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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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“What Should We Do Then?”: Tolstoy on Self and Other

“What Should We Do Then?”: Tolstoy on Self and Other

(p.103) Chapter Five “What Should We Do Then?”: Tolstoy on Self and Other
"Who, What Am I?"

Irina Paperno

Cornell University Press

This chapter studies Tolstoy's article, What Should We Do Then? Published in the 1880s, he had turned his first-person writing to the problem of self and other. In What Should We Do Then? Tolstoy attempted to work through the problem of self and other by modifying the Hegelian paradigm. Like many others who were influenced by Hegel, he understood that neither the slave nor the master could be fully free, but unlike Hegel and his followers, he did not strive for a synthesis and did not aim at a reconciliation of the self with the world. Tolstoy's initial impulse in What Should We Do Then? was to break the connection, removing himself from the relationship with the other. This impulse underlies Tolstoy's desire to consume less of the labor of others.

Keywords:   Leo Tolstoy, What Should We Do Then, first-person writing, self, other, Hegelian paradigm, Hegel

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