The Cossacks: A Tale of 1852

The Cossacks: A Tale of 1852

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The Cossacks

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781775415206
Publisher: The Floating Press
Publication date: 06/01/2009
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
File size: 304 KB

About the Author

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910), Russian novelist and philosopher, is widely considered to be one of the world’s greatest writers. His notions of Christian anarchism, pacifism, and reform are clearly outlined in his philosophical works. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina are among the foremost embodiments of realistic fiction.

Date of Birth:

September 9, 1828

Date of Death:

November 20, 1910

Place of Birth:

Tula Province, Russia

Place of Death:

Astapovo, Russia


Privately educated by French and German tutors; attended the University of Kazan, 1844-47

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Cossacks 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 11 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Tolstoy¿s COSSACK is another fascinating story where purpose is found in the atmosphere of war. This goes for the jaded Olenin, an heir to a fortune that he had half squandered until he abandons his jaded life as a Moscow socialite for the adventures as a soldier in the Caucasus where he finds his purpose and true love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book evokes all the old tales about the ethnic groups in Russia and the Caucasus. The book begins with a young, powerful man (Olénin)leaving with the Czarist army toward the regions around the Caspian sea, in search for love, since he has never been able to love a woman. With an excellent accuray, the author then portrays what the life in a cossack village is all about, as well as the relationship with the tartars, chéchens, etc. The book goes on describing Olénin's search for love amongst the typical cossack girls. Tolstoy's style in describing the everyday human behaviour and the mindmaze of the main character captivates the reader through the novel to then come across a surprising -and shocking- ending.
mishmashmusic More than 1 year ago
When you think of Tolstoy, you most likely think of his epic novels, like Anna Karenina or War and Peace. You probably don't think of his shorter pieces like The Cossacks, a shorter novella that is considered to be the author's autobiography. The book centers around an unhappy Muscovite nobleman named Dmitri Olénin who joins the army in search of adventure and purpose in his life. He winds up in the Caucasus and is intrigued by the geography and the simple people who live there. Along the way, he discovers himself and falls in love for the first time, and in turn discovers the pain love can bring. We meet a cast of characters that includes the manly Cossack soldier Lukashka, the beautiful Cossack girl Maryanka, and the larger-than-life grandfather figure, Uncle Yeroshka, each of who play an important role in the life education of Olénin. Since this has always been one of my favorite books, I was curious to see how it translated into the audiobook format. The voice work is done by Jonathan Oliver, an English actor who has over a decade of experience reading audiobooks for the blind. At first, I was a little thrown by his English accent, as I know many Russians personally, and I always lent a Russian accent to The Cossacks characters in my mind. But as the story progressed, I got used to Oliver's accent and it became very natural sounding, as he took on the life of the characters. He also did a wonderful job of changing out his vocal style as each different character spoke, making it easy to tell who was speaking as the conversations took place. I especially liked his portrayal of Uncle Yeroshka, the colorful old man of the Cossack village who takes Olénin under his wing. Oliver's voice bellows and rings out with intensity, bringing the character to life in incredible fashion. Oliver is obviously very familiar with the story as well as Tolstoy in general, and he adds touches here and there to make the story even more special. For example, he reads the descriptive sections with the same enthusiasm as the speaking roles, painting a perfect picture of the Cossack village and the activities of its inhabitants as they go about daily life. He also sings their songs with a convincing air, staying in character the whole time. As far as classic literature goes, this one is an easy listen. It is not too long, and the story moves quickly, filled with adventure and a touch of innocent romance. Plus, it is a great introduction to Tolstoy without getting lost in the epic length of some of his other works. Highly recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Even his first novel held the romantic style of writing that later made him famous. It's a very simple story, but it is written so well. It's not just a look at where Tolstoy began his literature career, but it's also a look at Tolstoy's life. He himself was actually stationed in the Cossacks and used his experience to effectively write the book. The book is a pretty quick read too, so there's no reason not to read it.
Stbalbach on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Considered Tolstoy's best novel from his early years. Begun in 1853 and completed in 1862, after nearly 10 years of fits and starts he was compelled to finish it after loosing badly at cards in order to pay the debt. The novel describes life among the martial Cossacks as seen through the eyes of a young Russian soldier stationed in a native village on the frontier. Descriptions of Caucuses geography and wildlife are the strongest part of the novel in my opinion, the story itself is slow and uneventful. The Cossack's are a clannish community and the outsider Olenin who tries to penetrate it with modest success discovers himself in the process. It's like Dances with Wolves where a soldier who is sent to subjugate and civilize instead discovers indigenous wisdom and attempts to go native, but finds in the end he can never fully cross over and returns a changed man.
DRFP on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
One of Tolstoy's best short stories / novella. Highly readable and exciting, I found this much more enjoyable than Tolstoy's other, more highly praised, Caucus novel "Hadji Murad".
pfax on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Quick, wonderful read. Tolstoy's insights into another culture are poignant and relevant. This novel speaks much of the problems of the multinational Russian empire, and maintains its relevance in the modern era's issues of globalization.
EPClark More than 1 year ago
When he set off for the Caucasus in the early 1850s, the young Leo Tolstoy was in many ways much the same as most other young noblemen: caught up in gambling and chasing women, concerned with appearances and enjoying the moment. But even then Tolstoy was already thinking about other, more serious, more permanent things. The novella "Cossacks" was one of the earlier books he began, in the early 1850s, although it was not completed until 1862 and not published in its final form until January 1863. "Cossacks" has many of the hallmarks of early Tolstoy: the writing is, while not as spare as his later work, elegant and clear, with considerable use of dialogue to convey both plot and character. The setting is delineated with local details on every level: clothes, horses, food, housing, landscape, and language are all used to convey the life of the Caucasian Cossack life. The impression is one of total immersion into a vibrant, foreign culture, one that attracts and repels the reader just as it does Olenin ("Deer"), the Russian officer who is the main character. Olenin is drawn to the Cossack lifestyle for its simplicity and its closeness to nature. He believes that they are happier than he is because they think less about life and their place in it, a common belief amongst his aristocratic characters. In retrospect it's easy to criticize that belief--surely all people think about life and their place in it, and probably even very "simple" people live fully fledged inner lives--but "Cossacks" does bring up the eternal issue of how much of the experience of all living beings (Tolstoy, as do I, includes non-human animals in his considerations) is shared, and how much is dependent on specific, individual experience. Olenin, the educated aristocrat, can comprehend his life through his knowledge of European and Classical literature, while Lukashka, his simple Cossack counterpart, tells tales and sings folk songs, and the "abreks"--Caucasian warriors--rarely speak at all and are seen only from the outside, although they, too, it is suggested, are living full inner lives, complete with recognizable emotions such as sorrow and fear. The Cossacks speak Tatar almost as much as they do Russian--when Lukashka is wounded he curses in a mixture of Tatar and Russian, for example, and most of the Cossacks drop Tatar and Arabic words into their speech at important moments--dress like Abreks, and "dzhigit"--act the dashing hero, from the Caucasian word for it--on their horses when they want to show off; in many ways they are more Caucasian than they are Russian, and they admire their Chechen counterparts more than they do their Russian masters. This attraction-repulsion, and simultaneous sensation of total merging with the Other and total inability to ever understand and become one with the Other, is characteristic of Tolstoy's work and shows a lifelong concern of his in all his writings. For all its philosophy, though, "Cossacks" is at its heart a ripping yarn, with hunts, battles, and a tense love triangle between the refined, reflective Olenin, the spontaneous child of nature Lukashka, and the strong-willed, independent Maryana, who like all the Cossack women is treated both by the characters and the author as something between a unique and powerful individual and a piece of goods to be bought and sold. Longtime fans of Tolstoy owe it to themselves to read this story.
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