A Russian legend celebrates his birthday today
Ever heard of Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy? Probably yes. The Russian writer counts to one of the greatest authors of all time. He was born on 9th September 1828, hence today is his birthday!
The novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877) are regarded as his most known compositions.
Tolstoy was born in Tula Province, 200 kilometres south of Moscow. He was the fourth of five children, his parents died early. In 1844, he began studying law and oriental languages at the University of Kazan. An interesting fact is, that the famous writer was back then described as “both unable and unwilling to learn” by his teachers. He left university without a degree and joined the army in 1851, when he also began writing. In 1857, he became a witness of a public execution in Paris, which was a traumatic experience for him. He wrote a letter to a friend, where he mentioned “The truth is that the State is a conspiracy designed not only to exploit, but above all to corrupt its citizens … Henceforth, I shall never serve any government anywhere.” He later instilled the concept in Mahatma Gandhi through his A Letter to a Hindu when young Gandhi corresponded with him seeking his advice.
In 1862, Tolstoy married Sofya Andreyevna Behr, with whom he had 13 children. In the following years he wrote the monumental novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which established his literary fame. 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.
Another famous novellas of Tolstoy are Hadji Murad and The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy is not only a giant of Russian literature, but also stood up for political and religious aspects.
This blog was brought to you by Jessica Pillinger, student and intern at Liden & Denz