Leo Tolstoy’s mother died when he was two years old. Tolstoy was born on august 28, 1828 to Countess Mariya Tolstaya and Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy in Yasnaya Polyana (his family’s estate) in the Tula Province of Russia. At the time he was the youngest of four sons but one of five to left by the count and countess. When his mother died, Leo Tolstoy’s father put the children in the care of his cousin Tatyana Ergolsky. Nine years later Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy would also pass, making Alexandra Osten-Saken (Leo’s aunt) their legal guardian (Christian, R. F., 1969). Their aunt took care of them for three years before she as well passed, though her time with the young Leo Tolstoy was short, it was a very impactful time for Tolstoy’s religious influence. Leo Tolstoy, although considered by many to be brilliant, he was not very fond of his education. He was home schooled for most of his childhood by his relatives and paid tutors. Eventually, Leo and his older brothers went to study at the University of Kazan in Tatarstan Russia. He studied oriental languages before switching to law but ultimately just dropped out due to his excess partying and lack of desire to impress his teachers. He would often set goals to teach himself things throughout periods of time but would ultimately fail in light of all of his visits to friends of his in Moscow. Eventually Tolstoy developed a keen ability to think and philosophize about life, leading him to become the writer and intellectual famously known as Leo Tolstoy.
Leo Tolstoy had a huge gambling problem. Leo Tolstoy was a man of many problems, and of these problems the most self-destructive one he had was gambling. Throughout much of his early life Leo loved to drink and gamble, the two kind of came together like bread and butter for him. He eventually played so much and gathered such a mass amounts of debt; it led Leo to have to sell much of his family’s estate which he had inherited. The fact that he was losing valuables left to him by his parents didn’t seem to impede Tolstoy from enjoying the game, for he continued to collect debt to the point where he had to sell items on his person to cover some of the costs. He was very unable to live the virtuous life he wanted and didn’t really stop drinking and gambling until his involvement with the Russian military. Tolstoy volunteered for the army. Leo Tolstoy was a huge Russian patriot; his brother was a soldier in the Crimean War against the Ottoman Empire and during a visit convinced Leo to join himself (Ernst J. Simmons, 1973). Much persuasion wasn’t needed because Leo had already fantasized about the glory that came from fighting in battle. When put on the front line, serving in an artillery regiment, Leo Tolstoy showed courage and valor and won many awards for his efforts. Tolstoy was asked to write a study of the artillery action during the final assault and report it to the authorities in St. Petersburg. This proved to be a great success and Leo Tolstoy was accepted into the Russian literary society and treated as a star due to his wonderful stories. Tolstoy organized a school for peasants. On his estate that was left to him by his parents, Tolstoy had many peasants working on his 4,000 acres of land. He established schools for peasants all across his land in Yasnaya Polyana. Tolstoy didn’t give them homework and didn’t force them to learn or anything of that nature, he wanted them to take an interest in learning and educating themselves. For his goal was to alter the state of the Russian educational system. But this shows the two faced nature of Tolstoy because he also shows bitterness towards established order and the attempt to improve Russian society. Tolstoy was a very conflicted man. Leo Tolstoy was very adventurous. In February 1857, Leo Tolstoy after having slept with a neighbor, he decides to skip town and avoid...
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