Leo Tolstoy


Leo Tolstoy Essay, Research Paper

Leo Tolstoi 1828-1910

In full Lev Nikolayevich, Count Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was born at Yasnya Polyana, in the Tula Province. His father s family was new to Russia. The grand duke of Moscow, at the time, gave the name Tolstoy to the family. The word tolstoy , in russian, literally means fat. His parents died when he was a child, and relatives were left to bring him up. Tolstoy started his studies of law and oriental languages at Kaza University. Dissatisfied with the standard of education he returned in the middle of his studies back to Yasnaya Polyana, and spent then much of his time in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1851 he accompanied his elder brother to the Caucasus, and joined an artillery regiment. In the 1850s Tolstoy also began his literary

career, publishing the autobiographical trilogy Childhood (1852), Boyhood (1854), and Youth (1857).During the Crimean War Tolstoy commanded a battery, witnessing the siege of Sebastopol (1854-55). In 1857 he visited France, Switzerland, and Germany. After his travels Tolstoy settled in his birthplace of Yasnaja Polyana, where he started a school for peasant children. He investigated during further travels to Europe (1860-61) educational theory and practice, and published magazines and textbooks on the subject. In 1862 he married Sonya Andreyevna Bers (or Behrs). Between the years 1865 and 1869 appeared Tolstoy’s major work, War and Peace, an epic tale depicting the story of five families against the background of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. Tolstoy’s other masterpiece, Anna Karenina (1873-77), told a tragical story of a married woman, who follows her lover, but finally at a train station throws herself in front of an incoming train. In the 1880s Tolstoy wrote such philosophical works as A Confession, and What I Believe, which was banned in 1884. He gave up his estate to his family, and attempted to live as a poor, celibate peasant. Attracted by Tolstoy’s writings, Yasnaya Polyana was

visited by hundreds of people from all over the world. In 1901 the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated him. Tolstoy died of pneumonia on November 7 in 1910 at a remote railway junction after leaving his estate on the urge to live as a wandering ascetic. His collected works,which were published in Soviet Union, consist of 90 volumes.

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