Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141993 Published March 2020 For sale in North and South America only
An e-book edition will be published.

Leo Tolstoy

Andrei Zorin

Leo Tolstoy

Andrei Zorin

Distributed for Reaktion Books

224 pages | 40 halftones | 5 x 7 3/4
Paper $19.00 ISBN: 9781789141993 Published March 2020 For sale in North and South America only
E-book $19.00 ISBN: 9781789142563 Published March 2020 For sale in North and South America only

When he arrived in Moscow in 1851, a young Leo Tolstoy set himself three immediate aims: to gamble, to marry, and to obtain a post. At that time he managed only the first. The writer’s momentous life would be full of forced breaks and abrupt departures, from the death of his beloved parents and tortuous courtship to a deep spiritual crisis and an abandonment of the social class into which he had been born. He also made several attempts to break up with literature, but each time he returned to writing.
 
In this original and comprehensive biography, Andrei Zorin skillfully pieces together the life of one of the greatest novelists of all time. He offers both an innovative account of Tolstoy’s deepest feelings, emotions, and motives, as reflected in his personal diaries and letters, and a brilliant interpretation of his major works, including his celebrated novels on contemporary Russian society, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and his significant philosophical writings.

Contents
1 An Ambitious Orphan 2 A Married Genius 3 A Lonely Leader 4 A Fugitive Celebrity References Select Bibliography Acknowledgements Photo Acknowledgements
Review Quotes
Economist
“[Tolstoy's] urge to shed distractions and commitments is one of the continuities that Zorin, a cultural historian at Oxford, traces in his beautiful account of Tolstoy's long, astonishing life . . . In an ingenious, seamless approach that distinguishes his biography from others, Zorin treats the events of Tolstoy's life and his writing as a single, indivisible whole.”
Times Literary Supplement
“Zorin provides a skeleton of nineteenth-century Russian history, but his strengths do not lie there, His governing metaphor is not sociopolitical but intensely emotional, taken from Tolstoy’s earliest memory as a swaddled infant: a helpless person irrationally bound, held down by others and desperately wanting out . . . Zorin helps us to move beyond the canonical image of Tolstoy as a fabulously fun-loving, life-affirming parent. Inventive, curious, and charismatic he certainly was.”
Sunday Independent, Dublin
"The figure that emerges from these pages is a complex one. For left-wing progressives, Tolstoy was a reactionary; while conservatives saw him as a self-destructive nihilist. A pious religious fanatic with a messianic complex might be somewhat closer to the truth. But even Christ himself would have found it impossible to live by the perfect moral order Tolstoy was always attempting to build: both in life and in art."
Donald Rayfield, Emeritus Professor of Russian and Georgian, Queen Mary, University of London
“I know of no other biography of Tolstoy as succinct, as objective, as readable, or as thought-provoking as Zorin’s.”
Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, Albert Guérard Professor in Literature, Emeritus, Stanford University
“Zorin’s life of Tolstoy marks the arrival of a new genre. In four densely documented and beautifully written chapters, Zorin has produced a masterpiece where erudition and intellectual elegance intersect.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit https://www.press.uchicago.edu
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