It may seem that Leo Tolstoy and his wife Sophia Behrs shared a good marital relationship, courtesy, the many pictures of the couple in which they seem to be quite calm and composed, but, in reality this wasn’t the case. The Tolstoys had a rocky and tumultuous married life all throughout. Leo seemed enamored by Sophia before marriage as she was merely 18 years of age and may be physical attraction might have been the reason. But, as they got married, the couple slowly drifted apart. Tolstoy’s ever increasing interest in spiritualism irritated his wife who had to take care of the family business all alone.
In the late 1800’s Sophia reached her boiling point when Leo invited all his disciples to his estate for living while abandoning the family over spiritual matters. This angered Sophia who demanded that Leo sign the papers giving her control of his royalties that he received from his publishers. It was in 1910 that Leo got so depressed at his miserable life that he left the house along with one of his daughters. He never returned back as he died of pneumonia on November 20, 1910.
7. Tolstoy was a little sadistic in his dealing with his wife
We now know that the Tolstoy’s never enjoyed a happy married life. Looking at some of the info available in Leo Tolstoy biography, it dawns to us that Leo had a sadistic streak in his personality. Even though Leo had an initial attraction for Sophia, he didn’t stop himself from causing her hurt.
Just a day before they were to get married, Leo forced Sophia to read his personal diary entries in which he had written about his memoirs of numerous illicit affairs and sexual relations that he had enjoyed in his life. This very act justifies why Sophia could never come to settle for a happy life with Leo even though she dedicated her life serving his house, his children and even his work.
Some of Leo Tolstoy works that went on to become classics were written when Leo joined the army. Leo loved his elder brother Nikolay, who in 1858, came to Yasnaya Polyana to visit him. Nicolay was in the army and was on leave. On his brother’s offer to join the army in the south, Leo agreed and traveled far into the mountains at an outpost in Caucasus. He joined as a volunteer who spent the day hunting, drinking and running after women. The life at Caucasus was a lonely one and this inspired Leo to start writing. It was during this time that he wrote the manuscript for Childhood and completed it in 1852. Thereafter, he sent his work to the Contemporary, the most famous journal back then. This started his writing career and he went on to write another epic book called The Cossacks in 1862. He never stopped writing.
Leo Tolstoy wasn’t a handsome man, and even as a young boy, Leo was quite unsatisfied with the way he looked. He was gifted with an exemplary ability to write but wasn’t much of a looker. With thick bushy eyebrows, huge lips and cauliflower nose that looked bulbous, Leo thought himself to be the ugliest of all his siblings. He was enamored by the way his elder brother Nicolay looked and prayed to Lord each day for making him as handsome as his brother. His want to become good looking even forced the young Leo to cut off his eyebrows as he hated their bushiness.
Anna Karenina is regarded as one of the biggest and famous of Leo Tolstoy books that got published in the 1870’s. With its publication, Tolstoy grew all the more unhappy with his aristocratic lifestyle and underwent a major change in his outlook towards life. His growing irritation and sadness with the church led him to put several unwanted questions which the church disliked and disapproved. He rejected many of the religious rituals and faced flak from the Russian Orthodox Church that boycotted him in 1901. He not only attacked the church but also the Czarist government that saw him getting under police surveillance.