Friday, September 9, 2011

Leo Tolstoy


‘…The mature Tolstoy (like Walter Scott who kept the very identity of the author of Waverley a secret) could only write fiction because he disapproved of it.  The head and guts were at war.  But at its finest moments in this story [Anna Karenina], they fuse.  If we want the whole Tolstoy, he is here.  In the letters, the diaries, the tracts, the essays, the short stories, he is only present in bits…’

Author Leo Tolstoy was born this day, September 9th, in 1828.  Like other Russian writers, Tolstoy felt the influence of Sir Walter Scott.  The text above, from Andrew Wilson’s “Tolstoy” provides an interesting perspective on the writing of both authors.  Wilson also published a biography on Scott, titled The Laird of Abbotsford: A view of Sir Walter Scott”.  From that work:

'We encounter in Scott's novels the greatest diversity of realistic human characters outside Shakespeare; we discover from reading his biography one of the most genial men who ever lived'

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