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How did Tolstoy have such a fascinating insight to every level of society? How did history or the people around him influence his writing? In what ways did he, himself influence people through his writing?

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Leo Tolstoy, -a Russian novelist, a social and moral philosopher and one of the greatest writers of all time- lived during the period of realism. Most of his works present the reader to Russian life in the early 19th century and some of them deal with Russia's past history or social system. How did Tolstoy have such a fascinating insight to every level of society? How did history or the people around him influence his writing? In what ways did he, himself influence people through his writing? Why do people, today read his works all over the world? Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, at Yasnaya Polyana, his parents' estate close to Moscow. His mother died when he was two years old. His father was a landowning nobleman, and he died when his son turned nine. Orphaned at an early age, Tolstoy was raised by his aunt, a deeply religious woman. The young Tolstoy received his first education from German and French tutors who taught him at home. Having a good education seemed really important in his eyes, so he attended a university where he studied law and languages. After having lost interest and disagreeing with some of the teachers, he left without a degree and went back to his family's old estate to continue the family tradition. ...read more.


She was a very intelligent, strong-willed woman who gave Tolstoy great happiness and 13 children. Tolstoy continued to work with his serfs and convinced his friends and other people around him to try and better the life of the work force. To everyone's astonishment his estate thrived under the new system where serfs were paid and given education and they lived among better conditions. By making these changes in his estate's economic life and managing it successfully, he convinced many other landowners to improve, too. After the birth of his children, Tolstoy had his own family to think about. Although he never had financial problems, he had to provide a living for his quickly growing family. In the next 15 years he raised a large family and as an escape from everyday problems into the past he wrote his two greatest novels: War and Peace and Anna Karenina. War and Peace represents a high point in Tolstoy's life. It is the story of 1812 when Napoleon, a French general attacked Russia. The story contains 559 characters; important military battles and portrays of historically famous people. The main theme, however is the changing lives of four Russian aristocratic families. Its general message is love of life in all circumstances which was inspired by Tolstoy's personal happiness. The shorter novel of Anna Karenina also deals with high Russian society, but it is more of a psychological work than any of his other pieces. ...read more.


Tolstoy benefitted from many things he received in his childhood. When foreign teachers tutored him he learned their languages completely. Therefore he knew Russian, his native language, and he spoke French and German perfectly, too. He later applied this knowledge in his books, writing in all three languages. The concept of God and the purpose and meaning of religion troubled Tolstoy throughout his life. He had always been in search of the concept of right or wrong, but never could achieve an understanding of the matter. Tolstoy' on ideas on religion and on nonresistance to evil influenced Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. Both of these men fought nonviolently for rights and the well being of their people: Gandhi in India against the British and Luther King for equality for blacks. Other famous Russian authors of this period were Fyodor Dostoevsky and Ivan Turgenev. (McGraw-Hill, p.484) Tolstoy's life seems a little bit of struggle at some points, but he really gave a lot to this world. He made a huge difference by getting rid of his convictions and doing what he thought was best for society. He even had the courage to express his views that were not welcomed by most of the people around him. Tolstoy is known for his books, however, that bought him worldwide acclaim in his living, but he is still celebrated today as one of the world's greatest author of all times. The greatest Russian author of the 19th century Kata Fustos World lit. & Comp. Ms. ...read more.

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