Featured image via NY Daily News
Featured image via NY Daily News
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.
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.
After War And Peace, Tolstoy followed it with Anna Karenina, where the first line is among his most famous quotes. It said:
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
Wordsworth Classics is familiar name to many book lovers but maybe not for the best reason. They print high-quality paperback versions of beloved literary classics at a low price. After your local library, Wordsworth is one of the best places to look for these titles on the cheap. However, Wordsworth Classics is also infamous for printing some absolutely horrendous covers. So, we at Bookstr have taken it upon ourselves to create a definitive list of the absolute worst Wordsworth Classics Book Covers.
Ok, all things considered, this isn’t the worst. You’ve got the monster, you’ve got all the spooky steam, but still…You can do better, Wordsworth.
Why do all the faces look so hastily photoshopped on??? Wordsworth Classics, I need answers.
Ok, I kinda get what they were going for here. But I just can’t ignore how comically tiny this dude’s hand looks. Plus, that face gives me serious The Mask vibes.
Y’know what screams “brooding reflection on ethics and free will”??? A knockoff Jim Morrison with pupils the size of golf balls.
Maybe Wordsworth is just not good at Dostoevsky covers, I don’t know. But I’d rather not look at this emo kid’s mug after putting down this harrowing saga about young Myshkin.
This is a two-for-one.
Yikers. Again, that second one falls just on the wrong the side of the uncanny valley.
Look, we’re not saying we don’t respect the Wordsworth Classics hustle. And thankfully they’ve printed editions with better covers, so you don’t have to tolerate these crimes against graphic design if you want get your hands on these classic stories…
….though often the new ones aren’t even that much of an improvement.
Featured Image Via Amazon
If you’re anything like me, SparkNotes has always been there when you need it. Now, they’re not only helping you pass your classes, but also serving you the spiciest of literature memes. They’re all pure gold, but here are just a few.
Unfortunately there’s no third option, so if you want to set the Minotaur up on a blind date with your friend, you’re kind of out of luck. Otherwise, you’re good though. What color do your sails need to be if you didn’t slay the Minotaur but you’re seeing it this Friday?
I mean, he’s already in love with her by that point, but you get the idea. He’s always talking about how mean she is, and then boom, marry me! Of course, the same could be said of her. What a stressful ship. Still though, you know, I’m on it.
Curiosity may not have killed the cat, but it sure killed Dorian Gray. Still, he lived a while looking fresh and evil in stead of old and evil, so if you’ve got the attic space, why not? In this economy though? The thing’s going under the bed.
Sure, you might not be the most conventionally attractive, but your secret underground hideaway is second to none, and isn’t it what’s on the inside that matters? What’s under the surface? (What’s directly under the opera house?)
Maybe not as relatable as the original video, but definitely a strong mood, and just as futile. The body stays right under the floorboards after all. If only there’d been seashells on the doorknobs, maybe things would have gone better.
Don’t look back in anger (or at all). Going to the depths of hell is a nice gesture, and who doesn’t like musicians, but you’ve gotta stick the landing by actually fulfilling the deal. Just one opinion, but if both of you don’t come back alive, that’s a bad date.
All images via SparkNotes
Hello internet denizens. Do you Like Homer? Sappho? Memes? Allow me to introduce you to the swirling vortex that is the classics fandom. It may have been two-hundred years since they got any new material, but the community is still going strong. Let’s take a look.
Here, a meme about the greatest intellectual tragedy of all time.
But it’s not all about history. Here are some about the Iliad.
Alright, so it wasn’t a gift, it was a sacrifice to the gods that the Trojans were foolish enough to steal, but I’m not mad about it. Trojan horse memes may be antique, but they’re classic (heh).
How about another Iliad meme, this time thanks to Parks and Rec.
No opinions on the Iliad? No worries! There are general interest memes as well, about things like the Greek gods.
Zeus is a thot. That’s the real takeaway. There’s actually a lot of comedic Zeus hate, which is honestly incredibly valid. Try this one on for size.
Of course, it didn’t work out very well for Prometheus, but at least he got a burn in before being chained… to a rock… and having his liver… repeatedly eaten. Yikes. He’s definitely going to need more than aloe.
Just one more history meme before I go.
March fifteenth may have come and gone somehow, but jokes about stabbing Caesar don’t have to be contained to one date, and next year, when you see this last meme, you’ll know it’s come.
Featured image via CLASSICALLY CLASSICAL CLASSICS MEMES