In recent years, classic British literary works have been frequently adapted into movies or TV series, and have been active on the screen or screen. In contrast, Russia, which has a large number of classic writers and classics, is inevitably amazed.
In 2012, Lev Tolstoy’s 19th-century classic novel “Anna Kalenina” was brought to the screen again by British director Joe Wright. The film made a splash after it was released and won multiple awards.
In 2016, Tolstoy’s other classic novel “War and Peace” was filmed on the BBC as a six-episode miniseries and appeared on the screen.
Critics Joselle asked after a closer look at Tolstoy’s life and works: Should Tolstoy be the pioneer to lead the revival of Russian literature?
Will we usher in a new wave of literary work? The “Last Stop”, released in 2009, tells how Tolstoy struggled with illness in his later years and how he managed to control his legacy. In 2012 “Anna Kalenina” starring Keira Knightley was released. A six-episode mini-series “War and Peace” filmed by the BBC in 2016 appeared on the screen. Can we consider this to be the beginning of a new trend and a signal of the revival of Russian literature?
In recent years, Charles Dickens’ “Great Prospect” and “Desolate Villa” have been adapted into many stage plays and film and television works, as well as Thomas Hardy’s “Tess of the Deber House” and Jane Austen Pride and Prejudice, Charlotte Bronte’s Jane Eyre, and more. Under the background of the adaptation of British literature, film and television, will the classic works of the golden age of Russian literature of the 19th century also join this boom? The next one will be Dostoyevsky’s Idiot, Turgenev’s Father and Son, or Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin. Perhaps Tolstoy is a special case?
In 2003, the BBC conducted a large readership survey. Of the great writers of the Russian Golden Age, only Tolstoy was ranked in the top 200 for “War and Peace” and “Anna Kalenina” . If the style of film and television adaptation of Russian literature will not rise, is it just an appreciation of the work of a model writer-many of the most recognized writers from Virginia Woolf to Thomas Mann?
Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy, known as Lev Tolstoy, was born in Yasnaya Polyana in 1828. He was a novelist, critic, and playwright. In his later years, he became a well-known moral philosopher and social reformer. He was also an army captain and founder of the school during the Crimean War, and the father of at least 13 children. His work has affected everyone from Mahatma Gandhi to Hemingway.
”Childhood”, “Juvenile” and “Youth” are Tolstoy’s popular trilogy of autobiographical novels, fully showing Tolstoy’s growth and spiritual journey. The first was written in 1852, at which time Tolstoy had joined the army, dropped out of Kazan University, and joined the Caucasus army where his brother was. This military career is reflected in his early works, such as the short story collection “The Chronicles of Sevastopol” (1855), “Cossack” (1863). “Cossack” is very popular, especially praised by Tolstoy contemporary writer Ivan Turgenev, but the foundation of the most famous “War and Peace” is the “Sevastopol Chronicle” .
Before writing War and Peace, Tolstoy traveled to Europe twice, the first time in 1857, and the second time between 1860 and 1861. The impact of the two travels on him was also huge and far-reaching. On his first trip, Tolstoy witnessed a public execution in Paris, which caused a great distrust of the country, and even believed that the existence of the country was to exploit people. After this tour, he vowed to no longer be loyal to any government. On his second trip to Europe, Tolstoy became acquainted with Victor Hugo and praised his novel, The Tragic World. Some people even compared the war scenes in War and Peace to The Tragic World to find out the influence of the latter on the former. During his second trip to Europe, Tolstoy also met Pierre Joseph Proudhon, a French anarchist exiled to Belgium. The title of “War and Peace” is borrowed from Proudhon’s article of the same name.
Tolstoy was encouraged by the return of Europe. He married Andreyev Bales, a 16-year-old girl. He founded an independent school in his hometown and started writing War and Peace. The Cossack, which was written ten years ago to pay off gambling debts, was finally completed. War and Peace, which has been praised by many as the best novel to date, was first published serially in the Russian Courier magazine under the name “1805” and was not published until 1869. The novel soon gained readers’ favor, although some left-wing literary critics also criticized its lack of social criticism. However, Tolstoy never considered “War and Peace” as a novel. He thought that the work was more like a prose epic, and “Anna Kalenina” was the first real work In the sense.
Many people consider Anna Karenina to be Tolstoy’s finest novel. Dostoevsky and Vladimir Nabokov considered it “perfect”, and William Faulkner called it “the best work ever written.” Throughout the novel is the life of the heroine of the same name, and the life of Levin, inspired by the semi-autobiographical novel, but whose fate is completely different, but the novel also explores many other topics, such as jealousy, vanity, marriage, society, and the agriculture of the land Associated. This work is the first step in the transition from realism to modernism. Together with James Joyce, Virginia Woolf, and William Faulkner, it contains some writing styles of stream of consciousness.
How did War and Peace and Anna Karenina affect Tolstoy’s contemporaries? This is also something we should think about. When the first quarter of War and Peace was published serially, Feodor Dostoyevsky, considered by many to be Tolstoy’s real opponent, had published The Poor (1846) and Dead Room Notes (1860), and just finished “Basement Notes”. But Dostoyevsky’s most acclaimed work always came out after Tolstoy’s masterpiece, which is no coincidence-first, “Sin and Punishment” (1865-1866), and then his collection. The official work, the Brother Karamazov (1880), which is often regarded as a masterpiece of Dostoevsky. Like later modernist or collapsed writers, each literary movement has great works that inspire other artists to challenge and transcend. The value of “War and Peace” and “Anna Kalenina” is exactly what inspires and inspires other artists. Their value is not only for the golden age of Russia, but also for the art as a whole.
Can we imagine that Anna Karenina will lead to film and television adaptations of many other literary works? Comments on Joe Wright’s films have been mixed. Keira Knightley’s heroine also received mixed comments. But compared to the film itself, the costume design of the film has received more praise. Joe Wright’s film reimagines the novel in a fantasy theater space. Since Wright has previously adapted “Pride and Prejudice” and “The Duchess”, and both are starring Keira Knightley as the heroine, he may think it necessary to try this adaptation of Anna Karenina A new way. Try new ways, and it worked when Bernard Rose adapted Tolstoy’s “Krutzer Sonata” and “Ivan Ilyich’s Death” into contemporary films. Ross also adapted Anna Karenina, but it was not very successful. The reason critics criticize Wright’s film is simple: the film only cares about style, but lacks content. This is a common problem in literary and film adaptations. Some people even worry that this problem may also affect the six episodes of the mini-series “War and Peace”. This adaptation attempts to downplay the historical dimension of the novel and focuses more on the family. Considering the importance of history in this novel, as well as the insignificant point of view of individuals in history, I don’t know what the audience will think after reading it. These Russian masterpieces are huge stories, which may be why people dare not adapt them to film and television. However, the radical deletion of the original works will undoubtedly lose the essence of these great works.
We should also consider Tolstoy’s later works. After Anna Karenina, Tolstoy became a prolific critic and non-fiction writer. Many of his later works were read by Schopenhauer, “As Will and Representation,” by German philosopher Schopenhauer. Epiphany after World. Tolstoy eventually became a devout Christian anarchist and anarchist pacifist. Of Tolstoy’s subsequent series, only the novella “The Death of Ivan Ilych” is comparable to his earlier works. Like Dostoevsky, Tolstoy’s later novels mostly relied on religious symbolism. It was Tolstoy’s non-fictional creations, such as “Heaven in Your Heart” (1894), published in Germany to escape the Russian censorship, and became the most inspiring work in his later life, especially for Mahatma Gandhi. influences. Therefore, no matter whether we can use the Dongfeng shown in “Anna Kalenina” to drive the film and television adaptations of other literary works, we still hope that new and old readers will reread the classics of Russian masters so that Tolstoy will no longer be forgotten.