Leo Tolstoy

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1828
Tolstoy is born
Leo Nicolayevich Tolstoy is born on August 28 at Yasnaya Polyana.

1830
Leo's mother dies
In February, Leo's sister, Marya, is born. The Countess dies six months later, just before her 40th birthday. "Aunt" Toinette takes on the responsibility of rearing the children.

1835
Nicolai inspires little Leo
Older brother Nicolai tells Leo a magical green stick is buried near a ravine in the Zakaz forest where they play. On it, he says, are carved words that can destroy all evil in the hearts of men. Leo will remember this all his life.

1837
The Tolstoys go to Moscow
In January, the family moves to Moscow for the sake of the older boys' education. Leo's father dies
On June 21, Leo's father drops dead of apoplexy. Their father's older sister, Aline, becomes the children's legal guardian; they are also cared for by Toinette and their grandmother.

1838
Family disruption
In May, Leo's grandmother dies, and the family splits up. Leo, now 10, returns to Yasnaya Polyana under Toinette's care, with Dmitry (11) and Marya (8).

1845
Leo's formal education begins
Leo enters the University of Kazan to study Oriental languages. He is a poor and undisciplined student. Loss of innocence
Dragged to a brothel by his brothers, Leo loses his virginity. Afterwards, he breaks down and cries. This is the start of a complex relationship with sex that Leo will explore personally and in his work through the rest of his life.

1847
Back to the land
Leo takes possession of his portion of the inheritance: 4,000 acres and 350 serfs at Yasnaya Polyana. He invites Aunt Toinette to live with him. Later, Leo moves to Moscow, where he begins to gamble compulsively.

1851
Tolstoy begins to write
While an artillery cadet in the Caucasus, Leo begins work on an autobiographical novel, which will become Childhood, his first published work.

1852
Childhood
Leo anonymously sends the manuscript of Childhood to the editor of the famed St. Petersburg journal The Contemporary. Serialized under the initials L.N., Childhood is a popular and critical success.

1855
Gambling losses
Leo gambles away all the money reaped from the sale of the family home. Tolstoyism
Troubled by "fits of lust" and "criminal sloth," Tolstoy conceives "a new religion of Christ, divested of faith and mysteries," a "practical religion." The seeds of Tolstoyism are planted.

1856
Tuberculosis kills Dmitry
In January, Leo visits his dying brother. A religious ascetic who succumbed to vice in his 20s, Dmitry is nursed by Masha, a former prostitute whose freedom he bought. His death will become part of Anna Karenina.

1858
Bear attack
Leo is scarred for life by a bear who surprises him while hunting. Displaying strength and courage, he kills it at point-blank range.

1871
Samara
In the spring, Tolstoy sinks into depression. A journey to the steppes of Samara lifts his spirits; he buys 6,700 acres of land to raise horses. He returns to Samara every summer for seven years. Literacy, not literature

Abandoning literature, Leo embraces education again, authoring a series of Primers to help new students learn to read. Rejecting the phonetic approach, he encounters much criticism, but nearly a million Primers will be sold during his lifetime.l

1873
Son Petya dies
In November, 18-month-old Petya dies suddenly of croup.

1875
Nicholas dies
Leo and Sonya discover that infant Nicholas is afflicted with water on the brain. He dies in February. A third child dies
Pregnant again, Sonya must nurse several of her children through croup. She falls seriously ill herself. In October she gives birth prematurely to their eighth child, a girl, who dies.

1878
Tolstoy turns 50
At the peak of his literary success, Leo is obsessed by a feeling of futility and struggles against the impulse to commit suicide

1882
Disciples
Drawn by his ideological essays, followers begin to embrace Tolstoyism.

1883
Tolstoy meets chertkov...
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