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Plays Complete Edition, Including the Posthumous Plays   By: (1828-1910)

Book cover

First Page:

From LEO TOLSTOY concerning the translation of his works by LOUISE and AYLMER MAUDE:

"Better translators, both for knowledge of the two languages and for penetration into the very meaning of the matter translated, could not be invented."

LEO TOLSTOY

PLAYS

Translated by

LOUISE AND AYLMER MAUDE

COMPLETE EDITION INCLUDING THE POSTHUMOUS PLAYS

FOURTH IMPRESSION

NEW YORK FUNK & WAGNALLS COMPANY 1919

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

LEO TOLSTOY (Photogravure Portrait) Frontispiece

MATRYÓNA GIVES ANÍSYA THE POWDERS Facing page 12

I'M NOT ASHAMED OF MY PARENT " " 51

HER BOX IS FULL AS IT IS " " 53

YOU TELL ME NOT TO FEAR MEN? " " 91

WELL, DEAR, AND WHAT PROGRESSION IS OUR BUSINESS MAKING? " " 174

THERE, YOU SEE! YOU ARE BEING MADE A FOOL OF " " 223

CONTENTS

PAGE

PREFACE ix

Plays published during Tolstoy's life

THE POWER OF DARKNESS (1886) 3

THE FIRST DISTILLER (1886) 97

FRUITS OF CULTURE (1889) 125

Posthumous Plays

THE LIVE CORPSE 229

THE CAUSE OF IT ALL 303

THE LIGHT SHINES IN DARKNESS 321

PREFACE

The Power of Darkness , Tolstoy's first and greatest play, was not written until he was fifty eight years of age, and it was not allowed to be performed in Russia till some years later. Both there and elsewhere abroad it was highly successful on the stage, as was also the comedy, Fruits of Culture , which he wrote three years later, to be performed by his own family and their friends.

The only other play published during his lifetime, The First Distiller , is a very slight piece of no particular dramatic importance. It was written in the cause of temperance.

Besides these, he left three other plays finished, or nearly finished, when he died.

The Live Corpse (which in English has also been called The Man who was Dead ) is the one best adapted for the stage. The Cause of it All is, like The First Distiller , a short and unimportant piece dealing with the effects of drink. The most interesting, not dramatically but psychologically, of the three is The Light Shines in Darkness , which was left in an unfinished state. In it Tolstoy presents his own case, and deals with the contradiction that existed and has so often been commented on, between practice and theory in his own life and teaching.

For the purpose of the play he greatly simplified his own highly complex personality, and, though many of the details and characters are drawn from life with extraordinary exactitude, the picture presented is not one which all the people concerned are disposed to regard as quite fair to themselves.

The play presents the terrible clash which resulted from the calls Tolstoy made on himself and on others to abandon all customary ways of life and to start afresh in a new direction. In his own case he was never allowed to test the effects of a life of extreme poverty and manual labour, such as he advocated; nor did those of his followers who adopted such a life achieve much success therein... Continue reading book >>




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