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Youth by Leo Tolstoy

Youth is the third in Tolstoy's trilogy of three autobiographical novels, including Childhood and Boyhood, published in a literary journal during the 1850s. (Introduction by Bill Boerst)

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By Leo Tolstoy/Tolstoi

Translated by C. J. Hogarth


I have said that my friendship with Dimitri opened up for me a new view of my life and of its aim and relations. The essence of that view lay in the conviction that the destiny of man is to strive for moral improvement, and that such improvement is at once easy, possible, and lasting. Hitherto, however, I had found pleasure only in the new ideas which I discovered to arise from that conviction, and in the forming of brilliant plans for a moral, active future, while all the time my life had been continuing along its old petty, muddled, pleasure seeking course, and the same virtuous thoughts which I and my adored friend Dimitri ("my own marvellous Mitia," as I used to call him to myself in a whisper) had been wont to exchange with one another still pleased my intellect, but left my sensibility untouched. Nevertheless there came a moment when those thoughts swept into my head with a sudden freshness and force of moral revelation which left me aghast at the amount of time which I had been wasting, and made me feel as though I must at once that very second apply those thoughts to life, with the firm intention of never again changing them... Continue reading book >>

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