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"Who, What Am I?" – Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self - Cornell Scholarship Online
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"Who, What Am I?": Tolstoy Struggles to Narrate the Self

Irina Paperno


“God only knows how many diverse, captivating impressions and thoughts evoked by these impressions … pass in a single day. If it were only possible to render them in such a way that I could easily read myself and that others could read me as I do.” Such was the desire of the young Tolstoy. Although he knew that this narrative utopia—turning the totality of his life into a book—would remain unfulfilled, Tolstoy would spend the rest of his life attempting to achieve it. This book is an account of Tolstoy's lifelong attempt to find adequate ways to represent the self, to probe its limits and, ult ... More

Keywords: Leo Tolstoy, self, identity, nonfiction, death, narrative

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2014 Print ISBN-13: 9780801453342
Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016 DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801453342.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Irina Paperno, author
University of California, Berkeley