In these two famous short novels, Leo Tolstoy takes readers to the brink of despair. At the end of life, worldly ambition offers no consolation for the spiritually empty soul, but Tolstoy is the master of themes and redemption. He turns his morbid topic into hope, leading toward spiritual awakening. Tolstoy offers his readers a lifetime of perspective on death.
Regarded by many as the world's greatest novel, this is the classic story of Anna Karenina, "grande dame of Petersburg society", who forsakes everything ¿ her marriage, her son, and her position in society ¿ for the dashing Count Vronsky, with tragic consequences.
"The Three Questions" is a short story by Russian author Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy) first published in 1885 as part of the collection "What Men Live By, and Other Tales". The story takes the form of a parable, and it concerns a king who wants to find the answers to what he considers the three most important questions in life. He consults wise men, promising a large sum to anyone who could answer those questions, but their answers were too diverse and did not satisfy the king. So, he goes to a hermit in search of his help. The rest of the story revolves around both of them.
One winter evening a shoemaker finds a mysterious stranger naked and freezing by a shrine in his small village. The shoemaker rescues the man, and takes him home. Though the stranger won’t say where he came from, Simon invites him to work beside him, and stay with his family. As the story unfolds, the stranger transforms, and ultimately reveals an astonishing and deeply moving secret. Late in Tolstoy’s life, after he had written his great masterpieces War and Peace, and Anna Karenina, he underwent a spiritual transformation.
A guard had stepped back into the path of a train and been crushed beneath the wheels. He had been killed instantly. When Anna Karenina arrives at the scene of the horrible accident, it is the beginning of a new and troubling time in her life. Will she ever find happiness with the man she loves? Anna's sister-in-law, Darya Oblonsky, is threatening to leave her selfish husband. Is Anna able to save their marriage?
The Devil is a novella by Leo Tolstoy, was published in 1911, after the writer’s death. It tells the story of a married landowner slowly overcome with unrelenting sexual desire for one of the peasants on his estate. Before his marriage, he had many sexual relationships with women while living in St. Petersburg. He inherited an estate in the country after the death of his father and he decided to leave the city. In his new life, he lives with his mother. She thinks it is time for him to get married.
Father Sergius is a short story by Leo Tolstoy and was published in 1911. It tells the story of a young prince - known as Stepan Kasatsky - who becomes a priest. In the court, he falls in love with Countess Mary Korotkova and becomes engaged to her. But soon he discovers his fiancée was once a mistress to Tsar Nicholas I. This incident devastates him and he decides to leave the court and becomes a monk. As he is an ambitious high achiever and excels in everything he sets his mind to, he is ordained to the priesthood after three years and takes the name Father Sergius.
Prompted by his late-in-life conversion to Christianity, Tolstoy's novella describes the early Christians' philosophy and their difficult road to freedom of religious expression. Also included is a prefatory story, "A Talk Among Leisured People", which presents the divergent views of enthusiastic, optimistic youth as compared to their elder's mundane acceptance of life and its burdens.
The novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich by Leo Tolstoy was published in 1886 and is considered a masterpiece of his late-period fiction. It tells the story of a high-court judge in 19th-century Russia. He lives a simple, carefree life with his family until he is diagnosed with a terminal illness. Confined to bed, he is disgusted that his family avoids the subject of his death by pretending that he is only sick and not dying. He finds comfort only in Gerasim, the peasant boy who does not fear death.