Leo Tolstoy
: The Awakening

Original Russian Title: Воскресение

The young nobleman Nekhlyudov serves as a juror during the trial of a young woman whom he recognizes as she appears in court: Katerina (Katyusha) Maslova, whom he had seduced ten years before as a young girl and whom he abandoned a short time later after she became pregnant.

Nekhlyudov realizes that he is largely responsible for the fact that the young woman got on the wrong path and now he tries to do everything possible to make up for it.

It is fascinating how Tolstoy makes the inner narrative of the novel characters come alive to his readers: how the characters think, why they act one way or another.

The book offers readers many, many opportunities to recognize themselves in the good and bad tendencies of the characters described in it.

It is moving to see how pure-minded young people can follow bad examples, how bad decisions can bring about dire consequences, but also how, through the power of love and being loved, it is possible for some to work their way out of the swamp into which they have let themselves slide. People can fall, but … also rise again.

The reader sees how the vast majority of those belonging to the rich upper class (to which Tolstoy himself also belonged) remain indifferent to the poor, downtrodden and largely dulled peasants who work on their estates and how thoughtlessly they are treated. In addition, the reader encounters young revolutionaries who want to change the system, including idealists, but also ambitious, cold-hearted “politicians.”

Tolstoy’s work is, among other things, about realizing the teachings from Jesus’s Sermon on the Mount. At the same time, he also opposes the dogmas of church dignitaries in this book, which resulted in his exclusion and excommunication from the church.


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