Famous Russian Author: Leo Tolstoy

Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy is better known today as Leo Tolstoy. The Russian author mostly wrote novels and short stories and is considered one of the world’s greatest novelists. 

russian literature

Tolstoy was born into a well known family of Russian nobility in the Tula region. Losing his parents at an early age, his siblings and he were raised by relatives. As well as being a writer, he studied law and oriental languages, and acceding to wikipedia, his teachers described him as “both unable and unwilling to learn” – so there is hope for us all!

It was when he joined the army that he began to write.

Tolstoy’s two greatest, or at least best-known works are Anna Karenina, recently made into the famous film of the same name, and War and Peace.

In Anna Karenina, we follow the adulterous love affair between the main character and Count Vronsky.

“What makes the novel so deeply satisfying, though, is how Tolstoy balances the story of Anna’s passion with a second semi-autobiographical story of Levin’s spirituality and domesticity. Levin commits his life to simple human values: his marriage to Kitty, his faith in God, and his farming. Tolstoy enchants us with Anna’s sin, then proceeds to educate us with Levin’s virtue.”

In War and Peace, the epic tale revolves around Napoleon’s invasion of Russian in 1812 but the work is as adept at recreating battle scenes as it is describing the individual and personal experiences and feelings of hundreds of characters from all walks of life.

Have you read either? Did you read them in Russian or English? Or perhaps another language? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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