John Burt Foster, Jr.Transnational Tolstoy: Between the West and the World
Bloomsbury Academia, New York, 2013, 208 pp.
ISBN: 978 1441157706
Transnational Tolstoy renews and enhances our understanding of Tolstoy's fiction in the context of "World Literature," a term that he himself used in What is Art? (1897). It offers a fresh perspective on Tolstoy's fiction as it connects with writers and works from outside his Russian context, including Stendhal, Flaubert, Goethe, Proust, Lampedusa and Mahfouz.
Foster provides an interlocking series of cross-cultural readings ranging from nineteenth-century Germany, France, and Italy through the rise of modernist fiction and the crisis of World War II, to the growth of a worldwide literary outlook from 1960 onward. He emphasizes Tolstoy's writings with the most consistent international resonance: War and Peace and Anna Karenina, two of the world's most compelling novels.
Transnational Tolstoy also discusses a shorter work, Hadji Murad. It shares the earlier novels' historical sweep, social breadth, and subtle interplay among a large cast of characters. Along with bringing Tolstoy's gifts to bear on a Muslim protagonist, it also represents his most sustained attempt at world literature.
Transnational Tolstoy and the new comparatism
Part One Facing West
1 Culture shock in Europe Occidentalism in Anna Karenina and Dostoevskys The Gambler
2 Vengeance is mine Stendhals Italy and Anna Karenina
3 Discordant histories Napoleonic anniversaries War and Peace and Flauberts Sentimental Education
4 Worldliness to world literature Tolstoy between Goethe and Proust
Part Two Outside the Soviet Canon
5 Realism of the new school as modern fiction Anna Karenina in English 1900 to 1920
6 Realism as imagism: Nabokov "modernizes" Tolstoy
7 Border writing from national solidarity to toxic nationalism: Tolstoy and Stendhal as benchmarks for Malraux and Lampedusa
8 Felt history in flux: Anna Karenina between realism and magical realism
Part Three Into the World
9 ‘Show me the Zulu Tolstoy’: after 1991 who owns War and Peace?
10 Tolstoy and world literature 1890 to 1912 to 2000 From What is Art? to Hadji Murad and beyond
11 Beyond the West 18901955 Dialogues with Premchand Mahfouz and Gandhi
12 Envisioning Islam in Hadji Murad Holy war and peaceful romance
Between the West and the World
John Burt Foster is Professor of World and Comparative Literature at George Mason University, USA. He is the author of Heirs to Dionysus: A Nietzschean Current in Literary Modernism (Princeton University Press, 1981) and Nabokov's Art Memory and European Modernism (Princeton University Press, 1993) and the editor, with Wayne J. Froman, of Dramas of Culture: Theory, History, Performance (Lexington Books, 2008). He is past editor of The Comparatist, an annual journal for comparative literary study, and now edits Recherche littéraire / Literary Research, a bilingual international journal in the same field.
A mi parecer, entre lo más sobresaliente todo aquello dedicado a la novela Hadji Murad y su extraordinnaria anticipación en perspecivas de desobediencia civil, no violencia, etc., además de lo atendido a través del ensayo ¿Qué es el arte?, sobre el que en España opinaron Valle-Inclán o Antonio Machado, y cuyo valor para la teoría estética ha sido luego tan ignorado.