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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel

There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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    Juliet's Nurse

    Lois Leveen 9781476757445

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Hadji Murad


Hadji Murad Cover

ISBN13: 9780812967111
ISBN10: 0812967119
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Tolstoy heard the tales that grew up around the warrior-hero Hadji Murad and wrote this sweeping tale that takes up the viewpoints of all major characters in a gripping first-person narrative. This edition includes newly commissioned end notes. Maps.

About the Author

Azar Nafisi is a visiting professor at the Johns Hopkins Universitys Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies and author of Reading Lolita in Tehran. She won a fellowship at Oxford University and has taught literature and aesthetics at the University of Tehran, the Free Islamic University, and Allameh Tabatabai University in Iran. She lives in Washington, D.C.

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history 244, August 4, 2008 (view all comments by history 244)
No one spoke of hatred of the Russians. The feeling experienced by all the Chechens, from the youngest to the oldest, was stronger than hate. It was not hatred, for they did not regard those Russian dogs as human beings…the desire to exterminate them—like the desire to exterminate rats, poisonous spiders, or wolves—was as natural an instinct as that of self-preservation.

Russian attempts to annex and pacify the Caucasus Mountains lead to a protracted guerilla war for the first half of the 19th century. Leo Tolstoy had served as an officer in this conflict as a young man, and he chose to write about this experience in the last days of his own life. Hadji Murad, written by Tolstoy between 1896 and 1904, and published posthumously in 1912, examines the war from several viewpoints and offers a comprehensive picture of the Caucasian front. By centering his story on the events surrounding the death of Hadji Murad, a Muslim warlord who attempts to ally himself with the Russians to rescue his family, Tolstoy avoids a one-sided narrative. He is perhaps the first Russian author to depict the Chechen point of view, as exemplified by the above excerpt. In doing so, Tolstoy humanizes the enemy, and rationalizes their resistance.
Tolstoy also empathizes with the plight of the common Russian soldier. The death of Avdeev, a peasant conscript, shows not only the callousness of the Russian officers, but also the pain that death inflicts on the soldier’s mother back home. Tolstoy’s portrait of Russian society stretches all the way to the Tsar. The author dedicates an entire chapter to Tsar Nicholas I, in which he depicts the emperor as being more concerned by love affairs with young courtesans than affairs of state.
Rather than romanticizing the conflict, as other Russian authors had done before him (Lermontov’s, A Hero of Our Time, comes to mind), Tolstoy portrays the war realistically. The story remains pertinent more than a century later, as evidenced by one publisher’s choice to feature a modern Chechen rebel on the cover of Hadji Murad.
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Product Details

Nafisi, Azar
Maude, Alymer
Introduction by:
Nafisi, Azar
Nafisi, Azar
Nafisi, Azar
Tolstoy, Leo
Tolstoy, Leo Nikolayevich
Maude, Alymer
Modern Library
New York
Russian & Former Soviet Union
Literature-A to Z
fiction;russia;literature;russian;russian literature;19th century;novel;war;historical fiction;chechnya;classic;history;leo tolstoy
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Modern Library Classics
Series Volume:
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.12x5.16x.43 in. .32 lbs.

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