I am overdosing on Leo Tolstoy at the moment.
I am reading “War and Peace” and listening to “Anna Karenina”. I am thoroughly enjoying both books, notwithstanding that I have read both previously.
Tolstoy’s writing is so beautiful, clear, accessible, and subtle that his books, like most classic novels, are worth returning to again and again.
The insight into society, Russian society, in the nineteenth century is fascinating; and it is easy to see how communism was born and the system of class, serfs, servants, workers and nobility was overthrown, at least partially.
Tolstoy’s characters are fully formed, real human beings and the level of detail in his writing is truly mind boggling, especially when you consider he would have written everything by long hand.
I read his long sentences with envy because we are told and taught nowadays that writing online, which is what I do to a great extent, should involve short sentences, short words, short paragraphs and have the muscular brevity of Hemingway and be capable of being skimmed by a time constrained internet surfer.
Fair enough. I get it.
But reading Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Dickens, Hardy, Austen, Eyre etc. is a welcome antidote to the required dumbing down to the greatest number of skimmers.
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