For Tolstoy and Russia, Still No Happy Ending
By ELLEN BARRY and SOPHIA KISHKOVSKY
Published: January 3, 2011
MOSCOW — A couple of months ago one of Russia’s elder statesmen set out on a paradoxical mission: to rehabilitate one of the most beloved figures in Russian history, Tolstoy.
This would have seemed unnecessary in 2010, a century after the author’s death. But last year Russians wrestled over Tolstoy much as they did when he was alive. Intellectuals accused theRussian Orthodox Church of blacklisting a national hero. The church accused Tolstoy of helping speed the rise of the Bolsheviks. The melodrama of his last days, when he fled his family estate to take up the life of an ascetic, was revived in all its pulpy detail, like some kind of early-stage reality television.
And in a country that rarely passes up a public celebration, the anniversary of his death, on Nov. 20, 1910, was not commemorated by noisy galas or government-financed cinematic blockbusters. Officially speaking, it was barely noted at all.
GJ - A 16 year-old said she enjoyed A. Karenina. I said, "You can borrow my copy of War and Peace." She said, "I read that last year, thanks."
Talk about a downer!