107 years ago, Leo Tolstoy, who gave us two major classics in the Russian tradition, Anna Karenina and War & Peace, died at Astapovo, a small, remote train station in the heart of Russia. Pneumonia was the official cause. His death came just weeks after Tolstoy, then 82 years old, made a rather dramatic decision. He left his wife, his comfortable estate and his wealth and traveled 26 hours to Sharmardino, where Tolstoy’s sister Marya lived, and where he planned to live the remainder of his life in a small, rented hut. (Elif Batuman has more on this.) But then he pushed on, boarding a train to the Caucasus. And it proved to be more than his already weak constitution could bear. Rather amazingly, the footage above brings you back to Tolstoy’s very last days, and right to his deathbed itself. This clip comes from a 1969 BBC series Civilisation: A Personal View by Kenneth Clark, and these days you can still find copies of Clark’s accompanying book kicking around online. A big thanks to Mike S. for flagging the video and the anniversary itself.
– Guerra y paz (en español) para descargar aquí.
– Ana Karenina (en español) para descargar aquí.
– La muerte de Iván Ilich (en español) para descargar aquí.