Hello! It's Thursday! I hope everyone's week is progressing in an orderly manner!
According to the article, Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (yes, he was an aristocrat) is among the most widely translated authors. His two most well known books are of course War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Reading this article makes me want to drop everything and immerse myself in them!
Here he is at 20 and at 82, two years before his death.
Apparently he was a pretty wild young lad. "I am living like a beast", he wrote in his diary which he started at school and kept until the end of his life. He failed to complete a law degree and spent his time partying with the Gypsies that still ran a theatre in Moscow at that time.
Tolstoy had a wild and adventurous life. He joined the army after dropping out of university, had his first story "Childhood" accepted for publication at the age of 24 and then went off to fight in the Crimean War. He lost his 32 room family mansion in a game of cards whilst in the army and so, when he married at 34, he brought his bride home to a separate two-story wing of the former mansion. He then started a school for the illiterate children of peasants. Meanwhile, his short stories were a hit in St Petersburg but he turned his back on that fame and set about writing War and Peace. Seven years later, the great masterpiece was completed in 1869.
Aside from his writing, he is influential in his religious beliefs and is said to have been an inspiration to men such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and Mohandas Gandhi. He was also passionate about nature. The article says that the outdoors were a church to Tolstoy.
Immediately below is a path lined with linden trees that he used to walk along ever day and below that is an avenue of birch trees at his ancestral estate. "I noticed this beauty..and fell in love with it," he wrote of this beloved avenue.