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 Leo Tolstoy

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Leo Tolstoy

  • Original Name Lev Nikolayevich
  • Birth 28 Aug 1828 Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Oblast, Russia
  • Death 20 Nov 1910 Lipetsk Oblast, Russia
  • Burial Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Oblast, Russia
  • Memorial ID 1438

Author. Born Lev Nikolaivich Tolstoy on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, Russia, the fourth of five children of Countess Maria Volkonskaya Tolstaya and Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy. After the early death of his parents, he was raised by relatives. Upon deciding he wanted to study Oriental languages at Kazan University, he prepared for the entry examination by studying Arabic, Turkish, Latin, German, English, and French. In 1844, he was accepted into university but was unable to progress beyond his second year, and left school. He descended into a period of debauchery before making an effort to land a position with the government, but instead ended in the army, and he wrote his observations in 'Sevastopol Sketches' (1855). In 1862, he married Sophia Andreevna Behrs with whom he had thirteen children, eight of whom survived to adulthood. His wife acted as secretary, proof-reader, and financial manager; his novel, 'The Cossacks' was published the following year. 'War and Peace' was published in six volumes between 1863 and 1869. 'Anna Karenina,' was published in 1878, and it was upon these two novel more than any other work, his fame has been based. Following the novel's completion, however, he grew depressed. He believed that organized religion was corrupt, so developed his own beliefs. He expressed his philosophy in 'The Mediator' (1883), resulting in his excommunication from the Orthodox church. His personal philosophy evolved, becoming increasingly inclined towards ascetic morality, passive resistance, and civil disobedience in order to improve the welfare of the oppressed, most of which was enumerated in the 1884 work 'What I Believe.' Such writings spawned a small cult, the Tolstoyans, who were a Christian anarchist group formed to spread Tolstoy's religious views. His later work such as the novella 'The Death of Ivan Ilyich' (1886); the philosophical treatise, 'The Kingdom of God Is Within You' (1894) and 'Resurrection,' (1899) his last full length novel, focused on Christian themes. As his interest in spiritual matters grew, his interest in his family, his estates, and his inheritance waned, and his wife demanded he sign over control of his royalties, before he bankrupted his family. He continued to write, although philosophical works far outnumbered works of fiction. In 1910, the 82-year-old author left home; within a few days, he had contracted pneumonia. A stationmaster at Astapovo, Russia allowed him to rest in his house, when the writer refused to return home. Tolstoy died there a few days later. His daughter, Aleksandra, his only adherent among his own family, founded the Tolstoy Foundation, a charitable, philanthropic organization, in 1939. His novels 'Anna Karenina' and 'War and Peace' have often been named by scholars as among the ten greatest novels ever written.

Bio by: Iola





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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1438
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Leo Tolstoy (28 Aug 1828–20 Nov 1910), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1438, citing Tolstoy Home, Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Oblast, Russia ; Maintained by Find A Grave .