Russian President Vladimir Putin has a secret fascination with Leo Tolstoy. As a young KGB agent, he purportedly made a pilgrimage to the Leo Tolstoy Museum and Estate at Yasnaya Polyana. But for a guy who says Tolstoy is his favorite writer, Putin is, well, a very bad reader.
Tolstoy is actually a pretty appropriate author for twentysomethings to be reading in our current society. Although he lived in Russia over one-hundred years ago, Tolstoy and his characters knew all about ambition, failure, stress, and striving for meaning and goodness.
For an authoritarian state, a law that is rarely, or only very selectively enforced, yet gives agents of the state broad leeway to police their citizens, and leads to wide ranging changes in public and private behavior, is the best kind of law there is.
Lots of people around campus ask why I decided to take this class, considering the high volume of assigned reading. I'm in this class because I've loved Russian Literature since I was a sophomore in high school.
I have a dozen things I am supposed to be focusing on this summer, but for the past month, what have I snuck off to do whenever I have had a spare moment, like an addict looking for a fix? I am re-reading (for the third time) Anna Karenina.
When it comes to fiction writers you read, which countries are most of them from? Why do you focus on literature from those countries? And what are your favorite books from outside your geographic comfort zone?
I want to tell you about an exhibition -- of a sort -- consisting of hundreds if not thousands of striking images presented onscreen to an audience eager to get to know the latest version of Leo Tolstoy's spectacularly unhappy Anna Karenina.
Clearly, De Luca is indebted to the poetics of prose (if not to poetry) since there are no fewer than 50 instances in which he uses similes and an almost equal number of metaphors. It's apparent, too, that the use of such poetic devices are a kind of mainstay of his art.
Tolstoy has been better served by translators than other Russian writers, but there is still the challenge of coming closer to the original, of catching more of its specific stylistic qualities than previous translations have done.