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Leo Tolstoi 1828-1910 In full Lev Nikolayevich Count Tolstoy Leo Tolstoy was born at Yasnya Polyana in the Tula Province His fathers family was new to Russia The grand duke of Moscow at the time gave the name Tolstoy to the family The word tolstoy in russian literally means fat His parents died when he was a child and relatives were left to bring him up Tolstoy started his studies of law and oriental languages at Kaza University Dissatisfied with the standard of education he returned in the middle of his studies back to Yasnaya Polyana and spent then much of his time in Moscow and St Petersburg In 1851 he accompanied his elder brother to the Caucasus and joined an artillery regiment In the 1850s Tolstoy also began his literary career publishing the autobiographical trilogy Childhood 1852 Boyhood 1854 and Youth 1857During the Crimean War Tolstoy commanded a battery witnessing the siege of Sebastopol 1854-55 In 1857 he visited France Switzerland and Germany After his travels Tolstoy settled in his birthplace of Yasnaja Polyana where he started a school for peasant children He investigated during further travels to Europe 1860-61 educational theory and practice and published magazines and textbooks on the subject In 1862 he married Sonya Andreyevna Bers or Behrs Between the years 1865 and 1869 appeared Tolstoys major work War and Peace an epic tale depicting the story of five families against the background of Napoleons invasion of Russia Tolstoys other masterpiece Anna Karenina 1873-77 told a tragical story of a married woman who follows her lover but finally at a train station throws herself in front of an incoming train In the 1880s Tolstoy wrote such philosophical works as A Confession and What I Believe which was banned in 1884 He gave up his estate to his family and attempted to live as a poor celibate peasant Attracted by Tolstoys writings Yasnaya Polyana was visited by hundreds of
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