Posts Tagged: tolstoy

Exploring the “Russian Soul”

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For the New York Times, Francine Prose and Benjamin Moser share their experiences reading 19th century Russian literature. While Prose shows an appreciation for the timeless themes of Tolstoy and Gogol, Moser contends that what makes 19th century Russian writers distinctive is the way their work “echoed their particular national history.” 

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The Science of Why You Can’t Read Good Literature

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Writer Michael Harris discusses digital distraction and reading War and Peace at Salon:

But there’s a religious certainty required in order to devote yourself to one thing while cutting off the rest of the world. We don’t know that the inbox is emergency-free, we don’t know that the work we’re doing is the work we ought to be doing.

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Bringing Tolstoy to the West

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More people were reading Tolstoy than any other author in translation at the beginning of the 20th century, but as late as the 1880s, few non-Russians had even heard of him. Translators were deterred partly because of the length of his works and complexities of language, not to mention his overwhelming Russian-ness. At the Financial Times, Rosamund Bartlett provides an account of how English speakers came to the Russian novelist’s works.

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One More Thing That Literature Is Good For

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A few weeks ago, I went to a dermatologist to have something on my nose removed. He said less than two sentences to me, asked me one question he didn’t listen to the answer to, ignored my protests, had a nurse hold me down, stuck a large needle in my nose with no warning, and then dug the thing out with a scalpel even though the anesthesia was barely working.

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