This collection of 11 stories spans virtually the whole of Tolstoy's creative life. While each is unique in form, as a group they are representative of his style, and touch on the central themes that surface in War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Stories as different as "The Snowstorm", "Lucerne", "The Diary of a Madman", and "The Devil" are grounded in autobiographical experience. They deal with journeys of self-discovery and the moral and religious thought that characterizes Tolstoy's works of criticism and philosophy.
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