Vladimir Tolstoy, left, greets Rajmohan Gandhi at the kickoff event for a series of local initiatives connected with the Big Read, a nationwide campaign sponsored by the National Endowment for the Arts aimed at promoting the reading of classic literature. “The Death of Ivan Ilyich,” by Leo Tolstoy, is this year’s featured novel. Vladimir Tolstoy, great-great-grandson of the famed novelist, traveled from Russia to speak at the March 30 event. Gandhi, a professor in International Programs and Studies, is the great-grandson of Mahatma Gandhi, the Indian political and spiritual leader whose policies were influenced by Tolstoy’s writings. Looking on is Galina Alekseeva, head of the Research Division of Russia’s State Museum-Estate “Yasnaya Polyana.” Activities continue this month.
Photo by L. Brian Stauffer