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Tolstoy (Anglais) Relié – 23 mai 1988

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4,7 étoiles sur 5 16 commentaires provenant des USA

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11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Tolstoy In Situ 29 mai 2010
Par Kindle Customer - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
A.N. Wilson's biography of Tolstoy is quite different from a traditional by the dates hagiography. Instead, Wilson succeeds both in telling the story of Tolstoy's life and placing it in the turbulent times in which he lived. The result is a very satisfying work that ranges widely in Russian history, Russian literature and a touch of Christian theology. Wilson's writing also departs from the typical just-the-facts narrative of so many biographies; his own observations and wit are laced through the book. Mostly that style is very effective, although occasionally I felt like Wilson was simply showing off his erudition.

Beyond simply reporting the details of Tolstoy's life, Wilson offers an overview of most of Tolstoy's fiction and some additional analysis of his non-fiction work, particularly his later life essays on religion and government. One of the great insights in the book is how carefully Wilson ties the events and characters in War and Peace and Anna Karenina to the people who shaped Tolstoy's life. While it is a commonplace to say that novelists recycle themselves in their work to some degree, Wilson demonstrates how Tolstoy's life and fiction were thoroughly interwoven. For me, Wilson's analyses of Tolstoy's other fiction was so compelling that I immediately added a number of them to my short-term reading list.

It is not possible to discuss Tolstoy without considering the era in which he lived and his own role in 19th century Russian history. Tolstoy lived through the period in which Russia awoke from centuries of torpid slumber as the nascent intelligentsia and later the radicals sowed the seeds of the Russian revolution and the tragedy that became 20th century Russia. As others have done, Wilson tells how Russia's tiny educated class grew increasingly hostile to the entrenched and largely repressive monarchy and bureaucracy. While Wilson's focus is one Tolstoy's personal disaffection, and how Tolstoy's idiosyncratic quest for God shaped the evolution of his views, he also puts in the context of the growing atmosphere of radicalization. Wilson also makes the point that as Tolstoy's charismatic cult grew, many of his followers were indifferent to or cared little about his literary works. To them he was simply a holy man who would no more traffic in the machinery of the Tsar. One fact that I had not known was that Tolstoy's views on disengagement were an influence on Gandhi's thinking about passive resistance to government.

For all these reasons I highly recommend this biography.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Great Bio 15 février 2014
Par reading man - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Tolstoy has had many excellent biographers, starting with Almyer Maude, and even a writer of lightweight literary biographies like Henri Troyat had done justice to a fascinating subject.

But A.N. Wilson's bio is one of the best since Maude (who had the inestimable advantage of knowing Tolstoy), the one to read if you can't read Russian but want an exhaustive study with a strong point of view.

Wilson is keener on Tolstoy the artist than on Tolstoy the man, but that seems to be inevitable given the wrong turn that Tolstoy took in later life--from supreme artist to half-baked "prophet". I wonder if anyone could be called a Tolstoyan in the sense that she's a philosophical follower of the Count rather than an admirer of his two great novels? If so, I certainly don't want to meet her!!
1 internautes sur 2 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Insanity Translated 15 janvier 2015
Par Cabin Dweller - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
As I begin, it is worth noting that death is all of the horrible things we deal with in our nightmares and daily thoughts and ongoing fears, but the death scene of Tolstoy, something I have now seen in the movie The Last Station and read in this book, helps to indicate how death gives us back so much more in terms of awe and artistic preoccupation. For all of the scares we have in life, death rewards us with poems, plots, and images, not to mention philosophy, that make art as big as living. In fact the point of this paragraph is that it makes what is bigger, perhaps much bigger, than anything else in the narrow chambers of our minds and emotional clouds.
One page I did not mark says that Tolstoy was, according to author A.N. Wilson, the greatest Russian writer. After having recently finished Anna Karenina, I cannot agree that any novelist is as great as Dostoevsky. Although I thought often that Wilson is on par with Edmund Wilson for biography, somehow I find that judgment out of line. Remove that sentence and add the Dostoevsky sentences together and it would seem and it would seem Wilson was just getting swept away in English grandiosity.
As for other pages, I wish to go in order. There are the Decembrists, starting on page 75, referring to an event three years before Tolstoy’s birth but the revolution that might have been of the century, just as 1917 was the revolution that came to pass of the twentieth. Over and over again, Wilson returns to Tolstoy’s frustration with turning these Pushkin-era freedom fighters into novel form. It never came, which alone could state my case for Dostoevsky. In essence, there are only two “great” Tolstoy novels as this one never came to be. It was Nicolas I, incidentally, currently in power. And it was somewhere along these lines in the book that I realized that life is, aside from death, most of all money and sex. If this is the case, then Freud and Marx cornered it, modern life, first and foremost. With the names on these pages I also find the name I was expecting, Gogol, for his original Russian “poem,” but also something “funnier,” M. E. Saltykov-Shchedrin’s The Golovlyov Family.
This book is also full of name-dropping anecdotes. On page 160, young Tolstoy has most been affected by Charles Dickens. The Russian was in London and shared the same space in a lecture hall with the man who had already published A Christmas Carol. One creative story relished by Wilson involves getting lost in translation, that the Russian thought the Londoner was lecturing on education when more likely he was acting out Scrooge’s encounter with one of his ghosts. After all of what becomes of Tolstoy later in his life, it is pardonable to forget that before War and Peace he was a revolutionary kind of school headmaster.
The scope of the life then widens as the most famous novel is published. It becomes difficult to discuss Lev Nikolayevich without direct correlations to Tchaikovsky, Stalin, Gorky, and later Anton Chekov, people who moved in direct reaction to the latest artistic movements or implications trending from the Polyana estate. Stalin refused to censor him in the 1930s for what appears to be unknown reasons, unless national pride alone. Gorky was a disciple, but one who would fall in too heavily with the revolution, and Chekov was a most literary disciple who pondered Tolstoy’s death in their close relationship, but who would die from TB years sooner. Dostoevsky and Tolstoy, for the record, never met, and at one point it is clear that Tolstoy attempts The Devils in his own short work and never finished Brothers Karamazov. In his least effective writing Tolstoy targets Shakespeare as unrealistic in the development of characters.
Through War and Peace and onto Anna Karenina, the biography then becomes a shadow whose most important job is to trace characters in fiction to the real life turmoil, usually it is turmoil, in the family. Levin, that strong character who represents peasants, work, and fidelity to so well, it turns out is a self-portrait of the aging author. On page 279, “The maid in Levin’s house, Agafya Mikhayovna, has exactly the same name as one of Tolstoy’s maids at Yasnaya Polyana … Levin’s proposal to Kitty is exactly the same as the way in which Tolstoy proposed to Sofya Andryevna.” Turgenev, it is said, happens to like only the scenes which I found most important, “the races, the mowing, the hunting,” and like me he found the second part less engaging.
Not because of literature but because of Sofya, the second half of the biography remains interesting. There is cat and mouse with her for all that she does in her husband’s behalf business-wise, keeping the property and the volume publications in house. She loves him more than otherwise, although she does follow a musician that later is filtered into another Tolstoy work. She was intelligent in so many comments, according to Wilson, but she was also erratic and suffered bouts of insanity that did not have to result directly from losing a competition for her husband’s affection. There were the 13 childbirths and the six deaths, not just the Mary Lincoln prototype of jealousy and sideline-syndrome. She was a great employee of her husband’s, and when the Paul Giamatti character, Chertkov, seems much more to her husband’s artistic liking, she has the right to legitimate anger, although this anger was seen by others in the family and in the entourage to be a matter of the lover scorned.
Mixed in with all of these alternate periods and figures in the writer’s life is that general trend toward the release of ego, which in this case is the pursuit of Jesus’ virtue and the mantra that property is theft. More often that agreeing with Tolstoy’s stance, Wilson cites how the literary genius was not a genius in these efforts to be saintly in such a hellish countryside. I am reminded that there is no virtue in an old man’s chastity.
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A tortured soul 17 mai 2014
Par M. Walsh - Publié sur
Format: Broché Achat vérifié
Having read tow of Tolstoy's major works, War and Peace, and Anna Karenina, this biography gave an insight into the man, and the issues he struggled with all his life. The reasoning that he went through to reach his conclusions make for enjoyable and anything but lighthearted reading. Also, the backdrop of Russia, known only superficially in the West, is edifying.
1 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 One of my vavorite authors 3 septembre 2013
Par Richard - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
I bought it because of A N Wilson the author. Former prof of English at Oxford. His sentences are beautiful and his organization of voluminous material is so very palatable. I read his bio of C S Lewis and watch for his works.
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