Tolstoy's Letters: Volume I 1828-1879, Volume II 1880—1910 - R. F. ChristianLondon: University of London, The Athlone Press, 1978, Hardback.
Condition: Very Good+ — in Good+ Dust Wrapper. Heavily faded at the spine of the dust wrapper on both volumes. Previous owners' name to the first blank of both. Text complete, clean and tight and a decent set.
Contains: Black & white plates;
From the cover: “There has never before been published, in English or any other translation, anything remotely approaching a representative selection of Tolstoy’s letters. Yet Tolstoy was a prolific and revealing correspondent, and his letters contain much material that is important for an understanding of his life, thought and art. Professor Christian has selected and translated 608 of the several thousand letters that survive, in order to illuminate Tolstoy’s life and character, his personal relationships, his works of fiction and his religious, political and artistic views. The publication of this selection coincides with the 150th anniversary of Tolstoy’s birth.
Amongst the letters included are many of Tolstoy’s love letters to his prospective fiancée Arsenyeva and to his future wife; letters that give his impressions of army life in the Caucasus and the Crimea and his travels in Europe; some that concern educational theory and practice; others that deal with his early attempts at fiction and the writing of the famous novels; correspondence with fellow writers; letters revealing the deterioration of his relationships with his wife and family and his growing closeness to Chertkov and other ‘Tolstoyans’; and a considerable number devoted to public issues and moral and spiritual themes, and addressed to people of all walks of life, from the Tsar of Russia to a peasant neighbour, including some that poignantly demonstrate the conflict between Tolstoy’s radical ethical beliefs and his awareness of his failure to order his life in accordance with them.
Professor Christian’s introductions to the nine chronological sections into which the letters are divided provide a biographical framework for the collection as a whole. Introductions to individual letters give information about all Tolstoy’s correspondents and there is comprehensive annotation throughout.”