Anna Karenina - Lucy's Notes - Google Docs.pdf - october 30...

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october 30TolstoyThere’s all the great writers in the world, and then way above them in a unique position isTolstoyThe most common comment that people make about Tolstoy“It is not a work of art. It is a piece of life” ‑> there’s nothing artificial about it“If nature could write directly without a human intermediary, it would write likeTolstoy”These comments are just not made about anybody elseThere is this very unique status that Tolstoy has, and it clearly is not that he is very clever withformHe understands the world, and human beings, and the human mind, and the relationship withthe mind and the body in a way that no one has understood beforeThe wise man who knows everything, who‑‑as people constantly reported‑‑could basically readyour mind (would make a comment about the thought that you had thought but not yetexpressed)With that persona, he must have been young at some timeTolstoy’s HistoryBorn into a famous and wealthy familyalmost immediately becomes an orphan and is raised by his beloved aunthis philosophyhis first published work is a novelization about his childhood (2nd volume ‑ boyhood, 3rdvolume ‑ youth)in boyhoodhe’s discussing what sort of boy he was, how he was obsessed with ideasthe great idea of romantic love ‑‑ which means there is one and only one persondestined to you in all eternityhe also describes how he’d be reading the great philosophers (the stoics)‑‑if you trainyour body to endure privation and pain, and train your mind so that you don’t think thatany external thing matters (only your soul matters, and your soul can choose its ownattitude)tolstoy as a boy reported how he would hold out heavy dictionaries until his arms achedto train his bodyepicureanism (opposite of stoicism), he’d put down the dictionary and gorge himself oncandyhe was most captivated by the idea that things only exist as you perceive itschoolhe was homeschooledgoes off to an OK university, does not make a really great career as a studentstudies arabic and persian, but he spends most of his time drinking, gambling, andwhoring
he begins keeping a diarythis is important because about 25 or 30 of his volumes are his diarieshe is undoubtedly the most voluminously documented person who’s ever lived becauseof those diariesfirst line in his diaries ‑ “i think i may have contracted the clap. i got it well in the waypeople usually do”early diaries filled with his obsessions with ruleshe thinks you can write rules to explain liveslife cannot be expressed by rules or lawshe has rules: well you shouldn’t gamble, but if you do gamble, etceventually you wind up getting rules to get yourself to remember to follow the ruleshe flunks out, re‑enrolls in a different faculty (enters the faculty of laws)crimeait is harder to get men and supplies from russia to crimea than it was to get them from london tocrimeagets a position as a journalist for the military newspaper, he publishes a story that all russianotices, the czar comments on it, Sevastopolwhat is it in real life that is usually written in the 2nd person?

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