- Hardcover: 400 pages
- Publisher: Pegasus Books (Nov. 18 2014)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1605986402
- ISBN-13: 978-1605986401
- Product Dimensions: 16 x 2.8 x 23.6 cm
- Shipping Weight: 499 g
- Average Customer Review: Be the first to review this item
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #301,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Tolstoy's False Disciple: The Untold Story Of Leo Tolstoy And Vladimir Chertkov Hardcover – Nov 18 2014
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Popoff draws on long unavailable archival materials, including Chertkov's letters to examine the relationship that tore apart Tolstoy's family and threatened his literary legacy. Chertkov's motives may have gone beyond greed, obsession or love of fame. How could the author of some of the world's most psychologically penetrating fiction fall in love with a third-rate con man? — The New York Times Book Review
Popoff, who had exclusive access to Chertkov’s letters to Tolstoy, constructs a narrative of a toxic, controlling friendship, in which Chertkov manipulated Tolstoy for his own gain and damaged the aging author’s fragile relationships with his family. Popoff deftly interweaves archival and secondary sources. — The New Yorker
Popoff’s Tolstoy’s False Disciple ought to be seen as the bookend to her biography of Sophia: Having earlier set out to resurrect the reputation of Tolstoy’s wife, she has now set out to bury the reputation of the man considered to have been Tolstoy’s most ardent follower. Revelatory and deeply disturbing. — The Wall Street Journal
Ms. Popoff’s Tolstoy’s False Disciple ought to be seen as the bookend to her biography of Sophia: Having earlier set out to resurrect the reputation of Tolstoy’s wife, she has now set out to bury the reputation of the man considered to have been Tolstoy’s most ardent follower. Revelatory and deeply disturbing. Chertkov’s baleful influence has been noted by others before, but Ms. Popoff’s book is the most damning indictment to date. — Wall Street Journal
The strange tangled story of the friendship — perhaps love is a better word — between Tolstoy and Vladimir Chertkov has engaged, tantalized, and befuddled biographers and lovers of Tolstoy for a century or more. It’s a riveting tale of discipleship and betrayal, with many sides to every point. The mysteries have, to a wonderful degree, been explored in detail with a great deal of fresh evidence by Alexandra Popoff, a brilliant biographer and Russian scholar. I admire her work here immensely. — Jay Parini, author of "The Last Station"
Popoff’s writing flows with narrative ease, smoothly integrating historical data including information from memoirs written by friends, along with brief summaries of Tolstoy’s original writings alongside Chertkov’s alterations. Thanks to scholars and researchers like Popoff, much of Tolstoy’s original works can now be restored. — Author Link
An impressive work of seminal archival research and scholarship. A profound and invaluable contribution for students of Tolstoy's life and work. Exceptionally well written, organized and presented. — Midwest Book Review
Popoff, who had exclusive access to Chertkov’s letters to Tolstoy, constructs a narrative of a toxic, controlling friendship, in which Chertkov manipulated Tolstoy for his own gain and damaged the aging author’s fragile relationships with his family. — New Yorker
Well-researched. The book is fascinating—and it fills a gap, providing the first full account of the bizarre relationship between a great man and his 'moral antipode.' — Publishers Weekly
A well-written, polemical view of Tolstoy’s self-appointed vicar on earth. — The Spectator (UK)
About the Author
Alexandra Popoff is the author of the award-winning biography Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography and The Wives: The Women Behind Russia's Literary Giants, a Wall Street Journal Best Book of the Year. She lives in Canada.
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Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I can't vouch for how unbiased the author is. I can say Chertkov comes off as a ingratiating parasite of the highest order. To Tolstoy he came on bended knee as his apostle. He was a Rasputin, eventually to influence or have a hand in every aspect of Tolstoy's personal and literary life even after Tolstoy's death at age 82.
Chartkov, A master manipulator, charmed and fawned over Tolstoy and as Tolstoy aged was able to bend Tolstoy's thinking to his own. One of the many things that make me shudder is that this hack thought himself able to edit Tolstoy's work.
For more on this subject look for "'The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy,' reviewed by Michael Dirda"
I could not have said it better myself then SOPHIE PINKHAM `Tolstoy's False Disciple,' did in the NY Times.