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Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy

 

Russian author Leo Tolstoy wrote the acclaimed novels War and Peace, Anna Karenina and The Death of Ivan Ilyich, and still ranks among the world's top writers.

Tolstoy received his primary education at home, at the hands of French and German tutors. In 1843, he enrolled in an Oriental languages program at the University of Kazan. There, Tolstoy failed to excel as a student. His low grades forced him to transfer to an easier law program. Tolstoy ultimately left the University of Kazan in 1847, without a degree.

Tolstoy transferred to Sevastopol in Ukraine in November 1854, where he fought in the Crimean War through August 1855. While working as a junker for the Army, he worked on an autobiographical story called Childhood. In it, he wrote of his fondest childhood memories. In 1852, Tolstoy submitted the sketch to The Contemporary, the most popular journal of the time. The story was eagerly accepted and became Tolstoy's very first published work.

Tolstoy still managed to continue writing while at battle during the Crimean War. Once the war ended and Tolstoy left the Army, he returned to Russia. Back home, the burgeoning author found himself in high demand on the St. Petersburg literary scene. He spent the better part of the 1860s toiling over his first great novel, War and Peace. In 1873, Tolstoy set to work on the second of his best known novels, Anna Karenina. Anna Karenina was partially based on current events while Russia was at war with Turkey. One of his most successful later works was the novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich, written in 1886.

Over the last 30 years of his life, Tolstoy established himself as a moral and religious leader. His ideas about nonviolent resistance to evil influenced the likes of social leader Mahatma Gandhi.

 

A man can live and be healthy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite. And to act so is immoral.
Leo Tolstoy