How To Be a Russian Writer (with Leo Tolstoy)

How To Be a Russian Writer (with Leo Tolstoy)

My dear friend and a member of Russian Language Learning Club – Sayuri Goya – asked me to make a part of her presentation about French and Russian writers (Balzac, Flaubert, Tolstói, Dostoiévski and Tchekhov). Since I’m writing a lot in Russian, she asked me to tell about Russian writers, how to be a writer in Russia and so on.

So, I’ve made this video for her and happy to share it with you! It can be interesting for you also because I’m slowly reading one of the most wonderful part of the famous novel of Leo Tolstoy “War and Peace”, it’s when the main hero – Andery Bolkonsky is injured and lies on the battlefield, looking at the sky.

Here you can see the trascription of this part in Russian and translation in English:

Над ним не было ничего уже, кроме неба, – высокого неба, не ясного, но все-таки неизмеримо высокого, с тихо ползущими по нём серыми облаками. “Как тихо, спокойно и торжественно, совсем не так, как я бежал, – подумал князь Андрей, – не так, как мы бежали, кричали и дрались, совсем не так, как с озлобленными и испуганными лицами тащили друг у друга банник француз и артиллерист, – совсем не так ползут облака по этому высокому бесконечному небу. Как же я не видал прежде этого высокого неба? И как я счастлив, что узнал его наконец. Да! Все пустое, все обман, кроме этого бесконечного неба. Ничего, ничего нет, кроме его. Но и того даже нет, ничего нет, кроме тишины, успокоения. И слава богу!

Above him there was now nothing but the sky—the lofty sky, not clear yet still immeasurably lofty, with gray clouds gliding slowly across it. “How quiet, peaceful, and solemn; not at all as I ran,” thought Prince Andrew—“not as we ran, shouting and fighting, not at all as the gunner and the Frenchman with frightened and angry faces struggled for the mop: how differently do those clouds glide across that lofty infinite sky! How was it I did not see that lofty sky before? And how happy I am to have found it at last! Yes! All is vanity, all falsehood, except that infinite sky. There is nothing, nothing, but that. But even it does not exist, there is nothing but quiet and peace. Thank God!…”

Hope this can be interestiong for you and will help you in learning Russian 🙂


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Oleg Vinzhegin,

Your personal guide into the world of excellent Russian speaking

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