Vronsky’s Rules

Vronsky, the dashing cavalry officer lover of Anna, is one of the main protagonists of “Anna Karenina.”  Most readers of the book, however baffled they might be by Anna’s choices and behavior, feel great deal of sympathy for her.  This is not the case for...
Wormwood, Absinthe, Degas

Wormwood, Absinthe, Degas

The technical name of the wormwood plant is Artemisia absinthium.  Is there thus a connection between wormwood and the popular French drink absinthe? The ever helpful “The Wormwood Society—America’s Premier Absinthe Association and Information Network” explains...

Economists and the Arts

Economists don’t have reputations as being particularly artistic or even being sensitive to the arts.  According to the old tired saw, they aspire to be accountants but lack the personality. And yet, in reality, the intersection between them and the arts is...

Does Handwriting Matter?

Does handwriting matter?  Philip Hensker thinks it does.  It’s more intimate, he says.  And it shows our personality.  And after accounting for such important part of our lives, it is disappearing. I, for one, side with Hensker’s Ph. D. supervisor...
“The Odyssey” in a Lvov Prison

“The Odyssey” in a Lvov Prison

Following the outbreak of WW2, which closely followed the signing of the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, the Red Army occupied eastern Poland, including the city of Lvov. And following that, a lot of people started getting arrested. Thus it came to be that a Polish...
No time to read anymore?

No time to read anymore?

David McCullough is unimpressed. “Once upon a time in the dead of winter in the Dakota Territory, Theodore Roosevelt took off in a makeshift boat down the Little Missouri River in pursuit of a couple of thieves who had stolen his prized rowboat. After several days on...

Worse than yesterday, better than in ’37

Eugene Volokh is a renowned UCLA law professor and a very popular blogger (The Volokh Conspiracy). His family emigrated to the US from the Soviet Union when he was 7 years old. In a recent post on his blog, he writes that he is often asked what he thinks...
Teddy Roosevelt on Anna Karenina

Teddy Roosevelt on Anna Karenina

Yesterday there was a post about Teddy Roosevelt’s response to Russian literature. It’s worth quoting Teddy at length (from a letter to his younger sister dated April 12th 1886): “I took Anna Karenina along for the trip and have read it through with very...

Reactions to Russian literature

Can you guess who wrote: “Tolstoy is a great writer.  Do you notice how he never comments on the actions of his personages?  He relates what they thought or did without any remark whatever as to whether it was good or bad, as Thucydides wrote history…” Well,...
Professor Domar on Serfdom and Slavery

Professor Domar on Serfdom and Slavery

Question:  when are land owners more likely to petition the ruler to restrict the freedom of peasants to move around:  when there are lots of peasants or when there are only few?  That was the question asked by Professor Domar of MIT. When peasants are...