Bringing Tolstoy to the West


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.

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American (Rowman & Littlefield, April 2022). His writing has appeared in Chicago Review of Books, Southern Review of Books, The Offing, 45th Parallel Magazine, Little Fiction, Vol 1. Brooklyn, and elsewhere. He tweets @IanMacAllen and is online at More from this author →