The Big Read Blog (Archive)

The Death of Ivan Ilyich

What do these three tremendous actors have in common? They’ve all read excerpts of Big Read books, featured below. To hear the entire audio guides to these respective novels ---The Grapes of Wrath, The Death of Ivan Ilyich , and The Call of the Wild ---head over to The Big Read website . Start May...
Washington, DC "Leo Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana ", 1908, by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky. This was the first color photo portrait in Russia. At the age of 82, Leo Tolstoy famously succumbed to pneumonia on November 20, 1910 in an abandoned train station. His strange death was recently put on...
Washington, DC Portrait of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy. Oil on canvas. 124 × 88 cm. The State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow. Dr. James Billington, the Librarian of Congress for more than two decades, is also a leading authority on Russian history and culture. So naturally, we asked him to chime in when we...
Washington, DC Cabinet card of Count Leo Tolstoy by Sass, Moscow. Photo from Library of Congress Collection , George Kennan Papers. Working on some research for the blog this morning, I was surprised to discover that Leo Tolstoy's late-in-life spirituality greatly influenced both Mahatma Gandhi and...