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Ivan Alekseevich Bunin
Thomas Gaiton Marullo
Vladimir T. Khmelkov
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Though Tolstoy was Ivan Bunin's senior by more than forty years (Tolstoy was born in 1828, Bunin in 1870), they led remarkably similar lives. Both were gentry-noblemen who achieved international acclaim as writers; both struggled to balance worldly pleasures with spiritual enlightenment. The dialogue between the two men is an intriguing tapestry weaving passages from Tolstoy's personal, political, and literary writings with those from the memoirs of his wife, family, and friends; references to Western and Eastern philosophers, religious thinkers, and critics; and Bunin's own recollections and analysis of Tolstoy.
Bunin conveys the drama of Tolstoy's last days; the politics and events surrounding his funeral; his difficulties with the Russian Orthodox Church and his embrace of Buddhism; his relationship with his eccentric family; and his early love and later hatred for his wife, Sofya. At the same time, this work reflects the drama of Bunin's own difficult circumstances in life and his search for spiritual deliverance. The Liberation of Tolstoy is a multifaceted view of the waning years of two giants of Russian literature and a glimpse of the philosophical and aesthetic legacies of two great minds.
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