Tag Archives: Leo Tolstoy

Reading During Hurricane Irene

How – and what – does one read in the midst of a hurricane? Our hometown, on the western shore of the Chesapeake Bay, lay right in the western edge of Hurricane Irene’s path northward.  We were fairly certain that the storm … Continue reading

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Robert Coover’s “Matinée”: Projection, Distortion, and Just Maybe, Infection

This morning (with Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony spilling out of my desktop MP3 player, because the Wagner was interesting but when it’s playing I can’t think), I’m sipping at a cooling cup of coffee and trying to decide whether or not I liked … Continue reading

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What Art Isn’t – Tolstoy Disses Beethoven and Wagner

Leo Tolstoy at Yasnaya Polyana, May 1908. Color photograph by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky. I spent a considerable chunk of last week reading Leo Tolstoy’s lengthy post-conversion essay What Is Art? In the essay, Tolstoy pontificates on aesthetic questions that are still being wrestled over in the … Continue reading

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Torment and Ecstasy, Pleasure and Punishment: Reading Pushkin’s “Prisoner of the Caucasus”

Last week I read several fables and tales from a large number that Tolstoy compiled to use in teaching his serfs to read.  Although they’re not exactly “short stories” in a modern  sense, they were a delightful way to ease … Continue reading

Posted in Aleksandr Pushkin, Leo Tolstoy, Quest, Reading, Stories | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bookstores, Banya Hats and Baltika 7 in Brighton Beach

In a perfect world, I’d have begun my month of reading Leo Tolstoy with a day trip to Yasnaya Polyana, the historic Tolstoy family estate near Tula.  The countryside around Moscow is beautiful in late July and early August – a … Continue reading

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