Leo Tolstoy’s 186th birthday is being celebrated by Google today. Find out all about the Russian author, political thinker, and novelist of War and Peace.
1. He was Born on September 9, 1828
Leo Tolstoy was born Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy on September 9, 1828 in Yasnaya Polyana, in the then Russian Empire.
His family was Russian nobility, and he would later take his father’s title of Count.
In his early adulthood he traveled extensively, lived in Moscow and St. Petersburg, before having to join the army to help repay gambling debts.
He began to write while in the army.
2. He Wrote War & Peace and Anna Karenina
Among the now-considered classics he wrote, Tolstoy wrote War & Peace, Anna Karenina, Hadji Murad, and The Death of Ivan Ilyich.
3. He was a Christian Anarchist
Later in his life, he read a book called TThe World as Will and Representation by German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer.
He came to believe that ascetic renunciation, or abstention from earthly things, was the way to holiness, and that the only law Christians had to answer to was the law of God.
4. He Provided Inspiration to Other Authors
According to Wikipedia:
Later critics and novelists continue to bear testament to Tolstoy’s art. Virginia Woolf declared him the greatest of all novelists. James Joyce noted that, “He is never dull, never stupid, never tired, never pedantic, never theatrical!”. Thomas Mann wrote of Tolstoy’s seemingly guileless artistry: “Seldom did art work so much like nature”. Such sentiments were shared by the likes of Proust, Faulkner and Nabokov.
He also made an indelible mark on his contemporaries like Fyodor Dostoyevsky and Anton Chekhov.
5. Movies Have Been Made About Him
In 2009, Christopher Plummer played Tolstoy in The Last Station opposite Helen Mirren, who played his wife Sofia.
There are also older, black-and-white movies about him, created in the 1910s.