Wednesday, January 5, 2011

The Last Station

J and I watched The Last Station night before last. It's particularly notable as one of the few decent films this year; 2010 was certainly not anywhere near 1939. Helen Mirren was the star of the film, even though Christopher Plummer was Tolstoy (and didn't do badly himself). But what was most interesting to me was that the Russian aristocracy was in deep trouble in 1910, and that Tolstoy's decision to will his literary works to the public domain would have put his family in serious financial straits. Lenin once observed that revolutions do not happen when the poor can no longer go on as before, but when the elite can no longer do so. Land wealth just wasn't enough to keep the Russian aristocracy going.

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