Dear readers, today we are rounding up the top 15 facts from Leo Tolstoy biography that you do not know, and will be quite surprised as you get to unveil some secrets about this ‘greatest authors of all time”. Leo Tolstoy was born in a Russian aristocratic family as Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, and is best known for his exemplary works like Anna Karenina and War and Peace, and a host of other epic works. Known for his interest in spiritualism and Philosophy, Tolstoy was not a hermit though. He had a colorful life filled with numerous women with whom he shared his bed. He had a cult following and many great leaders were inspired by his morals which included Mahatma Gandhi.
1. Leo Tolstoy’s early years were spent with his father’s relations
Taking birth in an aristocratic Russian family on August 28, 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, Leo was the youngest of the four sons. His father’s distant cousin named Tatyana Ergolsky was given the charge to take care of the four boys once Leo’s mother died when he was two years old. However, this arrangement didn’t last for a long time as Leo’s father passed away in 1837, prompting another aunt called Alexandra Osten-Saken to become their legal guardian. Alexandra was a religiously inspired woman and since Tolstoy spent a few of his early years with her, she motivated him towards spirituality. Alexandra passed away in 1840. Thereafter, the boys were transferred to Kazan to another aunt named Pelageya Yushkov.
The picture that you can see above is that of the university where Tolstoy enrolled in the faculty of Oriental Languages. It was called Kazan University. Leo, though, later went on to become a great author was not an exceptional student or for that matter, interested in studies. He was home tutored in German and French. It was in the year 1843 that he took admission in the famous Kazan University for pursuing a career in diplomatic field, but, as uninterested as he was, he could never find studying languages easy and hence rerouted his interest to studying law. This too he couldn’t pursue and in 1847 he dropped out of the university.
3. Tolstoy created an endless list of rules to live his life
A Leo Tolstoy biography fact that some of you may not know is that this great author was in fact a self improvement fanatic. There is a manifesto or a list of rules that Tolstoy created for living his life, and this he did so by getting inspired from Benjamin Franklin’s 13 virtues laid down in his autobiography. All these rules were pretty simple to be followed and included points like eating moderately, sleeping and waking early, taking a shot nap, and avoiding sweets.
While, these may seem simple, there are a host of other rules that offer us a deep understanding of Tolstoy’s inner most struggles. He had quite a bad reputation as he was a promiscuous man who often visited brothels and engaged in gambling. Therefore, when he laid down his rules, he also considered these two bad habits and wanted to improve his life by restricting his brothel visits to only 2 times.
4. Tolstoy’s diary entries offered much material for his long autobiography
The diary entries that he wrote when he returned to Yasnaya Polyana, his birthplace became a store house of materials that would later be used for writing his autobiography.
Leo came back with a hard drive to become a good farmer and to take care of his farmhands that had worked without any salary for a long time. However, he failed miserably as he couldn’t deal with the farmers and workers and spent a lot of money and time socializing in Tula. During this time, Leo got in the habit of writing diary entries. These entries later became a rich source for writing books and were also mentioned in his autobiography.
One of Leo Tolstoy books called War and Peace involved the hard work of not merely Leo but also his wife Sophia Behrs who helped get the whole book to its finishing line. Tolstoy married Sophia in 1862 and also stared his work on War and Peace. In 1865 Leo completed the first draft of the work and then started making corrections and revisions again and again.
Sophia with all her integrity helped in rewriting each version in hand. Some of Leo’s scribblings were so small that she would use a magnifying glass to understand what was written. This continued for seven long years in which Sophia rewrote the manuscript of War and Peace not one but eight times. It has to be brought to our readers minds that she was not a career woman but a homemaker who had to take care of her household chores plus bear four kids (out of 13) and also take care of the business. Hats off to this woman!!