Olenin, a young nobleman who is disenchanted with city life, finds himself caught up in the wild beauty of the Caucasus and the simplicity of its people.
In the setting of what is present-day Kazakhstan, Tolstoy examines two psychological problems. The first dilemma is that of a young man who desires both fulfilling love and a place as a respected member of society. The other is the difficulty of a primitive society to accept domination by a higher culture that has no understanding of the traditions it asks its colonists to cast aside.
One of Tolstoy's lesser-known novels, The Cossacks is one of the finest pictures of Cossack society in all of Russian literature.
Translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude.
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