Biography of Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time. He is best known for his long novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, considered by many critics as the greatest works of realist fiction. Tolstoy is also known for his short stories, semi-autobiographical works, essays, plays, and novellas.

Although Tolstoy was born into Russian nobility as the son of Princess Marie Volkonsky and Count Nicolas Tolstoy, later in life his beliefs became increasingly radical: he became a Christian anarchist and pacifist, giving up most of his possessions to live a simpler life that more resembled those of peasants.

In 1910, following an argument with his wife, Tolstoy fled his home to live in a monastery. He fell ill during the journey and died at a railway station. While Tolstoy was nominated several times for both the Nobel Prize for Literature and Nobel Peace Prize in the last decade of his life, he never won.


Study Guides on Works by Leo Tolstoy

In July of 1852, a young Count Leo Tolstoy sent his first work to the journal The Contemporary, which forever changed Russian literature. This work was a narrative, Childhood.

For many researchers of Tolstoy’s works, it remains a mystery how a...

Hadji Murat is a relatively short novel written by Leo Tolstoy. This novel was published in 1912, after his death; Tolstoy's narrative falls under the category of historical fiction.

The novel pivots around a war in which a brave chieftain, Hadji...

Although he is best known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina (both of which are considered among the best novels ever written), Leo Tolstoy has written a number of other novels, essays, and short stories. Among those short stories is ...

"The Kreutzer Sonata" is Leo Tolstoy's novel, published in 1890 and immediately censored by the tsarist authorities. The book proclaims the ideal of abstinence and describes in the first person anger of jealousy. The name of the story gave number...