova's reaction as well, but in a way I can understand her point. It would seem a bit like too little too late after everything she has already suffered through, and how hard ..."

I liked a lot her reaction. I didn't expect this reaction but I was somehow "proud" of her because she understands that Nechljudov is helping her only for himself, though I think he really regrets what he has done. But only with this reaction he could really understand how much evil he has done to her.

I liked a lot also the passage where Tolstoj explains how Maslova lived in a world where her life had a meaning and she had forgotten the evil received by Nechljudov. Now, with Nechljudov's words she is forced to turn back in a cruel world from where she was fled. It is written in chapter 44 and 48. I really enjoyed this understanding and this explanation: you want to escape from a reality that hurts you...you begin to live in a reality made by yourself where you have found an equilibrium and live roughly peacefully...then somebody wants to bring you back in that reality from which you fled because you suffered too much. This is such an important passage for me and I am so glad that Tolstoj was so able to write about it.

We have another "noble prostitute" in Crime and Punishment (view spoiler).


Soad wrote: "I think u like Nekhlyudov because he is human... we all hear that little voice in our heads but we just like him only listen to it as background music (lol) but never really pay attention. The cha..."

True, and Tolstoj wants, in my opinion, also show that it is really difficult to change. Me too, I loved a lot the passage where he writes that every human being is like a river...mess. 36 by Silver.

I like the "preachy" part of this book (it is enlightening) and I agree with everything Tolstoj is writing, all the accusations of corruption, the bad system in the prisons, the superficiality and hypocrisy of the people; and the inner struggle and the desire, but also the difficulty, to change.


message 44: by Laurie (new)

Laurie Graham | 7 comments I think the prison scenes are brilliantly perceptive. It took me a while to be interested enough in Nekhlyudov to care about him but I just finished Part I and now I can't wait to see which way he jumps.


message 45: by MountainAshleah (last edited Jun 25, 2012 08:05AM) (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) dely wrote: "Silver wrote: "I was surprised by Maslova's reaction as well, but in a way I can understand her point. It would seem a bit like too little too late after everything she has already suffered through..."

When I read AK in 1980 (high school), I was frustrated by the "preachy" parts. I only wanted to know about Anna and Vronsky and their story--of course--I was just a young girl. Now, as a much older adult, I am actually enjoying the philosophical passages even more than the Nekhlyudov and Maslova story. Old age ;}.


message 46: by Silver (last edited Jun 25, 2012 12:56PM) (new)

Silver MountainShelby wrote: "When I read AK in 1980 (high school), I was frustrated by the "preachy" parts. I only wanted to know about Anna and Vronsky and their story--of course--I was just a young girl. Now, as a much older adult, I am actually enjoying the philosophical passages even more than the Nekhlyudov and Maslova story. Old age ;}.
..."


I think what people call the "preachy" parts is the reason why I enjoy this novel so much, and personally like it a good deal better than I did AK. Because one of the things that I enjoy to much about Russian literature is the depth of the philosophical questions which it explores. And AK just lacked that for me and read too much like a romance and did not really challenge my intellect or my world perceptions which is what I like in Russian literature.


message 47: by Faye (new)

Faye MountainShelby wrote: "When I read AK in 1980 (high school), I was frustrated by the "preachy" parts. I only wanted to know about Anna and Vronsky and their story--of course--I was just a young girl. Now, as a much older adult, I am actually enjoying the philosophical passages even more than the Nekhlyudov and Maslova story. Old age ;}."

Ugh, that means that I am officially getting old then, LOL! I'm enjoying the "preachy" parts, too. I kind of like it when there's a moral to a story, and Tolstoy likes to tell you in no uncertain terms what the moral of his story is, instead of leaving you to figure it out on your own. And I have to admit, I don't disagree with him for the most part.

I agree with Silver that AK didn't have as much of the philosophizing, and when it finally did get introspective at the end with Levin it felt like too little too late.


message 48: by MountainAshleah (new)

MountainAshleah (mountainshelby) Faye wrote: "MountainShelby wrote: "When I read AK in 1980 (high school), I was frustrated by the "preachy" parts. I only wanted to know about Anna and Vronsky and their story--of course--I was just a young gir..."

I remember at the time thinking the Levin parts were just overwhelmingly boring (because i was so overwhelmingly ill-informed about anything)--it would be interesting to read AK again after 30 years' absence.


message 49: by dely (new)

dely | 340 comments Silver wrote: "I think what people call the "preachy" parts is the reason why I enjoy this novel so much, and personally like it a good deal better than I did AK. Because one of the things that I enjoy to much about Russian literature is the death of the philosophical questions which it explores. And AK just lacked that for me and read too much like a romance and did not really challenge my intellect or my world perceptions which is what I like in Russian literature. "

Do you wanted to say "the depth"?

I have never read Anna Karenina but I have read War and Peace and also in this book there isn't a deep introspection of the characters; there is a little bit but it seemed to me that something was always missing. There is some introspection of the characters, some inner struggle, but W&P is mainly (at least in my opinion) a historical fiction. I have felt the same luck of depth also in The Death of Ivan Ilych.

@ MountainShelby: LOL, it means that I am old too!


message 50: by Silver (new)

Silver dely wrote: "Silver wrote: "I think what people call the "preachy" parts is the reason why I enjoy this novel so much, and personally like it a good deal better than I did AK. Because one of the things that I e..."

I thought that The Death of Ivan Illych was a very deeply philosopshical novel.


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