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Living by the Golden Rule: Mentor – Scholar – World Citizen

A Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder’s 75th Birthday

Edited By Andreas Nolte and Dennis Mahoney

This Festschrift for Wolfgang Mieder, preeminent paremiologist and folklorist, combines personal tributes and scholarly papers by colleagues, friends, and former students – presented in three categories that address his roles as a mentor, scholar, and world citizen over many decades.

The central scholarly section likewise consists of three parts. The papers dealing with proverbs examine them as patterns, stereotypes, rhetorical devices, media for self-enchantment, and means of allusion in works by Tolstoy, Solzhenitsyn, Chukovskaya, and Kempowski. A second group deals with fairy-tale motifs in literary works by Lehmann, Rabinowich, and Hummel. A third section includes topics ranging from James Bond to Stephen King, from runaway slaves to the Holocaust, and literature as cultural ecology.

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“What Men Live By”


Leo Tolstoy’s Proverb-Parable as a Source for Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s Novel Cancer Ward

…the whole meaning of existence – his own and of everyone in the world – came to his mind. The image he saw did not seem to be embodied in the work or activity, which occupied them, which they believed was central in their lives, and by which they were known to others. The meaning of existence was to preserve unspoiled, undisturbed, and undistorted the image of eternity with which each person is born….

Cancer Ward, Chapter 30

Abstract: Scholars have long agreed about a close affinity existing between the literary works of Leo Tolstoy and those of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. This article will make a claim for a tie between one of Tolstoy’s proverb parables, “What Men Live By,” from the period of his 1880’s Stories for the People, and A. Solzhenitsyn’s famous novel, Cancer Ward.1

At the beginning of August 1914, the first “knot” of what would become his 5,000-page epic novel of Russia’s experience in the opening days of World War I, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn introduces his readers to the young student Isaakii, who four years earlier had made a pilgrimage to the Tolstoy estate at Iasnaia Poliana to pay homage to the venerated seer and unparalleled artist and teacher of ethics. As he stands among the linden and birch trees of the estate, Isaakii unexpectedly recognizes the eighty-two year old, white haired living icon characteristically dressed in...

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