Leo Tolstoy’s short works, like his novels, show readers his narrative genius, keen observation, and historical acumen—albeit on a smaller scale.
“Backgrounds and Sources” includes two Tolstoy memoirs, A History of Yesterday (1851) and The Memoirs of a Madman (1884), as well as entries—expanded in the Second Edition—from Tolstoy’s “Diary for 1855” and selected letters (1858–95) that shed light on the author’s creative process.
“Criticism” collects twenty-three essays by Russian and western scholars, six of which are new to this Second Edition. Interpretations focus both on Tolstoy’s language and art and on specific themes and motifs in individual stories. Contributors include John M. Kopper, Gary Saul Morson, N. G. Chernyshevsky, Mikhail Bakhtin, Harsha Ram, John Bayley, Vladimir Nabokov, Ruth Rischin, Margaret Ziolkowski, and Donald Barthelme.
A Chronology of Tolstoy’s life and work and an updated Selected Bibliography are also included.