Count Leo Tolstoy as a young Cavalry Officer, 1800s

When I was a teenager I spent a couple of years reading Russian literature in my free time. This was pretty much in fitting with rebelling against my family who was (and still is) staunchly anti-Russian. My Ukrainian-born grandmother told me Russian culture was trash and I was wasting time reading Russian literature. After tearing through many of the works of the greats I came to the conclusion that she was mostly right – Tolstoy was a mediocre talent, Dostoevsky provocative but still mediocre, etc. But I ended up really liking so much of Anton Chekov’s more concise work and enjoy it to this day.

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