Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy Writer and Thinker 1828-1910.

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Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy Writer and Thinker 1828-1910

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Page 1: Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy Writer and Thinker 1828-1910.

Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy

Writer and Thinker

1828-1910

Page 2: Count Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy Writer and Thinker 1828-1910.

Ivan KramskoyPortrait of Count Leo Tolstoy(1828-1910)

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Born August 28 (Sept. 9) 1828 on family estate, Yasnaya Polyana

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Childhood and Youth

• Born into an ancient noble family

• Parents die when • Tolstoy is young• Raised by his • aunts• Studies law at the • Kazan’ University

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Tolstoy’s Military Career: 1851-56

Serves first in theCaucasusThen in an artillery regiment inSebastopol, CrimeaWrites and publisheshis first fiction:Childhood (1852) Boyhood (1854) Youth (1857)

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Literary Beginnings

• Moves to Petersburg, tries to integrate into literary circles

• In 1857 visits France, Italy, Switzerland and Germany

• Photo: Tolstoy in Photo: Tolstoy in 18621862

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1859: Interest in education1859: Interest in education

Upon his return from Upon his return from Europe, establishes Europe, establishes

schools for peasant schools for peasant children on his children on his estate at Yasnaya estate at Yasnaya PolyanaPolyana

1860 goes to W. 1860 goes to W. Europe to study Europe to study schoolsschools

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Sophia Andreevna Behrs (1844-1919)Sophia Andreevna Behrs (1844-1919)

• Tolstoy and Sophia marry in 1862

• They immediately settle in Yasnaya Polyana

• They have 13 children (only 9 survive)

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Life with Tolstoy

Sophia Andreevna:"I lived with LevNikolayevich for forty-eight

years, but I never reallylearned what kind ofman he was.“

 

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Tolstoy, his children and grandchildren

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War and Peace (1863-69)

• Begins to appear in literary magazine Russky vestnik in 1865

• Reflects Tolstoy’s interest in the Russian narod (“people”)

• Graphic descriptions of slaughter on the battlefield reflect Tolstoy’s experience as a soldier, amount to a pacifist critique of war

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Tolstoy in his study

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Anna Karenina, 1873-77

• Family novel centred around an autobiographical hero plus a novel about adultery (cf. Flaubert’s Madame Bovary)

• Vehicle for Tolstoy to express his opinion on the reforms of the 1860s, agriculture, modernity

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Critical, Psychological Realism

• Investigation into the more profound aspects of life• Social inequality• Motivation, why do we do what we do?• Psychological contradictions• Politics• What is Russia? What is Russia’s role in the world?

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The 1880s: The Spiritual Crisis

• Tolstoy radically questions society, religion, morality, sex, artistic practices

• Renounces his previous literary works

• Publishes A Confession (1884), Death of Ivan Ilich (1886), Kreuzer Sonata (1887-89)

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Tolstoy’s core beliefs

• Non-resistance to evil• Renounce all luxury and wealth• Live by one’s own labour• Be like the humble peasant• Vegetarianism

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Tolstoy’s Philosophy

Il’ya Repin. Tolstoy as ploughman

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Vladimir Chertkov (1854-1936) and the Tolstoyans

• Meets Tolstoy in 1883

• 1884 becomes publisher of Tolstoy’s and others’ work in popular cheap editions

• Educational projects for moral improvement

• After Tolstoy’s death edits his work

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The last Chapter

1884 first attempt toleave home, gave up

hisestate in YasnayaPolyana1901 Excommunicationfrom Russian OrthodoxChurch

In November of 1910,Tolstoy leaves home

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His letter to Sofya Andreevna

“My departure will sadden you. But understand and believe that I cannot act in any other way. My position in the house is becoming, or has become, unbearable. Apart from anything else, I cannot live in those conditions of luxury in which I have lived, and am doing what old men of my age usually do: they abandon the worldly life to live out in isolation and silence their last days…”

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Tolstoy falls ill on the train,is taken in by the stationmaster…

…in the small railway station of Astapovo

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Tolstoy’s room in Astapovo

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The End

Fell ill and diedseven days later

Thousands of people came to ask about the writer’s condition

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Tolstoy’s wife looking through the window

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Clock at the Astapovo railway station stopped at the time of Tolstoy’s death

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Last words

“There are masses of people, apart from Leo Tolstoy, but you only pay attention to Leo Tolstoy…that’s not how peasants die. … I love the truth.”

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’Tolstoy’s grave

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Leo Tolstoy’s Biography

I clearly realized that my biography, ifit suppressed all the nastiness and criminality of my life - as they customarily write biographies - would be a lie, and that if one is going to write my biography, one must write

the whole truth.

– Leo Tolstoy

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Thoughts from the book "For Every Day“ “That the only object of man's life is self-perfection — the perfecting of immortal souls — that this is is seen to be correct by the fact alone that every other object is senseless in view of death. Therefore the question whether you have done what you should have done is of immense importance, for the only meaning of your life is in doing in this short term allowed you that which is desired of you by Him who or that which has sent you into life. Are you doing the right thing?”

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