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The Bond of the Furthest ApartEssays on Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Bresson, and Kafka$
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Sharon Cameron

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780226413907

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226414232.001.0001

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The Sight of Death in Tolstoy

The Sight of Death in Tolstoy

(p.75) 3 The Sight of Death in Tolstoy
The Bond of the Furthest Apart

Sharon Cameron

University of Chicago Press

This essay engages two strains of Tolstoy’s writing. In the first, the sight of death is the foundation of ethical understanding; in the second, if ethical understanding is practiced, there is no death of any consequence. The latter half of the essay turns to Bresson’s L’Argent, a filmic adaptation of Tolstoy’s “The Forged Coupon” which transforms Tolstoy’s gospelized ethics to an immanent ethics, raising the question of whether ethics is phenomenal and embodied (as in Levinas and Derrida) or whether it is evental (as in Badiou). An examination of aspects of Wittgenstein’s writing on ethics, T. J. Clark’s The Sight of Death, and Tolstoy’s fable “Alyosha Gorshok” sharpen the consideration of whether ethics is natural or supernatural.

Keywords:   sight of death, Leo Tolstoy, L'Argent, Robert Bresson, forged coupon, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alyosha Gorshok, ethics

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