Leo Tolstoy

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy[note 1] (/ˈtlstɔɪ, ˈtɒl-/;[3] Russian: Лев Николаевич Толстой,[note 2] IPA: [ˈlʲef nʲɪkɐˈla(j)ɪvʲɪtɕ tɐlˈstoj] (listen); 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828  20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910), usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.[4] He received nominations for the Nobel Prize in Literature every year from 1902 to 1906 and for the Nobel Peace Prize in 1901, 1902, and 1909. That he never won is a major controversy.[5][6][7][8]

Leo Tolstoy
Tolstoy on 23 May 1908 at Yasnaya Polyana,[2] Lithograph print by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Native name
Лев Николаевич Толстой
Born(1828-09-09)9 September 1828
Yasnaya Polyana, Tula Governorate, Russian Empire
Died20 November 1910(1910-11-20) (aged 82)
Astapovo, Ryazan Governorate, Russian Empire
Resting placeYasnaya Polyana
OccupationNovelist, short story writer, playwright, essayist
LanguageRussian
Period1847–1910
Literary movementRealism
Notable works
Spouse
(m. 1862)
Children13
Relatives
  • Nikolay Tolstoy (father)
  • Mariya Tolstaya (mother)
Signature
Portrait of Leo Tolstoy by Ivan Kramskoi, 1873

Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828,[4] Tolstoy is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1878),[9] often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction.[4] He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856), and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. His fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886), Family Happiness (1859), "After The Ball" (1911) and Hadji Murad (1912). He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.

In the 1870s, Tolstoy experienced a profound moral crisis, followed by what he regarded as an equally profound spiritual awakening, as outlined in his non-fiction work A Confession (1882). His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centering on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist.[4] His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1894), had a profound impact on such pivotal 20th-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi[10] and Martin Luther King Jr.[11] He also became a dedicated advocate of Georgism, the economic philosophy of Henry George, which he incorporated into his writing, particularly Resurrection (1899).