What to know about Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was a Russian writer and author best known for his works “Anna Karenina” and “War and Peace.”

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Russian Nobility
Tolstoy was born into an aristocratic family at the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana in Tula Province, Russia.

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Tolstoy enrolled at Kazan University in 1844 to study law but left before completing his degree to join the military. His military experience significantly influenced his portrayal of war in his literary works, particularly in “War and Peace.” Tolstoy’s firsthand experience as an officer in the Russian army provided him with unique insights into the brutality and human suffering of war.

War and Peace
His most celebrated work is held to be “War and Peace,” published between 1865 and 1869, focusing on Russian society during the Napoleonic Wars. Tolstoy’s work showcases the chaos, bloodshed and personal struggles of characters on both sides of the conflict. Instead of glorifying war, he portrays the realities and senselessness of violence.

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Personal Life

In the 1870s, Tolstoy experienced a form of existential crisis, questioning the meaning of his life and struggling with the disparity between his privileged upbringing and the suffering of the working class. He founded schools based on his principles of moral and religious education. His later years were marked by a desire to live a life of simplicity and self-sufficiency. Shaped by his previous military experiences, he later advocated for pacifism and a rejection of violence. Leo Tolstoy passed away on November 20th, 1910 aged 82, leaving behind a notable literary legacy.

Author: Richard Brown

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