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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Tolstoy, A Russian Life


The drought is over. I have begun reading again. The first biography I read of Tolstoy was A N Wilson's which I bought on Amazon. At the time there was no 'The Last Station' and I could not find much information on Yasnaya Polyana. Wilson's bio was excellent in parts and brought so much of Yasnaya Polyana to life for me. I am hoping Bartlett will do just the same. One of my favourite vignettes from Wilson's bio is when Chertkhov witnesses Tolstoy swatting a mosquito... which horrified Chertkhov... which amused me. I don't remember whether they included this scene in The Last Station or not. If you are out there looking for work of Tolstoy's I have a good recommend, actually it was Baz Luhrmann who told me about it, and that is Sergei Bondarchuk's 'War and Peace'- which is wonderful viewing for this Anitpodean winter http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0063794/.

As an after thought, there is something that probably does not get mentioned often enough - and that is the thread between Jesus, Tolstoy, Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jnr. Tolstoy followed Jesus, Gandhi studied Tolstoy and through Tolstoyanism found the path of passive resistance and Martin Luther said (I am paraphrasing dramatically as it was a quote I heard on a televised interview) that 'Jesus Christ lit up his life, and Gandhi gave him his path' (referring to the act of passive resistance).

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