Resurrection

Resurrection

1899

"Resurrection" tells the story of Nekhlyudov, a wealthy aristocrat (like most Russian aristocrats, his wealth is inherited), in his quest to fix the evil he did to Katyusha (a young girl whom he seduced in the past, and who became a prostitut...

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Political fiction

476 Pages
4.14

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"Resurrection" tells the story of Nekhlyudov, a wealthy aristocrat (like most Russian aristocrats, his wealth is inherited), in his quest to fix the evil he did to Katyusha (a young girl whom he seduced in the past, and who became a prostitute as a result of that), and understand all the rights and wrongs of life.

Resurrection, first published in 1899, was the last novel written by Leo Tolstoy. The book is the last of his major long fiction works published in his lifetime. Tolstoy intended the novel as an exposition of the injustice of man-made laws and the hypocrisy of the institutionalized church. The novel also explores the economic philosophy of Georgism, of which Tolstoy had become a very strong advocate towards the end of his life, and explains the theory in detail. It was first published serially in the popular weekly magazine Niva in an effort to raise funds for the resettlement of the Doukhobors.

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy9 September 1828 – 20 November 1910), usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.He received multiple nominations for Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906, and nominations for Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902 and 1910, and the fact that he never won is a major Nobel prize controversy.

 

Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856), and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. Tolstoy's fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Family Happiness (1859), and Hadji Murad (1912). He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

 

In the 1870s Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession (1882). His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist.Tolstoy's ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1894), were to have a profound impact on such pivotal 20th-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Tolstoy also became a dedicated advocate of Georgism, the economic philosophy of Henry George, which he incorporated into his writing, particularly Resurrection (1899)

Popular and critical reception

 

The book was eagerly awaited. "How all of us rejoiced," one critic wrote on learning that Tolstoy had decided to make his first fiction in 25 years, not a short novella but a full-length novel. "May God grant that there will be more and more!" It outsold Anna Karenina and War and Peace. Despite its early success, today Resurrection is not as famous as the works that preceded it.

 

Some writers have said that Resurrection has characters that are one-dimensional and that as a whole the book lacks Tolstoy's earlier attention to detail. By this point, Tolstoy was writing in a style that favored meaning over aesthetic quality.

 

The book faced much censorship upon publication. The complete and accurate text was not published until 1936. Many publishers printed their own editions because they assumed that Tolstoy had given up all copyrights as he had done with previous books. Instead, Tolstoy retained the copyright and donated all royalties to the Doukhobors, who were Russian pacifists hoping to emigrate to Canada.

 

It is said of legendary Japanese filmmaker Kenji Mizoguchi that he was of the opinion that "All melodrama is based on Tolstoy's Resurrection".

Adaptations

 

Operatic adaptations of the novel include the Risurrezione by Italian composer Franco Alfano, Vzkriesenie by Slovak composer Ján Cikker, and Resurrection by American composer Tod Machover.

 

Additionally, various film adaptations, including a Russian film Katyusha Maslova of director Pyotr Chardynin (1915, the first film role of Natalya Lisenko); a 1944 Italian film Resurrection; a 1949 Chinese film version entitled "???" (A Forgotten Woman) starring Bai Guang; a Russian film version directed by Mikhail Shveitser in 1960, with Yevgeny Matveyev, Tamara Semina and Pavel Massalsky, have been made. The best-known film version, however, is Samuel Goldwyn's English-language We Live Again, filmed in 1934 with Fredric March and Anna Sten, and directed by Rouben Mamoulian. The Italian directors Paolo and Vittorio Taviani released their TV film Resurrezione in2001. The Spanish director Alberto Gonzalez Vergel also released his TV film "Resureccion" in1966. Kenji Mizoguchi,s film "Straights of love and hate" (1937) was also inspired by "Resurrection".

 

A 1968 BBC mini-series Resurrection, rebroadcast in the US on Masterpiece Theatre. The Indian movie Barkha Bahar (1973) was based on this novel.

Review:

independent.co.uk

 

Brian Aldiss

Sweetness and light among shame and confusion. The greatest of all novels is Leo Tolstoy's final novel, Resurrection. Its effect upon a reader is immense and immediate. Even after eight readings of various translations, I continue to feel its spell and admire its complexity.

 

It is the story of a man tormented by the injustices of the world about him, who is at the same time tortured by his own self-indulgence. A reader likes but fears him, since it is possible we may find our own weaknesses depicted in these pages.

 

This battlefield of literacy was published serially first in 1899. Nothing else among Tolstoy's writings has excited such extremes of denigration and approval. I bow to the strength of its commitment, and to Tolstoy's powers in his old age, like a formidable engine that elevates us. Count Nekhlyudov, the central character of this huge chronicle, stays in his youth with two old aunts who have engaged a charming young woman, Maslova, as companion. Nekhlyudov falls in love with Maslova, and she with him. He joins the Army and becomes a general-roustabout. Returning to his aunts' house after a couple of years, he seduces Maslova, making her pregnant.

 

Later comes the scene where he is appointed to jury service. To his horror, he finds that the prisoner on trial for prostitution and murder is Maslova, now much deteriorated. Everyone bar Nekhlyudov is indifferent to the girl's fate, so that we find that Maslova is to be exiled to Siberia. He tries to marry her but she refuses him. "You had your pleasure from me in this world, and now you want to get your salvation through me in the world to come!"

 

Although snubbed in this way, Nekhlyudov does everything within his power to save her. He enters stinking prisons while trying to help Maslova. Tolstoy had himself visited such prisons; innocent and guilty alike are incarcerated. Iniquity and inequality fall under Nekhlyudov's inspection. He attempts to give his land to the peasants farming it. They will not have it. Starving men labour among the great fields. Their animals starve with them.

 

Towards the end, ranks of prisoners, fresh from freezing prison cells, are forced to march through the streets in a heat wave, in some cases being struck down by the heat, and dying: "All this happened," Nekhlyudov says to himself, "because all these people... consider that there are circumstances in this world when man owes no humanity to man." This brilliant, troubling novel at first out-sold Tolstoy's earlier novels, even War and Peace. It was criticised for its outspoken contents. It remains a grand panorama of discontent.

 

 

 

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