In honor of Leo Tolstoy’s 190th birthday, the New Yorker devoted a good chunk of real estate to Russian literature. Six (including Tolstoy) of the most memorable of Russian writers are looked at including a look at the making of War and Peace by James Wood while Janet Malcolm follows Anton Chekhov to discover how he turned his travels into art. Keith Gessen looks at research chemist-turned-writer Vasily Grossman and others including a look at the heartfelt letters Vladimir Nabokov sent to his wife Vera during a 1942 lecture tour to the United States.

The full piece is here.

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