Tag Archives: Tolstoy
Jáchym Topol

International writers on (dis)unity

At 2 Paragraphs there is a cool interview series in which international writers respond to a the following Tolstoy quote and follow-up question: “I know that my unity with all people cannot be destroyed by national boundaries.” Is a similar belief essential in your work? Or are cultural and national distinctions a critical component of […]

Continue Reading

Literary roundup: Russian literature in prisons, on spies and some Czech honey

The Washington Post has an amazing article about teaching Russian literature in prisons in Virginia. Not only does it recount how convicted felons are getting enthusiastic about reading Tolstoy, Dostoevsky and company, and having their minds opened up to the wider possibilities of life by what they’re reading as opposed to being reformed or restrained […]

Continue Reading

Literary roundup: The price of Russian avant-garde poetry and a Hebrew poet and photographer of Russian writers

Haaretz has a fascinating article on the rich but deeply conflicted life of the Hebrew poet and mostly St. Petersburg resident photographer Asher K. Shapiro. Having converted to Christianity on what he thought was his deathbed so he could marry his pregnant Orthodox Russian girlfriend Shapiro spent his life with the social benefits and personal […]

Continue Reading

Literary roundup: The first Prague expat poet and Pushkin’s Pushkin

English-speaking expats coming to Prague to write poetry and become famous – yes, you’ve heard that one before and assume that piece of ancient history dates back to the early 1990s. In fact, it stretches just a bit further back, and on November 24 in Prague there will be a series of events commemorating Elizabeth […]

Continue Reading

Literary roundup: Imre Kertész’s retirement, Hermann Ungar makes Top 10 and Tolstoy’s head

In the wake of Phillip Roth’s retirement announcement another prestigious Jewish writer getting up there age-wise, has decided to lay down his pen. Hungarian writer Imre Kertész has said he’s finished writing in an article in ActuaLitté. Unlike Roth, Kertész pins his decision down to subject matter, and having exhausted the theme of the Holocaust […]

Continue Reading

Bananas for Anna, or the Karenins are about to split

What do Tolstoy, a clothing chain, Elif Batuman and a Hollywood blockbuster have in common? Nothing. But wait, that was before the launching of Banana Republic’s Anna Karenina clothing line to profit from the publicity of the new Tolstoy novel adaptation about to hit the theaters. Elif Batuman gets thrown in there because the LA […]

Continue Reading

Reading Russia: yesterday and today, true and false

At Russia Beyond the Headlines novelist Zakhar Prilepin has written a broadside against the neglect of contemporary Russian literature, ongoing simplifications of Russia he sees coming from the West, and makes a case for a non-parodic, traditional, conservative form of Russian writing as it existed in the time of Tolstoy and Chekhov. Well, he is […]

Continue Reading

Literary roundup: The apartment of Russia’s King Lear and Tolstoy the outrageous

At The Moscow Times, John Freedman writes about discovering that the unassuming Moscow apartment building he passed countless times had belonged to Russian/Soviet/Yiddish theater legend Solomon Mikhoels. As Freedman notes, Mikhoels performance of King Lear was his most famous and celebrated role along with that of Tevye the Milkman (best-known worldwide in adaptation in Fiddler […]

Continue Reading

Russian books and stories, or Tolstoy in a winter landscape

The 25th Moscow International Book Fair wrapped up today and if the scant English-language news coverage is any indication, either this particular event is somewhat backward looking or else the Iron Curtain has redescended across the Continent recently without my noticing. Here are some of the headlines relating to the fair: “Books by Fidel Castro […]

Continue Reading

Czech Literature Night goes European

From the works of Havel and Mácha to the Tata Bojs and a Hungarian vampire, Europe celebrates its literature What began as a Czech project called Literature Night has now spread from Prague across the continent, with Czech and European authors appearing and having their work read from London to Yerevan. In its fourth year […]

Continue Reading