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"Who, What Am I?"Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self$
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Irina Paperno

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780801453342

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801453342.001.0001

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“To Tell One’s Faith Is Impossible. … How to Tell That Which I Live By. I’ll Tell You, All the Same. …” Tolstoy in His Correspondence

“To Tell One’s Faith Is Impossible. … How to Tell That Which I Live By. I’ll Tell You, All the Same. …” Tolstoy in His Correspondence

Chapter:
(p.39) Chapter Two “To Tell One’s Faith Is Impossible. … How to Tell That Which I Live By. I’ll Tell You, All the Same. …” Tolstoy in His Correspondence
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"Who, What Am I?"
Author(s):

Irina Paperno

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801453342.003.0004

This chapter looks at Tolstoy's correspondence with Nikolai Strakhov, describing Tolstoy's dialogic elaborations of his personal faith in the years of the decisive transition to nonfiction. The correspondence between Tolstoy and Strakhov started at a time when Tolstoy, painfully unable to finish Anna Karenina (1877), was eager to abandon literature and the profession of the writer for another sphere and for another personal role. Indeed, the intimate conversation between two friends took the place of confession and profession of faith. Throughout the correspondence, Tolstoy was unclear and imprecise—perhaps not only because he found it difficult to express himself but also because he believed that truth and faith eluded verbal expression.

Keywords:   Leo Tolstoy, Nikolai Strakhov, nonfiction, correspondence, Anna Karenina, literature, faith

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