Book Club: Leo Tolstoy

book club

Book Club is a new monthly/yearly feature on The Artemis Reader. Book Club will have a set topic with monthly updates on progress, information about topics and authors, and much more. Follow the posts here or check below for an archive! Enjoy!

I’m approximately two months into my Book Club challenge and I’m about 60% finished with War & Peace! In addition to reading this epic masterpiece, I’ll be doing some background information on the authors, the history and my progress for each book I read. I’m a little behind on posting due to work-related commitments but here we go in the first of four-part installment featuring War & Peace! Enjoy!

Leo Tolstoy [1828 – 1910]

I won’t bore you fellow bloggers and readers with a long summary of Leo Tolstoy’s life — you can find those linked below in the “Bibliography” section of this post. Instead I’ve picked 5 interesting facts about the well known author. I hope these inspire you to learn more about this fantastic author and figure, or they help you win some kind of bar trivia contest 🙂

  1. Tolstoy was a Christian anarchist and pacifist. His believes in nonviolent resistance of the State, as seen in The Kingdom of God Is Within You, had a profound influence on Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and James Bevel.
  2. Tolstoy’s wife Sonya (Sophia Andreevna Behrs) had a profound impact on his writing. Sonya urged Tolstoy to publish War and Peace in book form to earn more money and reach a wider audience. Sonya also transcribed the manuscript from his atrocious handwriting so that his publishers could read it.
  3. Tolstoy and Sonya’s marriage was also one of the unhappiest in literary history. Tolstoy was 16 years older, and while their early married life is described as happy and allowed Tolstoy the freedom to compose War and Peace and Anna Karenina, toward the end his beliefs became increasingly radical and their relationship deteriorated.
  4. Tolstoy attended Kazan University for a short stint, studying languages and law before leaving and joining the military. He served as a second lieutenant in the artillery regiment during the Crimean War. His experiences in battle lead to his later philosophies of pacifism and gave him material for the realistic depiction of the horrors of war in his later works.
  5. Tolstoy died in poetic fashion. In 1910 at the age of 82, he separated from his wife and left home in the middle of winter. Tolstoy died of pneumonia at Astapovo train station, after journeying south. The station master took Tolstoy to his apartment, where he died.

 

Bibliography & Recommended Reading

Tolstoy: A Biography by A.N. Wilson | Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy by Cathy | Tolstoy: The Making of a Novelist by E. Crankshaw

 

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