Biography of Leo Tolstoy:

Leo Tolstoy (Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy):
Born: September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia
Died: November 20, 1910, in Astapovo, Russia
Early Life and Military Service - Spiritual Crisis and Religious Beliefs - Tolstoyan Movement - Legacy and Death of Leo Tolstoy
Biography of Leo Tolstoy

Early Life:

Leo Tolstoy was born into a noble family and inherited the title of Count.
He lost his parents at a young age and was raised by relatives.
Tolstoy received his education at home and later studied law and oriental languages at Kazan University.

Leo Tolstoy’s Military Service:

Tolstoy served in the Crimean War (1853–1856), an experience that influenced his later anti-war views.
After the war, he traveled extensively in Europe and returned to Yasnaya Polyana to manage his estate.

Literary Career:

Tolstoy began his writing career with semi-autobiographical works like “Family Happiness” (1859) and “The Cossacks” (1863).
He achieved international fame with his epic novels:
  “War and Peace” (1869): A sprawling historical novel that explores the impact of the Napoleonic Wars on Russian society.
  “Anna Karenina” (1877): A tragic tale of love and morality set against the backdrop of aristocratic Russia.

Leo Tolstoy’s Spiritual Crisis and Religious Beliefs:

In the 1870s, Tolstoy experienced a profound spiritual crisis that led him to question the meaning of life.
He embraced a version of Christianity rooted in his interpretation of the Gospels, rejecting institutionalized religion and authority.

Later Works:

Tolstoy’s later works, including “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” (1886) and “The Kreutzer Sonata” (1889), reflected his evolving philosophical and moral views.
“Resurrection” (1899) addressed social injustice and the redemption of the soul.

Tolstoyan Movement:

Tolstoy’s writings inspired the Tolstoyan movement, a pacifist and communal way of life that rejected materialism and violence.

Conflict with Church and Excommunication:

Tolstoy’s criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church and his unorthodox religious views led to his excommunication in 1901.

Death of Leo Tolstoy:

Tolstoy died at the age of 82 on November 20, 1910.
His death came during a journey to find a place where he could live a simple life in accordance with his beliefs.


Leo Tolstoy is regarded as one of the greatest novelists in world literature.
His exploration of moral and philosophical themes, as well as his realistic portrayal of Russian society, continues to resonate.
Tolstoy’s influence extended beyond literature to philosophy, pacifism, and movements for social change.
Leo Tolstoy’s complex and multifaceted legacy encompasses not only his literary achievements but also his profound impact on philosophical and ethical thought. His exploration of the human condition and his critique of societal norms remain timeless.