Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

A few years after finishing “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy sank into a spiritual funk or crisis that resulted in his work, “A Confession.”  In the latter work, he shares the following recollection from his formative years: The kind aunt with whom I lived, herself the purest of beings, always told me that there was nothing she … Continue reading Anna Karenina – Parts 1 and 2 (of 8)

Koheleth and Tolstoy

February 1, 2021 Reading “Koheleth” and Tolstoy's “Confession” back-to-back lifts both works for me.  Both works struggle with the fact that death is coming for everyone.  Both observe constantly how the good and the wicked have random rewards in this life; both hang on to the idea of knowledge/wisdom while questioning both its extent and … Continue reading Koheleth and Tolstoy

Napoleon and Alexander the Greats?

September 1, 2020 Reading “War and Peace” and watching Epic History TV’s documentaries about Napoleon and Alexander the Great (see below), I’m struck by some parallels between the two men.  Alexander’s conquests spread Hellenistic culture and some Greek ideas about democracy.  Napoleon’s conquests are said to have exported some of the ideas of the French … Continue reading Napoleon and Alexander the Greats?