Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote the acclaimed novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and still ranks among the world’s top writers.
On September 9, 1828, Leo Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, Russia. In the 1860s, he wrote his first great novel, War and Peace. In 1873, Tolstoy set to work on the second of his best known novels, Anna Karenina. He continued to write fiction throughout the 1880s and 1890s. One of his most successful later works was The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Tolstoy died on November 20, 1910 in Astapovo, Russia. After completing Childhood, Tolstoy started writing about his day-to-day life at the Army outpost in the Caucasus. However, he did not complete the work, entitled The Cossacks, until 1862, after he had already left the Army. Back in Russia in 1862, Tolstoy produced the first of a 12 issue-installment of the journal Yasnaya Polyana, marrying a doctor’s daughter named Sofya Andreyevna Bers that same year.
Residing at Yasnaya Polyana with his wife and children, Tolstoy spent the better part of the 1860s toiling over his first great novel, War and Peace. A portion of the novel was first published in the Russian Messenger in 1865, under the title “The Year 1805.” By 1868, he had released three more chapters. A year later, the novel was complete. Following the success of War and Peace, in 1873, Tolstoy set to work on the second of his best known novels, Anna Karenina. Anna Karenina was partially based on current events while Russia was at war with Turkey. Like War and Peace, it fictionalized some biographical events from Tolstoy’s life, as was particularly evident in the romance of the characters Kitty and Levin, whose relationship is said to resemble Tolstoy’s courtship with his own wife.
The first sentence of Anna Karenina is among the most famous lines of the book: “All happy families resemble one another, each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.” Anna Karenina was published in installments from 1873 to 1877, to critical and public acclaim. The royalties that Tolstoy earned from the novel contributed to his rapidly growing wealth. Over the last 30 years of his life, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and religious leader. His ideas about nonviolent resistance to evil influenced the likes of social leader Mahatma Gandhi..
Tolstoy is best known for his two longest works, War and Peace (1865–69) and Anna Karenina (1875–77), which are commonly regarded as among the finest novels ever written. War and Peace in particular seems virtually to define this form for many readers and critics. Among … (100 of 5,483 words)
“I put men to death in war, I fought duels to slay others. I lost at cards, wasted the substance wrung from the sweat of peasants, punished the latter cruelly, rioted with loose women, and deceived men. Lying, robbery, adultery of all kinds, drunkenness, violence, and murder, all were committed by me, not one crime omitted, and yet I was not the less considered by my equals to be a comparatively moral man. Such was my life for ten years.”