[VIDEO] Vintage: Rare 1908 Film Footage of Leo Tolstoy During His Final Days

This item recommended by hitchhikeamerica’s Tim Shey, from Open Culture:

“My life came to a standstill,” wrote Leo Tolstoy in his 1882 conversion memoir A Confession, “I could not breathe, eat, drink, and sleep, and I could not help doing these things.” So Tolstoy’s described his “arrest of life,” a period of severe depression that led to a very deep, personal brand of faith in his late middle age.

[Read the dramatic story of Tolstoy’s last ten days in this translated excerpt from Pavel Basinsky’s award winning Leo Tolstoy: Escape from Paradise.]

The towering Russian novelist renounced worldly desires and came to identify with the poor, the former serfs of his aristocratic class. Tolstoy’s radical religious anarchism in his final years spread his fame far among the peasantry just as his literary achievements had brought him worldwide renown among the reading public.

[Also see: Putin Signs Russian Law Banning Swearing in Arts and Media]

So famous was Tolstoy, William Nickell tells us, that Russian critic Vasily Rozanov wrote that “to be a Russian and not have [seen] Tolstoy was like being Swiss and not having seen the Alps.”

Nickell describes the occasions that Tolstoy appeared on film, the new medium that allowed the author’s millions of adoring fans to get a glimpse of him. Just as his life was punctuated by a radical departure from his earlier attitudes, his medium was in for a shock as film forever changed the way stories were told…(read more)

Just above, see a more complete film of Tolstoy’s death and funeral procession. The author died at age 82 after he abruptly decided to leave his wife, taking only a few possessions and his doctor…(read more)

Open Culture


One Comment on “[VIDEO] Vintage: Rare 1908 Film Footage of Leo Tolstoy During His Final Days”

  1. […] A Single Story of Soviet Russia Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky–Philip Yancey Crazy Russian Drivers [Video] Vintage:  Rare 1908 Film Footage of Leo Tolstoy During His Final Days […]

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