Tolstoy and realism
Posted by Susan H on September 16, 1998 at 20:47:41:
In response to "All happy families are similar.", written by sanna on September 16, 1998 at 00:27:44
] Tolstoy´s style is realism and Forster´s sort of impressionism, so they differ so much it is a little bit like comparing apples and oranges.
I know Tolstoy is frequently held up as "the master realist" but I've always considered him to be more pre-symbolist, particularly in AK. The entire novel is held together through recurrent dreams and symbols (Anna's nightmares, her red handbag, the train, etc.) Even the descriptions of Anna are more symbolic than realistic--what do we know about her other than that her curls frequently escape the confinement of her hairstyle, she wears black, and she fidgets with her rings? And Tolstoy's constant juxtaposition of this world and the next, his insistance on there being more to this life than we see or know fits better with symbolism than realism.
I like your idea of Forster as an impressionist. It seems to sum up his style well, particularly in A Room With a View.
I'm not sure if I agree that Tolstoy isn't about families: after all, Anna's great sin (for which he punishes her severely) is her abandonment of her familial duties and, most importantly, her child. The very reason that her brother is let off so easily for his sexual transgression is because he remains with his family.
Well, I can never resist a Tolstoy discussion either, as you can see!
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