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Divine And Human: And Other Stories By Leo Tolstoy [Paperback]

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Item description for Divine And Human: And Other Stories By Leo Tolstoy by Leo Tolstoy...

Divine and Human is a collection of previously undiscovered and untranslated (into English) stories by the great Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy that probes the complexities of life and faith.

Publishers Description
Divine and Human stands apart as both a landmark in literary history and master-piece of spiritual and ethical reflection. Suppressed in turn by the tzarist and Soviet regime, the tales contained in this book have, for the most part, never been published in English until now. Emerging at last, they offer western readers fresh glimpses of novelist and philosopher Leo Tolstoy. Divine and Human consists of choice selections from The Sunday Reading Stories, the second volume in a two-part work titled The Circle of Reading. In the words of translator Peter Sekirin, 'Tolstoy considered The Circle of Reading to be the major work of his life. Considering its difficult history, it is not surprising that only recently has it been rediscovered.' From its sparkling vignettes to its lengthier stories, Divine and Human probes the complexities of life and faith. Its characters range the spectrum of human emotions and qualities, from hatred to love and joy to grief; from sublime nobility to grotesque self-absorption. Tolstoy's world, though far-removed from today's information age, becomes our world -- indeed, has always been and always will be our world. Motor cars may have replaced horse-drawn cars, but human hearts remain the same, and questions of truth, mercy, forgiveness, devotion, justice, and the nature of God knock as insistently on the doors of our lives today as they did in Tolstoy's time. Welcome, then, to Divine and Human: a buried treasure at last unearthed, and certain to be prized by Tolstoy readers and lovers of great literature.

From Publishers Weekly
These 16 selections from Tolstoy's final eclectic collection of tales titled The Sunday Reading Stories represent the Russian novelist's turn away from the troubling human condition in Anna Karenina toward a growing preoccupation with moral issues. Some are brief vignettes, like "The Archangel Gabriel," "The Repentant Sinner" and "The Son of a Thief," in which a prospective juror disqualifies himself because he cannot sit in judgment on a thief when his own father committed the same crime. Several of the stories are adaptations--"Stones," from a fable by E. Poselianin; "The Power of Childhood," from Victor Hugo's "The Civil War"; and "Sisters," a poignant retelling of Guy de Maupassant's "In the Port," about a sailor's shore leave at Marseilles. "Divine and Human," set in 1870s Russia at a peak of struggle between the government and revolutionaries, centers around student Anatoly Svetlogub, who is convicted of conspiracy to overthrow the government and spends his final days reading the New Testament. With the exception of a few entries, this is the first English translation of these pieces, which were suppressed first by the czarist government and then by the Soviets. Hardly controversial in the eyes of contemporary American readers, these selections are not particularly noteworthy as critiques of either aristocracy or communism, but rather as lovely artifacts that give us further insight into Tolstoy's notions of wisdom and spirituality. Though this book is published by an evangelical house, the fragments of Tolstoyan theology Sekirin has chosen for it are best described as universalist. All in all, it is a delightful addition to any Tolstoy collection or a fine introduction to his work. (May) FYI: Coincidentally, Northwestern University Press is issuing its own translation of three of the stories included in the Zondervan edition, in a volume also titled Divine and Human. "Berries," "What For?" (titled "Why Did It Happen?" in the Zondervan edition) and "Divine and Human" are translated and introduced by Gordon Spence. Spence's introduction stresses the political import and allegory of the tales, all three of which were written around the time of the Russian revolution of 1905. All the royalties from the publication of Northwestern's edition will go to Amnesty International. ($16.95 paper 168p ISBN 0-8101-1762-2; June) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

Citations And Professional Reviews
Divine And Human: And Other Stories By Leo Tolstoy by Leo Tolstoy has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
  • Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2010 page 919
  • Publishers Weekly - 04/24/2000 page 60
  • Kirkus Reviews - 05/01/2000 page 595
  • Booklist - 05/15/2000 page 1727
  • Library Journal - 06/01/2000 page 208
  • Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2001 page 82
  • Wilson Fiction Catalog - 01/01/2006 page 923

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Zondervan
Pages   211
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.4" Width: 5.5" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   0.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 7, 2000
Publisher   Zondervan Publishing
ISBN  0310223679  
ISBN13  9780310223672  
UPC  025986223670  

Availability  2 units.
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More About Leo Tolstoy

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Novelist, essayist, dramatist, and philosopher, Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) is most famous for his sprawling portraits of 19th-century Russian life, as recounted in Anna Karenina and War and Peace.

Leo Tolstoy has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Dover Books on Western Philosophy
  2. Gospel in Great Writers
  3. Modern Library Classics (Paperback)

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > General
2Books > Subjects > Literature & Fiction > Genre Fiction > Christian Allegory

Christian Product Categories
Books > Fiction > General Christian > Classic & Allegory

Reviews - What do customers think about Divine And Human: And Other Stories By Leo Tolstoy?

A Post-conversion, Beautifully Radical Tolstoy  Sep 21, 2005
For every person who started War and Peace and got bogged down somewhere between page 300 and 1000, this book is for you. For every Christian who thinks that USAmerican churchianity has taken a dreadfully wrong road, this book is for you. For every libertarian, whether you know you are one or not, this book is for you. For every lover of 19th century Russia fiction, this is a must have for your collection.

A collection of short stories, parables, and an essay, you need to know that Divine and Human is not the Tolstoy of War and Peace or Anna Karenina. This is post-conversion Tolstoy. This is the kind of stuff that got Count Leo Tolstoy declared a heretic by the Russian Orthodox Church and an anarchist by the Russian government. Be prepared: although these tales are beautifully written, kind and gentle in their approach, a truly radical Christianity shines brightly through every sentence. Tolstoy seriously believed that the authentic manifestation of Christianity was in the following of Jesus Christ and His gospel, particularly the Sermon on the Mount. Recognizing the authority of Jesus Christ as the vanquisher of principalities and powers and following His teachings is a permanently life-altering experience. This is what Divine and Human is about.

Among these small gems, my personal favorites are "The Poor People," "Kornei Vasiliev," "The Berries," "The Son of a Thief," and the essay "The Requirements of Love." These are parables of generosity, forgiveness, faith and responsibility.

Tolstoy's sword cuts in every direction. He shows very succinctly how neither conservative nor liberal approaches to human and social problems holds the answers, but only the radical following of Christ which brings about the eradication of the causes of those problems. The pursuit of peace and justice is the answer of the authentic Christian, which means, to Tolstoy, simply following Jesus Christ with all our hearts, all our souls, and all our minds. And, if necessary, to lay our bodies down for Him.

Dr. Mike Kear
Tolstoy for the average reader  Sep 4, 2004
This has become one of my favorite books. I had never read anything by Tolstoy before, because let's face it, the man's novels are frightening. But Divine and Human is captivating and thought provoking without being boring or pompous. Perfect if you've always wanted to read Tolstoy, but simply don't have the will or time to tackle War and Peace.

Divine and Human is a book of short stories by Tolstoy, it's thin and a pretty book, which is why I opened it in the first place. I was hooked almost immediately.

These stories are injected with Tolstoy's philosophy about life, death, god, and how all things happen for a reason. My favorite story deals with God; in a coffeehouse men high up in their respective religions debate over whose God is best and whose views are right. It takes a fable of the sun, told by a Confucian monk, to help them see that they are all in some sense, right.

A great compilation of Tolstoy! I'm debating over whether or not to give this to my Philosophy professor. You won't be sorry you spent some time on this one!
Joy and Goodness!  Feb 15, 2001
Tolstoy considered the stories in this volume to be "the best achievements of Christian literature" infused with "continuous joy." Most of these human-divine stories can fill a reader's soul with the beauty that saves the world. Only when Tolstoy lapses didactic does the book's transfiguring clarity flag. Ten of these sixteen stories were adapted from French, English, Persian, or other Russian tales. I think these re-interpretations are the book's strongest pieces. "Sisters," a Maupassant tale in which "sailors spend six months of their pay in four hours of debauchery" jolts its hero (and readers) into seeing how close "fallen women" may come to us. In Tolstoy's re-telling of Victor Hugo's "The Power of Childhood" a father's determination to shield his boy's innocence meets with a bloodthirsty mob's blind fury. "I cannot judge others," says a merchant in the book's opening story. "We should forgive other people and love them." This theme of forgiveness and humble love weaves throughout Divine and Human. Humble people can be very wise. Is suffering integral to joy?
Tolstoy still sparkles  Jun 5, 2000
For those who find Tolstoy's novels too long, or love them anyhow, this is a collection of tiny, perfect short stories written near the end of Tolstoy's life, and newly translated into English. Well-developed characters circle around ethical and spiritual knots which refuse pat endings. All is illuminated by Tolstoy's intense and gentle wisdom. Suitable for children or adults, these characters will stay with you for a long time.
Excellent selection of the prose of life, death and God  Apr 21, 2000
I'll be brief: this is a wonderful book to buy for your child and for your own reading pleasure. These short little stories are so true to life, easy to read and so full of wisdom that they haunted me for a long time after I read them. They make you stop and think. They make you wonder. They make you ask yourself questions. The characters described and their problems are very easy to identify with and, more importantly, they help you draw a line between the temporal and ordinary and the eternal truth of life. Very good read.

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