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Short Fiction

Language - English
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Description We rely on your support to help us keep producing beautiful, free, and unrestricted editions of literature for the digital age. Will you support our efforts with a donation? While perhaps best known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, the Russian author and religious thinker Leo Tolstoy was also a prolific author of short fiction. This Standard Ebooks production compiles all of Tolstoy’s short stories and novellas written from 1852 up to his death, arranged in order of their original publication. The stories in this collection vary enormously in size and scope, from short, page-length fables composed for the education of schoolchildren, to full novellas like “Family Happiness.” Readers who are familiar with Tolstoy’s life and religious experiences—as detailed, for example, in his spiritual memoir A Confession—may be able to trace the events of Tolstoy’s life through the changing subjects of these stories. Some early stories, like “The Raid” and the “Sevastopol” sketches, draw from Tolstoy’s experiences in the Caucasian War and the Crimean War when he served in the Imperial Russian Army, while other early stories like “Recollections of a Scorer” and “Two Hussars” reflect Tolstoy’s personal struggle with gambling addiction. Later stories in the collection, written during and after Tolstoy’s 1870s conversion to Christian anarcho-pacifism (a spiritual and religious philosophy described in detail in his treatise The Kingdom of God is Within You), frequently reflect either Tolstoy’s own experiences in spiritual struggle (e.g. “The Death of Ivan Ilyitch”) or his interpretation of the New Testament (e.g. “The Forged Coupon”), or both. Many later stories, like “Three Questions” and “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” are explicitly didactic in nature and are addressed to a popular audience to promote his religious ideals and views on social and economic justice.
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