Tag: russia

Happy Birthday Leo Tolstoy, Author of ‘War And Peace’!

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 Ilyichand War And PeaceSurely 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

iceberg

Scientist in Antarctica Stabs Colleague for Spoiling Book Endings

Has anyone ever spoiled the ending of a book to you and it made you so mad you wanted to kill them? Well, a Russian scientist at a remote Antarctic outpost tried to do just that. According to the New York Post, researcher Sergey Savitsky, stationed at Bellingshausen on King George Island, stabbed his colleague in the chest because the man kept telling him the endings of books before he had read them.

 

The Russian Bellingshausen station in Antarctica

The Russian Bellingshausen station in Antarctica | Image Via The Irish Times

 

It was apparently the first ever attempted murder of a human being in Antarctica, and it’s not immediately clear what books Sergey was reading the endings of which were so precious to him that spoilers led to extreme violence. The victim is expected to survive, and has been flown to a hospital in Chile.

 

The two men had worked together for four years in the hostile Antarctic conditions, and the close working conditions probably didn’t help their relationship. Sergey himself was taken back to Russia and arrested. Presumably, he’ll have plenty of books to read in prison, hopefully this time spoiler free.

 

Feature Image Via G Adventure

Rambo

How David Morrell and ‘Rambo’ Helped Dissolve the USSR

You may already know all about David Morrell, the legendary bestselling author of First Blood (the 1972 novel that the entire Rambo franchise is based on.) What you may not know, however, is that Rambo actually had a pretty big part in dissolving the USSR

 

David Morrell and Sylvester Stalone

David Morrell and Sylvester Stallone | Image via IMDB

 

Now, Morrell (AKA: Rambo’s Father) hadn’t actually set-out to achieve something so historic; he never could’ve known the power his words might hold while he was putting them on the page. And he didn’t actually learn about Rambo’s involvement in the dismantling of the Soviet Union until about fifteen-or-so-years after the initial Rambo adaptation was released.

 

At Thrillerfest this past weekend, Morrell recounted the story of how Rambo‘s influence in Poland came to his attention. 

During the early 2000’s, Morrell was visiting Poland on a book tour and noticed straight away that he was being treated, well, differently

 

David Morrell

Image Via davidmorrell.net

 

The flag that maybe things weren’t exactly as they seemed was that Morrell was visiting Poland at the same time as then-President Bill Clinton, and they happened to be staying in the same hotel. Despite the fact that the literal President of the United States was currently staying there, David Morrell was the one the hotel staff decided to place inside the Presidential Suite; Bill Clinton stayed in the second-best room, the suite usually left for authors.

 

Morrell thought that this was strange, but assumed that maybe there was a glitch in the system or something, so he didn’t really think too much about it…that is, until things got even stranger

 

The next clue was that, like clockwork, journalists were lining up to interview and speak with him, just one after the other in a seemingly-never-ending cycle:

 

It seemed like fifteen minutes would go by before a new journalist approached me…it got to the point where, eventually, I was being interviewed by this nice Polish woman, about thirty-five years old or so…and I just asked her, ‘what’s going on? why is everyone so excited to meet me?’

 

The woman informed Morrell that, during the late eighties and early nineties, while Poland was struggling to cut-ties with Russia, the Soviet Union had banned the Rambo film from entering the country. So, the people did what any citizens trapped within the confines of a fascist-ruled state would do; they smuggled copies of the film into the country, hosted illegal viewings, and soaked up every bit of activism, justice, and rebellion they could, before taking to the streets. 

 

In fact, demonstrators speaking out against the USSR found Rambo so inspiring that they drew from his speeches, wardrobe, and the entire energy he encompassed to make their protests that much more powerful.

 

The journalist looked at Morrell and stated,

 

So, you see, people love you here because Rambo helped dissolve the USSR.

 

It’s incredible just how powerful books and films can be, and the influence art can have on us; people have used music, novels, artwork, poetry, and more to protest injustices since the beginning of time.

 

So, let’s all take a piece of advice from David Morrell by creating the things we feel compelled to create, fearlessly and without a second-thought; we never know just how important they may turn out to be.

 

via GIPHY

 

 

 

 

Featured Image via Variety

saoirse ronan the seagull anton checkov

Saoirse Ronan Flies High with New Chekhov Adaptation ‘The Seagull’

Saoirse Ronan is going from strength to strength these days. After getting her big break as Bryony in the 2007 adaptation of Ian McEwan’s Atonement, the Irish born actress has gone on to star in numerous critically acclaimed book adaptations, most notably Brooklyn, based on the novel by Colm Tóibín, for which she was nominated for Best Actress at the Academy Awards. She received the nomination again this year for her role in Ladybird, but that wasn’t an adaptation, so nevermind. Up next for her is an adaptation of Russian playwright Anton Chekhov’s play The Seagull, which honestly looks like a lot of fun. 

 

 

As Variety notes, The Seagull is a “period piece set in the 1800s that follows the comically intertwining love affairs between family members and their visitors at their lakeside Russian estate.”

 

It also stars The Handmaid’s Tale Elisabeth Moss, Billy Howle, John Tenney, Mare Winningham and Brian Dennehy. Aesthetically, the piece looks beautiful, as well promising to be funny, moving and a little over the top. 

 

Featured Image Via IMDB

Dostoyevsky books

10 Dostoyevsky Quotes to Help You Get Real

The author of Crime and Punishment, The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov, among others, kicked the bucket many moons ago, but his words are immortal and thank goodness for that. My favorite quote of his is “Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment.” I will try to rid myself of my constant sense of bewilderment in your honor, Fyodor. 

 

1. If there is no God, everything is permitted.

 

2. To live without hope is to cease to live.

 

3. The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons.

 

4. The soul is healed by being with children.

 

5. Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and devil are fighting there, and the battlefield is the heart of man.

 

6. What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.

 

7. Taking a new step, uttering a new word, is what people fear most.

 

8. Much unhappiness has come into the world because of bewilderment and things left unsaid.

 

9. Men do not accept their prophets and slay them, but they love their martyrs and worship those whom they have tortured to death.

 

10. We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.

 

dostoyevsky gif

Via Behance

 

Featured Image Via dostoevsky-bts.com