Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Tolstoy was a great writer but boy did he have some strange ideas. A while ago I read a book called The Last Station by Jay Parini. The novel was about the final year of Tolstoy's life and revolved, to a large degree, around the difficulties between Tolstoy and his wife Sofya. At that point in his life Tolstoy was venerated in Russia, treated as a saintly figure by peasants and the upper classes alike. He lived, surrounded by Tolstoyan acolytes, in some luxury with his wife and family. This life of luxury went completely against the ideas of simplicity etc that Tolstoy preached to everyone else. He was also convinced that sexual abstinence was essential to the good life. This was again too much for his long suffering wife who knew all too well about Tolstoy's debauched youth and probably a thing or two about what he was up to in later life as well...
Anyway, I've just about finished the Kreutzer Sonata now and despite Tolstoy's weirdness the story/novella is yet another reminder of why I love Russian literature SO much.
(Incidentally it looks as though the Last Station is to be made into a film with Helen Mirren as Sofya - bound to be shite of course!)
Posted by CPMatthew