Netflix's first original Russian series is entitled 'Anna K' and will be a modern retelling of Leo Tolstoy's novel 'Anna Karenina.'
Mental Health Awareness Month has been observed in may since 1949. This month is meant to raise awareness of those living with mental or behavioral health issues and to help reduce the stigma so many experience. For that reason, in this article we’re talking about 5 famous authors who lived with mental illness, and how that affected their work.
[Trigger warning for depression, and suicide.]
1. Silvia Plath
Silvia Plath is perhaps one of the most famous examples of an author with mental illness. Her life and work were greatly affected by her illness; there is even something called the “Sylvia Plath Effect,” which is the phenomenon that poets are more susceptible to mental illness than other creative writers. She was diagnosed with depression when she was 20 years old, and consequently died of suicide at age 30. In her novel, The Bell Jar, Plath describes the decline of main character Esther into a depressive episode and her stay in a psychiatric ward, which mirrors Silvia’s own life.
2. Leo Tolstoy
Often regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time, Leo Tolstoy also battled with depression. After writing his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, the writer began experiencing depression, and even went as far as rejecting his literary success and calling Anna Karenina and “abomination.” During his early fifties (the years he struggled with depression), Leo wrote A Confession, a short work on the subject of melancholia, philosophy and religion.
3. Virginia Woolf
Virginia Woolf is another author who severely struggled with depression, and it is also now agreed upon that she had bipolar disorder. Around 1910 she had been admitted three times to a “private nursing home for women with nervous disorder.” Her novel Mrs. Dalloway is a manifesto of mental health awareness, and in it she criticizes the medical establishment and medical discourse surrounding mental illness at the time.
4. Ernest Hemingway
Ernest Hemingway had a very complicated history of mental health. He suffered from severe depression, paranoid delusions and bipolar disorder, which were exacerbated by a history of alcoholism, severe head injuries, and a genetic disorder known as hemochromatosis. His family was also greatly impacted by mental health issues, and his father, brother, and sister (and himself) all died by suicide. His granddaughter Mariel, now a mental health advocate, created a documentary called, “Running From Crazy,” which reveals the impact mental illness had on her family.
5. Zelda Fitzgerald
Perhaps less famously than her husband F. Scott Fitzgerald, Zelda — the novelist, socialite, and painter — also struggled greatly with her mental health. She was in and out of mental hospitals during the 1930s and 1940s, and although she was diagnosed with schizophrenia, it is agreed today that a more accurate diagnosis would’ve been bipolar disorder. During her time at the mental hospital she experienced a rush of creativity and wrote Save Me the Waltz as part of her therapy.
The complicated lives of these writers highlight the importance of destigmatizing mental health, as well as the importance of accurate diagnosis and effective treatment.
Featured image via lletraferits
Happy birthday to one of the most acclaimed classic writers of the world: Leo Tolstoy. The Russian writer wrote numerous novels that have become literary mainstays, such as Anna Karenina, The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and War And Peace. Surely you’ve heard of at least one of them, although you may not have actually read them.
Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, Russia in 1828. In the 1860s, he wrote his most famous novel, which we’ve already mentioned: War And Peace. Initially published serially, later collected into a single volume, spanning the period of 1805 to 1820. Since its publication, it has been regarded as Tolstoy’s finest achievement and a huge high mark of literature in general.
Image via Amazon
Tolstoy continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s, until his death in 1910. But War And Peace remains his most famous achievement, understandably so. He spent the better of the 1860s toiling over his epic masterpiece. Portions of it were first published in The Russian Messenger, where it was first titled “The Year of 1805.” More chapters were released, until Tolstoy eventually finished in 1868. Both critics and the public were buzzing about the novel’s historical accounts of the Napoleonic Wars, combined with its thoughtful development of realistic yet fictional characters. The novel also uniquely incorporated three long essays satirizing the laws of history. Among the ideas that Tolstoy extols in War and Peace is the belief that the quality and meaning of one’s life is mainly derived from his day-to-day activities.
Image via Wikipedia
After War And Peace, Tolstoy followed it with Anna Karenina, where the first line is among his most famous quotes. It said:
‘All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.’
This book was published in installments from 1873 to 1877. The royalties earned from both novels made Tolstoy rich, contributing to his growing status as a beloved author. However, after Anna Karenina, Tolstoy grew depressed and suffered a spiritual crisis. He attempted to find answers in the Russian Orthodox Church but they did not have any answers that satisfied him. He wound up developing his own system of beliefs and expressed them in further books he wrote in the 1880s. However, this cost him to be ousted from the Church and watched by the secret police. This perhaps contributed to his dwindling popularity, with the exception of The Death of Ivan Illyich, which found acclaim and popularity.
Despite this, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and spiritual leader, influencing the likes of Ghandi among others. Also during his later years, Tolstoy reaped the rewards of international acclaim. Yet he still struggled to reconcile his spiritual beliefs with the tensions they created in his home life. His wife not only disagreed with his teachings, she disapproved of his disciples, who regularly visited Tolstoy at the family estate. Their troubled marriage took on an air of notoriety in the press. Anxious to escape his wife’s growing resentment, in October 1910, Tolstoy, his daughter, Aleksandra, and his physician, Dr. Dushan P. Makovitski, embarked on a pilgrimage. Valuing their privacy, they traveled incognito, hoping to dodge the press, to no avail.
He died in November in 1910, where he was buried in the family estate following his passing. He was survived by his wife and his 8 children he had with it. Today, Tolstoy is remembered as a masterpiece of a writer, with a gift for describing a character’s motives and remembering to focus on their everyday actions to describe their overall purpose.
Happy birthday, Tolstoy! Maybe crack open one of his novels and check him out today.
Featured Image Via The Guardian
It’s Thirsty Thursday, and Bookstr is bringing you Booze & Books, our newest weekly feature dedicated to drinking games and booze-book pairings. This week, we’ll be changing it up with a booze-book pairing. Our recommendation? Any booze and any book. Since that’s a little too general, we’re going to be paring classic books with soon-to-be-classic beer. So, friends, read up & drink up. By the end of this list, these pages won’t be the only thing turnt.
Remember: drink responsibly and read voraciously!
1. Lord of the Flies – Natty Light
Images Via AMazon & Thrillist
Lord of the Flies is about a classroom full of boys getting trapped together and resorting to savagery, which sounds to me like just about every frat party I’ve ever attended. The parallels don’t end there: we can assume they didn’t have a wide variety of beverage options. And that’s what Natty Light is: not your top pick, what happens to be there, preferable to cannibalism.
2. LESS THAN ZERO – BRETT YEAST & HELLES
Images Via Amazon & untappd
Let’s get real: Less Than Zero pairs well with just about any intoxicating substance, both because that’s what the book is all about and because you might need a buzz to handle some of this violence and apathy. A disturbing tale of debauchery and indifference, Less Than Zero warns that the only thing you might want to have in common with these characters is a drink (or more). By the time the book reaches its horrific conclusion, you’ll have reached the bottom of the bottle.
3. anna karenina – baby daddy
Images via Goodreads & Wine Searcher
Unlike poor Anna, let’s hope that this Baby Daddy isn’t the reason for your untimely demise. Actually, let’s just say we hope a Baby Daddy is the only thing you and Anna have in common. Just remember that too much of a good thing is definitely, definitely a bad thing… especially if the ‘good’ thing is an extra-marital affair, in which case, it probably wasn’t that good of a thing to begin with.
4. 1984 – THE TRUTH
Image Via Untappd
The truth is that 1984 wasn’t that far off, and that would be a good punch line for a joke if it were a joke at all. Flying Dog’s concept behind this popular beer is unabashed capitalism: “Full Disclosure: This beer came to fruition because we saw a gap in our portfolio and we wanted to increase our market share. Sometimes the truth hurts. But most often, it’s damn refreshing.” Is this less a concept and more a statement of fact? Sure. But the idea of psychological manipulation and control is prevalent throughout 1984, making it an excellent pair. Also, this drink is as strong as you’ll want it to be.
5. THE ROAD – SIT DOWN SON
Images Via Amazon & Passion Vines
“Sit down, son,” is possibly what The Road’s unnamed father said to his unnamed son as he explained that he would, potentially, one day shoot himself with one of the family’s two rounds of ammo to avoid being eaten by cannibals. Let’s hope that this experience (that of having a beer and knowing that you’ll never force anyone to strip naked at gunpoint) is much more enjoyable.
6. THE HOBBIT – DRAGONS & YUMYUMS
Images Via Amazon & Untappd
The Hobbit pairs perfectly with this fun, fruity ale, a comforting yet sweet taste to remind you of all your nostalgic feelings towards Tolkien’s beloved series. The beer also comes in an unusual color: a particularly vivid pink sure to remind you of summer days and the beautiful sweep of that New Zealand landscape. Hobbits pretty much live to chill with their friends, and why shouldn’t you? Crack one of these open and get (lit)erary. No one would stop you from adding some pipeweed.
7. FEAR & LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS – DEATH BEFORE DISCO
Image Via Amazon & Lynchburg craft beer cellar
Although Fear & Loathing In Las Vegas was released in the 1970s (so, before disco, you may note) it was actually written during the 1960s. The novel depicts an intense spiritual death, the end of the hippie zeitgeist and the senseless space between generations. While the novel contains little actual death, it’s filled with an annihilation of ideas, from hotel rooms to fast cars—American symbols broken open to reveal the ugliness inside. There was plenty of death after and during disco, too, but little of it has captured so vividly. I’ll drink to that.
Featured Image Via The List.