The nickname ‘The Bear’ was given to Tolstoy who was always an introvert when it came to interacting with people at social gatherings. This shyness was the result from Tolstoy’s inferiority complex about his appearance. Leo would always be at tenterhooks with his inner self over how better his other brothers looked than him.
In order to become the strongest man in the world, he joined gymnastics. He was nicknamed ‘the bear’ because in most parties he would act a little awkwardly. He would at times become quiet while at other points would start behaving in a loud way. His dancing abilities were also mocked on by women. Tolstoy was a lonely man and had a very few close friends that really understood him.
12. His first visit to a brothel marked the beginning of his promiscuous life
The day he visited the brothel for the first time was the day that Leo Tolstoy began with his promiscuous life that continued for a long time. Leo on the insistence of his brothers visited a brothel for the first time in his life, and this led to the beginning of the man’s journey to the land of promiscuity that he mentioned in his diary entries. There is one account in which he mentioned to his friend about his first experience of sex with a woman. This first sexual relation was not so fondly spoken about as Leo mentioned that he wept standing next to the woman’s bed. After this first episode, Tolstoy slept with many women and also contracted an STD – gonorrhea.
13. Tolstoy had a cult following and inspired Mahatma Gandhi
A propagator of a pacifist life that was governed by Christian anarchism and spirituality, Leo Tolstoy inspired the foundation of a new faith. He attracted a large number of followers that joined his faith also called ‘Tolstoyan’ Faith. Leo invited his followers to live with him at his estate while a majority of others stated living near his home and at various places around the globe as one community.
Such was his enigma that prominent world leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King Jr. were inspired by him and his social beliefs. Gandhi was an ardent follower of Tolstoy and named an entire cooperative colony in South Africa after his role model. He even remained in contact with Tolstoy and discussed about spiritual doctrines with him.
14. Tolstoy had unique ideas about society and history
Leo Tolstoy had many unique ideas about society and history. In his writings, he made a division of the society into two classes – the upper class and the lower class. There wasn’t any middle class in his theory. Tolstoy always had an upper class lifestyle, but that didn’t stop him from expecting more. Though, he believed in spirituality and simple life, he could never get away from his upper class lifestyle that included attending parties and social gatherings. All his life he was at cross roads when it came to choosing the class that he really wished to live in. At the same time, he also developed certain ideas about history. According to him, history was nothing but a huge collection of fables and useless number of dates and names that no one wanted to read or know. His ideas on history went on to become a prominent theme in his epic book ‘War and Peace’.
It were not merely history and society that intrigued Leo Tolstoy so much so that he went on to formulate theories on these two subjects. Other than history and society, Leo also formulated ideas on death and happiness. Since he had seen much pain at various points in his life, such as two deaths in his family the same year, he formulated that death was a certain thing to happen to everybody. But happiness was something that could be achieved by enjoying the present and not thinking too much about death. Tolstoy also believed that a man who could master the art of enduring suffering and pain could never remain unhappy. Some weird things that he did in order to see the practical side of these ideas included whipping himself and holding a weighty dictionary in front of him for a whole five minutes to endure the pain.
These facts about the great author will startle you and will make you want to read Leo Tolstoy biography again and again. Do reply back if you loved reading about him.