Art Works Blog

Tolstoy Lives

It's an understatement to say Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, aka Leo Tolstoy, was a giant among men. Not only was he an iconoclastic activisthis practice of nonviolent resistance influenced both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohadnas Gandhibut he was one of the finest writers to ever write in any language. Tolstoy's timeless literature includes War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and two phenomenal novellas, Hadji Murad and The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Over one hundred years ago, on November 20, 1910, Tolstoy passed away. Yet his influence and mythic presence live on through the film depictions of his life and work, and through the celebration of his literary feats. Today, we're going to check out the beginning of the audio guide of our Big Read selection, The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Trust me when I tell you it ain't a spoiler alert that Ivan doesn't live to see the end of this story. In fact, we find out he dies in the opening scene. Expert actor Alfred Molina was kind enough to bring key excerpts of Tolstoy's immortal words to life. Take it away, Alfred. 
Sidenote: The full half-hour audio documentary includes commentary from the Librarian of Congress, James H. Billington; critic Susan Balee; novelist Olga Grushin; writers Martin Amis, N. Scott Momaday, and Cynthia Ozick; Dr. Sherwin Nuland; and biographer Jay Parini. 

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