Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Schools : Teaching Leo Tolstoy novels

Leo Toslty

The Russian writer, Leo Tolstoy is widely seen as one of the greatest European novelists of all time. His masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina have been read by millions around the world and continue to inspire filmmakers at home and abroad.

Leon Tolstoi Google Doodle

Leo Tolstoy's 186th Birthday

Google is celebrating, today, September 9th the 186th anniversary of Leo Tolstoythe Russian novelist and philosopher, with a slideshow doodle containing his greatest literary works. 

Tolstoy was born on 9 September 1828 and died from pneumonia at Astapovo train station, Russian empire, aged 82 in 1910.

Tolstoy writing at his desk by candlelight

Resource: Google Doodle:

The slideshow doodle could be a wonderful resource to include into your school lesson. 

The slideshow begins with an image of a bearded Tolstoy writing at his desk by candlelight before presenting scenes from his most famous works such as War and PeaceAnna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich

Leo Tolstoy' War and Peace

Cicking next on Google's Leo Tolstoy doodle, we can see a  slide of a silhouetted couple dancing in a ballroom through a window, progressing automatically to the 3rd slide with the title the most famous novel by the author: War and Peace, and its central character Countess Natalya Ilyinichna (Natasha) Rostova on a balcony.

Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina

The next slide represents a scene from the novel War and Peace, featuring "Pierre Bezukhov and the comet". After another interstitial scene once again with silhouetted people, we see the 6th slide with the title of the novel Anna Karenina, depicting the scene where Anna and Vronsky met for the first time.

The doodle's next slide depicts another scene from Anna Karenina with Konstantin Levin sitting alongside his future wife Ekaterina "Kitty" Alexandrovna Shcherbatskaya

Leo Tolstoy's The Death of Ivan Ilyich

We are lead through another interstitial slide before the doodle showcases the novella 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich', a high-court judge, with the lead character already lying on his death bed being comforted by his butler Gerasim, and with special emphasis placed on the curtains that play a symbolic role.

The next slide shows another scene from The Death of Ivan Ilyich, presumably showing Ilyich's wife Praskovya Fedorovna Golovin with daughter Lisa Golovin, alongside her fiancee Fedor Petrishchev

Leo Tolstoy Google Doodle

The last slide features Leo Tolstoy standing in the forest of Yasnaya Polyana, where he was born on September 9 1828, with the Google logo in the background between the trees.

Tolstoy photographed at his Yasnaya Polyana estate
 in May 1908 by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Short bibliography:
Tolstoy's epic War and Peace is widely regarded as one of the most important masterpieces of world literature.

The novel tells of the events surrounding France’s 1812 invasion of Russia and documents life in the Tsarist society of the Napoleonic years through the eyes of five Russian upper class families

Anna Karenina, book

Tolstoy’s other great novel, Anna Karenina, follows the tragic life of the married aristocrat Anna and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky.

Anna is vulnerable to the pressures of Russian social norms, her own insecurities, and Karenin's indecision.

The novel explores a diverse range of topics: evaluation of the feudal system that existed in Russia at the time but also the individual characters and families, religion, morality, gender and social class.

Education :

"Literature represents a language or a people: culture and tradition. But, literature is more important than just a historical or cultural artifact. Literature introduces us to new worlds of experience. We learn about books and literature; we enjoy the comedies and the tragedies of poems, stories, and plays; and we may even grow and evolve through our literary journey with books."

Esther Lombardi

Teaching Literature is one of the best lessons that an educator who loves books and reading can do! This literary sensibility will enrich his/her teaching. 

Learning Literature with one of those teachers will be a wonderful experience to any student - Humanities or Science.

New young readers will be fascinated, even the reluctant readers. And new young writers will born. Believe me!

Anna Karenina, movie (2012)

Literature :

Literature curriculum about Jules Verne, Fernando Pessoa, Jorge Luís Borges, Charles Dickens or Leo Tolstoy are  easier and so enriched. New tools, awesome devices, marvelous interactive educational resources.

Some thoughts : 

My usual readers know what I think about Google Doodles as a pedagogical interactive resource in any curriculum: literaturescienceartsmusiczoology, even sport.

All along those years, I wrote about Literature and some interesting interactive resources exploring Google doodles (young people) and movies based on great world writers or novels.

So I am delighted to write about Leo Tostoy and his books including the slideshow doodle into IT & Languages lessons. And I could not forget the importande of movies in Literature lessons (high-school education).

Many classics in literature to children and young people (Higher Education) have been made into movies. 

So, we can captivate new readers, presenting literature books trough movies. Gorgeous educational resource!

Books based on the gripping real-life stories of an author as Leo  Tolstoy are a great experience to students. 

Tolstoy's books are known  for being long and complex to read, while the author’s own complicated and extreme moralistic views also proved influential.

However if you display the splendid movie Anna Karenina (2012) - it's gorgeous - students will be ready to start reading the long book.

Reading a book and after, in a comparative process of learning, displaying the movie in the classroom, or go to the movies with our students, are interesting strategies that educators can't throw way.

Students can explore the official website Anna Karenina. There are good literary websites containing interesting articles on War and Peace as well.

Facebook, Twitter and other social media are now good resources for innovative educators. Students will develop critical thinking. They also can be involved on good projects with students and teachers from different schools and countries.

Dare to use social networking in your lessons. Students will be enthousiastic.

Of course, we don't forget school libraries and public libraries. Modern libraries are a great value to do scholar research. And they have fantastic digital tools in our days.

"If we admit that human life can be ruled by reason, then all possibility of life is destroyed.” 

Leo TolstoyWar and Peace


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