Lucerne (by Tolstoy) Source: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lucerne_(by_Tolstoy)

"Lucerne: From the Recollections of Prince Nekhliudoff" ("Из зaписок князя Д. Нехлюдовa. Люцерн", "Iz zapisok knyazya D. Nekhlyudova. Lyutsern") is a first person narrative, in the form of diary and based on personal experiences,[1] written by Leo Tolstoy in 1857 and translated into English in 1899 by Nathan Haskell Dole. It takes the form of a travel diary of someone in Lucerne, Switzerland

History of the Work[edit]

Though classified by scholars as a short story, it is clear that this story is based on his personal experiences as noted in Tolstoy's Diaries, where Tolstoy also notes his travels through Zurich, Friedrichshafen, Stuttgart, Baden-Baden, Frankfurt, and Dresden.[2] According to historian Henri Troyat, during his time in Lucerne, Tolstoy gambled heavily, writing one night in his diary, "Lost every cent, you pig!"[3]

It was first published by Sovremennik ("The Contemporary") in 1857, after he first recited the work to the editor Nekrassof. His meeting with Nekrassof was in St. Petersburg, only a few weeks after his visiting Lucerne, and after getting it published, Tolstoy was back on the move toward Moscow.[4]

Literary Evaluation[edit]

One literary critic at the Yale Press has described the work as one of "pantheistic despair," which originated as a letter, and whose key moment is when Tolstoy watches a busker musician who is performing in the street being unrewarded by cruel tourists.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Justin Weir (2011). Leo Tolstoy and the Alibi of Narrative. Yale University Press. p. iv.
  2. ^ Leo Tolstoy (2015). R. F. Christian (ed.). Tolstoy's Diaries Volume 1: 1847-1894. Vol. 1.
  3. ^ Henri Troyat (2001). Tolstoy. Translated by Nancy Amphoux. Grove Press. p. 176.
  4. ^ Leo Tolstoy (1911). Pavel Biri︠u︡kov (ed.). Leo Tolstoy, His Life and Work: Autobiographical Memoirs, Letters, and Biographical Material. Vol. 1. p. 248.

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