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Lev Tolstoi - in full Lev Nikolayevich, Count Tolstoy - born Aug. 28, 1828 (Sept. 9, New Style); d. Nov. 7, 1910 (Nov. 20, New Style)


Russian author, one of the greatest of all novelists. Leo Tolstoy's major works include War and Peace (1863-69), characterized by Henry James as a "loose baggy monster", and Anna Karenina (1875-77), which stands alongside Flaubert's Madame Bovary and Fontane's Effi Briest as perhaps the most prominent 19th-century European novel of marriage and adultery. Tolstoi once said, "The one thing that is necessary, in life as in art, is to tell the truth." Tolstoy's life is often seen to form two distinct parts: first comes the author of great novels, and later a prophet and moral reformer. Details of his family life tell, that he was a terrible husband.

In historic events, the so-called great men are labels giving names to events, and like labels they have but the smallest connection with the event itself.
  Every act of theirs which appears to them an act of their own will, is an historical sense involuntary and is related to the whole course of history and predestinated from eternity.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude, Encyclopædia Britannica, 1952, p. 344)

Leo Tolstoy was born at Yasnaya Polyana, in Tula Province, the fourth of five children. The title of Count had been conferred on his ancestor in the early 18th century by Peter the Great. His parents died when he was a child, and he was brought up by relatives. Tolstoy started his studies of law and oriental languages at Kazan University in 1844, but he never took a degree. Dissatisfied with the standard of education, he returned in the middle of his studies back to Yasnaya Polyana, and then spent much of his time in Moscow and St. Petersburg. In 1847 Tolstoy was treated for venereal disease. After contracting heavy gambling debts, Tolstoy accompanied in 1851 his elder brother Nikolay to the Caucasus, and joined an artillery regiment. His literary career Tolstoy also started in the 1850s, publishing the autobiographical trilogy Childhood (1852), Boyhood (1854), and Youth (1857).

One of Tolstoy's earliest stories, 'The Raid', was based on a military manouvre against the Chechen mountain tribesmen, in which Nikolay's unit took part. The story appeared in censored form in 1852. "Can it be that there is not room for all men on this beautiful earth under these immeasurable starry heavens?" Tolstoy asked. "Can it be possible that in the midst of this entrancing Nature feelings of hatred, vengeance, or the desire to exterminate their fellows can endure in the souls of men?" (The Raid and Other Stories, translated by Louise and Aylmer Maude, with an introduction by P. N. Furbank, Oxford University Press, 1982, p. 16) About fifty years later Tolstoy returned to his experiences in Caucasus in the novella Hadji Murad (1904), still a highly insightful introduction to the backgrounds of today's Chechnyan tragedy. It also was an elegiac reprise of the dominant themes of Tolstoy's art and life. The famous philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein gave the book to his disciple Norman Malcolm, telling him that there was a lot to be got out of it.

During the Crimean War Tolstoy commanded a battery, witnessing the siege of Sebastopol (1854-55). In 1857 he visited France, Switzerland, and Germany. After his travels Tolstoy settled in Yasnaya Polyana, where he started a school for peasant children. He saw that the secret of changing the world lay in education. During further travels to Europe he investigated (1860-61) educational theory and practice, and published magazines and textbooks on the subject. In 1862 he married Sonya Andreyevna Behrs  (1844-1919); she bore him 13 children. Because Sonya alone could decipher her husband's scribbles, she acted also his devoted secretary.

Originally Tolstoy's fiction grew out of his diaries, in which he tried to understand his own feelings and actions so as to control them. He devoured widely fiction and philosophy; one of these books was Plato's Symposium, which he read in French translation. In the Caucasus he immersed himself in the work of Rousseau, Dickens and Sterne; through the 1850s he also read and admired Goethe, Stendhal, Thackeray, and George Eliot.

War and Peace, Tolstoy's major work, came out between the years 1865 and 1869. This epic tale depicted the story of five families against the background of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. Its vast canvas includes 580 characters, many historical, others fictional. The story moves from family life to the headquarters of Napoléon, from the court of Alexander to the battlefields of Austerlitz and Borodino. Basically, War and Peace reflected Tolstoy's view that all is predestined, but we cannot live unless we imagine that we have free will.

The harshest judgment is reserved for Napoleon, who thinks he controls events, but is dreadfully mistaken. Pierre Bezukhov, who wanders on the battlefield of Borodino, and sees only the confusion, comes closer to the truth. Great men are for him ordinary human beings who are vain enough to accept responsibility for the life of society, but unable to recognize their own impotence in the cosmic flow. "No one has ever excelled Tolstoy in expressing the specific flavour, the exact quality of a feeling – the degree of its 'oscillation', the ebb and flow, the minute movements (which Turgenev mocked as a mere trick on his part) –  the inner and outer texture and 'feel' of a look, a thought, a pang of sentiment, no less than of a specific situation, of an entire period, of the lives of individuals, families, communities, entire nations." (Isaiah Berlin, in 'The Hedgehog and the Fox', The Proper Study of Mankind: An Anthology of Essays, edited by Henry Hardy and Roger Hausheer, Pimlico, 1998, p. 466)

Tolstoy's other masterpiece, Anna Karenina (1873-77), told a tragic story of a married woman, who follows her lover, but finally at a station throws herself in front of an incoming train. The novel opens with the famous sentence: "Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way." (Ibid., translated from the Russian by Constance Garnett, illustrated by Fritz Eichenberg, Nelson Doubleday, MCMXLIV, p. 3) Tolstoy juxtaposed in the work crises of family life with the quest for the meaning of life and social justice. When the first sentence identifies the subject, the second sentence introduces the theme: "Everything was in confusion in the Oblonskys' house." Anna Karenina comes to Moscow to reconcile the Oblonskys. Her love affair with Vronskii is accompanied with another intertwined plot, Konstantin Levin's courtship and marriage to Kitty Shcherbatskaia, the sister-in-law of Anna. Tolstoy saw that everywhere the family life of the landed gentry was breaking up, but he did not accept nihilist theories about marriage. Aleksei Karenin, a cold and ambitious man, is unable to save his career or make Anna happy.

First Anna agrees to end the affair, but when Vronskii is injured in an accident, she resumes the relationship. Anna gives birth to their child, and Karenin finally agrees to allow Anna to run away to Italy with Vronskii. However, she believes that he no longer loves her, and commits suicide. "She tried to get up, to drop backwards; but something huge and merciless struck  her on the head and rolled her on her back. "Lord, forgive me all!" she said, feeling it impossible to struggle. A peasant muttering something was working at the iron above her. And the light by which she had read the book filled with troubles, falsehoods, sorrow, and evil, flared up more brightly than ever before, lighted up for her all that had been in darkness, flickered, began to grow dim, and was quenched forever." (Ibid., p. 692) Through Levin, who seeks the meaning of existence, Tolstoy states that "everything has been turned upside down and is only just taking shape, the question what form these conditions will take is the one question of importance in Russia". (Ibid., p. 298) He and Kitty learn the values of toil and happiness. "But Levin did not shoot himself, and did not hang himself, he went on living." (Ibid., p. 712)

Anna Karenina has been filmed in Hollywood several times. One of the most famous versions, starring Greta Garbo, was born during the period when the film industry was under the censorial agencies of the Catholic Legion of Decency and the Production Code Administration. Thus the love affair of Anna and Vronskii was strongly condemned in the film and all references to the illegitimate child were removed. "At every opportunity, characters step forward to either denounce Anna (Greta Garbo) and Vronsky (Fredric March), or to foretell dire results of the continued affair. The resistance by Karenin (Basil Rathbone) to his wife's affair has none of the duplicity suggested by Tolstoy; rather, he is portrayed as refusing a divorce solely because it would "legalize a sin." . . . An unhappy marriage—in Hollywood at least—was not a legitimate reason for divorce or sexual transgression." (The Encyclopedia of Novels into Film by John C. Tibbetts and James M. Welsh, Checkmark Books, 2005, p. 20)

After finishing Anna Karenina Tolstoy renounced all his earlier works. "I wrote everything into Anna Karenina," he later confessed, "and nothing was left over." Voskresenia (1899, Resurrection) was Tolstoy's last major novel, and affirmed his belief in the individual over the collective. Prince Dmitrii Ivanovich Nekhliudov has abandoned the prostitute Ekaterina Maslova with their child as a young man. The novel begins when Maslova is called to court on charges of murdering a client. Nekhliudov is a member of the jury. He realizes that he also is accused but in the court of his own conscience. Maslova is wrongly sentenced to four years' penal service in Siberia. Nekhliudov follows her convoy to Siberia and manages to obtain commutation of her sentence from hard labour with common criminals to exile with the "politicals". Before the emergence of the gulag fiction, the novel  enjoyed a vast popularity during the reign of Stalin. It has been claimed, that while writing the story Tolstoy relived some of his guilt-ridden memories of his youth about a girl he had seduced and abandoned. 

According to Tolstoy's wife Sonya, the idea for The Kreutzer Sonata (1890) was given to Tolstoy by the actor V.N. Andreev-Burlak during his visit at Yasnaya Polyana in June 1887. In the spring of 1888 an amateur performance of Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata took place in Tolstoy's home and it made the author return to an idea he had had in the 1860s.

The Kreutzer Sonata is written in the form of a frame-story and set on a train. The conversations among the passengers develop into a discussion of the institution of marriage. Pozdnyshev, the chief character, tells of his youth and his first visits to brothels, and his subsequent remorse and self-disgust. He decides to get married and after a brief engagement, he and his wife spend a disastrous honeymoon in Paris. Back at Russia the marriage develops into mutual hatred. Pozdnyshev believes that his wife is having an affair with a musician and he tries to strangle her, and then stabs her to death with a dagger. He accuses society and women who inflame, with the aid of dressmakers and cosmeticians, men's animal instincts.

After writing the novel Tolstoy was accused of preaching immorality. The Chief Procurator of the Holy Synod wrote to the tsar, and this marked the beginning of the process that led ultimately to Tolstoy's excommunication. Tolstoy was forced to write in 1890 a postscript in which he attempted to explain his unorthodox views. The novella remained one of the most popular of Tolstoy's works and has been adapted to screen several times. Nino Rota wrote the music for Gianni Franciolini's 1947 film Amanti senza Amore, and later reworked it as an independent chamber piece, entitled Improvviso in re minore.

Tolstoy's self-scrutiny A Confession and What I Believewas banned in 1884. He started to see himself more as a sage and moral leader than an artist, but his wife Sonya saw him both as an artistic genius and a moral hypocrite, especially what became of his sexual attitudes. Restless by nature, Tolstoy made his first attempt to leave home in 1884. He gave up his estate to his family, and tried to live as a poor, celibate peasant.

Yasnaya Polyana, which was turning into a kind of philosophical amusement park, was visited by hundreds of people from all over the world,attracted there by his fame and writings. Pilgrims and Tolstoy's disciples enjoyed a smooth ride on a tarmac road, which the Tsarist government ordered to be built down to Tula. Not too worried about his public image, Tolstoy stated in his diary: "Everyone is writing my biography . . . [but] there will be none of all the terrible filth of my masturbation and worse, [the sins] from my thirteenth to sixteenth years (I do not remember when I began my debauchery in brothels)." (The Liberation of Tolstoy: A Tale of Two Writers by Ivan Alekseevich Bunin, edited, translated from the Russian, and with an introduction and noted by Thomas Gaiton Marullo and Vladimir T.Khmelkov, Northwestern University Press, 2001, p. 306) In 1901 the Russian Orthodox Church excommunicated the author. Tolstoy became seriously ill and he recuperated in Crimea.

Tolstoy's teachings influenced Gandhi, and the kibbutz movement in Palestine, and in Russia his moral authority rivalled that of the tsar. On 28th October 1910, he put on the clothes of a peasant and left his estate with his disciple Vladimir Chertkov on the urge to live as a wandering ascetic. To his wife he wrote: "I shall not say where I'm going, since I consider our separation essential for us both. I love and pity you with all my heart, but I can't do otherwise than as I am doing." (The Last Station: A Novel of Tolstoy's Final Year by Jay Parini, Canongate Books, 2010, p. 312) Tolstoy died of pneumonia on November 7 (Nov. 20, New Style) in 1910, at the Astrapov station-master's home. Visitors were allowed to see his body. Although the author had shown a kindlier attitude toward the Orthodox Church during his last days, Archbishop Parfey said that it is impossible to give Tolstoy Christian burial. Chertkov, who may have been an agent of the government, edited some of Tolstoy's work, composed letters on his behalf, and rewrote sections of his diaries.

Tolstoy send Chertkov over 930 letters, more than to his wife. At the age of 52, Sonya had an affair with a musician, which only added to Tolstoy's estrangement from his family, where no one shared his beliefs. Eight years after her husband's death, Sonya allegedly remarked: "I lived with Lev Nikolayevich for forty-eight years, but I never really learned what kind of man he was." (Tolstoy by A. N. Wilson, Penguin Books, 2001, p. 505) Tolstoy's collected works, which were published in the Soviet Union in 1928-58, consisted of 90 volumes.

In his study What is Art? (1898) Tolstoy condemned Shakespeare, Beethoven, and Dante, but not really convincingly; his misreading of Shakespeare is deliberate. Tolstoy states that art is a conveyor of feelings, good and bad, from the artist to others. Through feeling, the artist "infects" another with the desire to act well or badly. "But art is not a handicraft; it is the transmission of feeling the artist has experienced. And sound feeling can only be engendered in a man when he is living on all sides the life natural and proper to mankind. And therefor security of maintenance is a condition most harmful to an artist's true productiviness, since it removes him from the condition natural to all men . . . and thus deprives him of opportunity and possibility to experience the most important and natural feelings of man." (Ibid., translated from the original ms., with an introduction by Aylmer Maude, Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1904, p. 195)

All of Tolstoy's work is characterized by uncomplicated style, careful construction, and deep insight into human nature. He used ordinary events and characters to examine war, religion, feminism, and other topics. He was convinced that philosophical principles could only be understood in their concrete expression in history. Chapters are short, and he paid much attention to the details of everyday life. Breaking the traditional rules of storytelling, Tolstoy starts War and Peace in the middle of a conversation and ends the narrative in the first epilogue in the middle of a sentence.

Tolstoy's form of Christianity was based on the Sermon on the Mount and crystallized in five leading ideas: human beings must suppress their anger, whether warranted or not; no sex outside marriage; no oaths of any sort; renunciation of all resistance to evil; love of enemies. "The main feature, or rather the main note which resounds through every page of Tolstoi, even the seemingly unimportant ones, is love, compassion for Man in general (and not only for the humiliated and the offended), pity of some sort for his weakness, his insignificance, for the shortness of his life, the vanity of his desires. . . . Yes, Tolstoi is for me the dearest, the deepest, the greatest of all artists. But this concerns the Tolstoi of yesterday, who has nothing in common with the exasperating moralist and theorizer of today." (The composer Peter Tchaikovsky, in Tchaikovsky: A Self-portrait by Vladimir Volkoff, Crescendo Publishing Company, 1975, pp.266- 267)

For further reading: Reminiscences of Tolstoy, Chekhov, and Andreyev by Maxim Gorky (1934); Leo Tolstoy by E.J. Simmons (1946); The Hedgehog and the Fox: An Essay on Tolstoy's View of History by Isaiah Berlin (1953); Tolstoy's "War and Peace" by Reginald Frank Christian (1962); Tolstoy and the Novel by John Bayley (1966); Tolstoy by Henri Troyat (1967); Tolstoy: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. by Ralph Matlaw (1967); Leo Tolstoy: A Critical Introduction by Frank Reginald Christian (1969); The Young Tolstoi by Boris Eikhenbaum (1972); Women in Tolstoy by Ruth Crego Benson (1973); Tolstoy: The Making of a Novelist by Edward Crankshaw (1974); Lev Tolstoy by Viktor Shklovskii (1978); Critical Essays on Tolstoy, ed. by Edward Wasiolek (1986); Leo Tolstoy, ed. by Harold Bloom (1986); The Diaries of Sophia Tolstoy, ed. by O.A. Golinenko (1985); Leo Tolstoy by William W. Rowe (1986); The Unsaid Anna Karenina by Judith Armstrong (1988); Reflecting on Anna Karenina by Mary Evans (1989); The Influence of Tolstoy on Readers of His Work by Gareth Williams (1990); Tolstoy's Pierre Bezukhov by Daniel Rancour-Laferrière (1993); Anna Karenina Companion by C.J.G. Turner (1994); Tolstoy by John Bayley (1997); Tolstoy, Woman and Death by David Holbrook (1997); Tolstoy: A Biography by A. N. Wilson (2001); Tolstoy: A Russian Life by Rosamund Bartlett (2011); Tolstoy's False Disciple: The Untold Story of Leo Tolstoy and Vladimir Chertkov by Alexandra Popoff (2014); Heretical Orthodoxy: Lev Tolstoi and the Russian Orthodox Church by Pål Kolstø (2022); Queer Tolstoy: A Psychobiography by Javier Sethness Castro (2023) - See also: Romain Rolland, Isaiah Berlin, Arvid Järnefelt, Mao Tun, Knut Hamsun, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ivan Bunin - Suom.: Tolstoilta on kertomusten, näytelmien ja ohjelmallisten kirjoitusten lisäksi käännetty mm. teos Kuolema (suom Ilmari Kianto) valikoimat Leo Tolstoin jälkeenjättämät kaunokirjalliset teokset I-II (1911-12) sekä Valitut kertomukset I-III (1963). Kootut teokset, jotka ilmestyivät Neuvostoliitossa 1928-58, käsittävät 90 nidettä.

Selected works:

  • 'Destvo', 1852
    - Childhood (tr. 1862) / Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. 1886; Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1930, Leo Wiener, 1972) / Childhood, Boyhood and Youth  (tr. Isabel Hapgood, 1949; C.J. Hogarth, 1991) / Childhood, Adolescence, Youth  (tr. Fainna Solasko, 1981) / Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. Dora O’Brien, 2010)  
    - Lapsuus, poika-ikä, nuoruus: kolme novellia. 1-3 (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1904-1905) / Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. K. V. Trast, 1930) / Lapsuus ja poikavuodet (suom. A. Heinonen, 1946) / Lapsuus, Poikaikä, Nuoruus (suom. 1952) / Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. Esa Adrian, 1983)
  • 'Nabeg', 1853
    - The Raid (tr. Constance Garnett, in Tolstoy Tales, 1947; Andrew R. MacAndrew, 1961; Louise and Aylmer Maude, ed. P.N. Furbank, in The Raid and Other Stories, 1982)
    - Hyökkäys (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Otrochestvo', 1854
    -  Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. 1886; Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1930;  Leo Wiener, 1972) / Childhood, Boyhood and Youth  (tr. Isabel Hapgood, 1949; C.J. Hogarth, 1991) / Childhood, Adolescence, Youth  (tr. Fainna Solasko, 1981) / Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. Dora O’Brien, 2010)   
    - Lapsuus, poika-ikä, nuoruus: kolme novellia. 1-3 (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1904-1905) / Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. K. V. Trast, 1930) / Lapsuus ja poikavuodet (suom. A. Heinonen, 1946) / Lapsuus, Poikaikä, Nuoruus (suom. 1952) / Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. Esa Adrian, 1983)
  • 'Sevastopol'skie rasskazy', 1855-56
    - Sebastopol (tr. from the French by Frank D. Millet, 1887) / Tales of  Sevastopol (tr. 1946) / Sebastopol Sketches (tr. David McDuff, 1986)
    - Kuvaelmia Sevastopolin piirityksestä (suom. Walter Groundstroem, 1886) / Sevastopolin piiritys (suom. Olga, 1887) / Sevastopolin kertomukset (suom. 1952) / Sevastopol  (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Utro pomeshchika', 1856
    - A Landowner's Morning (translated and introduced by Kyril and April FitzLyon, 1984)
  • 'Dva gusara', 1856
    - Two Hussars (tr. 1887) / Two Generations, and Other Stories (tr. 1888)
    - Kaksi husaaria (suom. V. K. Trast, 1912; Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Metel', 1856
    - Lost on the Steppe; or, The Snowstorm (tr. Nathan Haskell Dole, 1887) / The Snowstorm (tr. R. Nisbet Bain, 1903) / The Snow-Storm (tr. Leo Wiener, in The Complete Works of Count Tolstoy, Volume III, 1904)
    - Pyry (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Iz zapisok knyazya D. Nekhlyudova. Lyutsern', 1857
    - Lucerne (tr. 1887; Nathan Haskell Dole, 1899)
  • 'Iunost', 1857
    -  Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. 1886; Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1930;  Leo Wiener, 1972) / Childhood, Boyhood and Youth  (tr. Isabel Hapgood, 1949; C.J. Hogarth, 1991) / Childhood, Adolescence, Youth  (tr. Fainna Solasko, 1981) / Childhood, Boyhood, Youth (tr. Dora O’Brien, 2010)   
    - Lapsuus, poika-ikä, nuoruus: kolme novellia. 1-3 (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1904-1905) / Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. K. V. Trast, 1930) / Lapsuus, Poikaikä, Nuoruus (suom. 1952)/  Lapsuus, poikaikä, nuoruus (suom. Esa Adrian, 1983)
  • 'Al'bert', 1858
    - Albert (tr. 1887)
  • 'Semeinoe schast'e', 1859
    - Katia (tr. 1887) / Family Happiness (tr. Nathan Haskell Dole, 1888) / The Devil, & Family Happiness (tr. April Fitz Lyon, 1953) / Happy Ever After (tr. Rosemary Edmonds, 1960)
    - Perheonni (suom. Kaarlo Mäkinen, 1894) / Avio-onni (suom. J. Hollo, 1922; Juhani Konkka,  Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Tri smerti', 1859
    - Three Deaths (tr. 1887)
    - Kolme kuolemaa (suom. Oskar Helenius, 1904; Juhani Konkka,  Valitut kertomukset I, 1963)
  • 'Polikuška', 1863
    - Polikushka (tr. Benjamin R. Tucker, in The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories, 1889) / Polikouchka (tr. 1888) / Polikushka (tr. Adolphus Norraikow, in Ivan the Fool: or, The Old Devil and the Three Small Devils, also A Lost Opportunity, and Polikushka, 1891; Louise and Aylmer Maude, revised by Richard F. Gustafson, in The Devil and Other Stories, 2003)
    - Polikushka (suom. Olga, 1887) / Polikuška (suom. Juhani Konkka, 1957)
  • 'Kazaki', 1863
    - The Cossacks (tr. 1872; Eugene Schuyler, 1887; Nathan Haskell Dole, 1888; Rosemary Edmonds, 1960; Andrew R. MacAndrew, 1961; Peter Constantine, 2004)
    - Kasakat (suom. Jalo Kalima, 1907; Kaj Kauhanen, 1960; Juhani Konkka,  Valitut kertomukset II, 1963) / Kasakat: kaukasialainen kertomus (suom. 1952)
  • Voyna i mir, 1865-69
    - War and Peace (tr. Clara Bell, 1886; Nathan Haskell Dole, 1889; Constance Garnett, 1911; Nathan Haskell Dole, 1917; Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1922-1923; Rosemary Edmonds, 1957; Ann Dunnigan, 1968; Anthony Biggs, 2005; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2007)
    - Sota ja rauha (suom. Juho A. Mäkinen, 1895-97; Iiwari Wallenius, osat 1-2, 1905-1906; Rob. A. Seppänen, 3-4 nidos, 1907-1908; Juho Hollo, 1924; Esa Adrian, 1975)
    - several film adaptations: Voyna i mir, 1915, dir. by Vladimir Gardin & Yakov Protazanov; War and Peace, 1956, dir. by King Vidor (with Audrey Hepburn, Henry Fonda); Voyna i mir, 1967, dir. by Sergei Bondarchuk (with Ludmila Saveleyeva, Vyacheslav Tihonov); War & Peace, TV mini-series 1972-1974, starring Anthony Hopkins, Morag Hood and Alan Dobie; Sergei Prokofiev's War and Peace, TV film 1991, dir. Humphrey Burton (with the soloists, chorus, and orchestra of the Kirov Opera); War and Peace, TV mini-series 2007, starring Clémence Poésy, Alessio Boni and Alexander Beyer; BBC mini-series 2016, dir. by Tom Harper, script by Andrew Davies, starring Paul Dano, Lily James, James Norton, Aneurin Barnard,  Jessie Buckley  
  • Azbuka, 1872 (revised as Novaia azbuka i russkie knigi dlia chleniia, 1875)
  • 'Kavkazski Plennik', 1872
    - A Prisoner in the Caucasus (tr. Angus Roxburgh, 1983)
    - Vangittu kaukasialainen (suom. Olga, 1887) / Kaukasian vanki (suom. Oskar Helenius, 1904; Eila Salminen, in Tolstoin tarinoita, 1979) / Vankina Kaukasiassa (suom. V.K. Trast, 1911; Juho Tervonen, 1911; Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset II, 1963)
    - film: Kavkazskiy plennik, 1996, dir. by Sergei Bodrov, starring Oleg Menshikov and Sergei Bodrov Jr.
  • Anna Karenina, 1875-77
    - Anna Karenin (tr. Constance Garnett, 1911) / Anna Karenine (tr. A.C. Townsend, 1940) / Anna Karenina (tr.  Nathan Haskell Dole, 1886;  Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1918; Rosemary Edmonds, 1954; Joel Carmichael, 1960; David Magarshack, 1961;  Margaret Wettlin, 1978; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 2000; Rosamund Bartlett, 2014)
    - Anna Karenina (suom. Eino Kalima, 1910-1911; Ulla-Liisa Heino, 1961; Lea Pyykkö, 1979)
    - several film adaptations: Anna Karenina, 1911, dir, by Maurice Maître, starring M. Sorochtina; Anna Karénine, 1912, dir. by Albert Capellani; Anna Karenina, 1914, dir. by Vladimir Gardin, starring Mariya Germanova; Anna Karenina, 1915, dir. by J. Roy Edwards, starring Betty Nansen; Anna Karenine, 1917, dir. Ugo Falena; Anna Karenina, 1918, dir. by Márton Garas, starring Irén Varsányi; Anna Karenina, 1919, dir. by Frederic Zelnik; Love, 1927, dir. by Edmund Goulding, starring Greta Garbo and John Gilbert; Anna Karenina, 1935, dir. by Clarence Brown, with Greta Garbo, Fredric March, and Basil Rathbone; Anna Karenina, 1948, screenplay Jean Anouilh, Julien Duvivier, Guy Morgan, dir. by Julien Duvivier (with Vivien Leigh, Ralph Richardson, Kieron Moore); Anna Karenina, 1953, dir. by Tatyana Lukashevich, starring Alla Tarasova; Amor prohibido, 1958, dir. by Luis César Amadori & Ernesto Arancibia; Anna Karenina, 1967, dir. by Aleksandr Zarkhi, starring Tatyana Samojlova; Anna Karenina, TV mini-series 1974, dir. Sandro Bolchi, starring Lea Massari, Pino Colizzi and Mario Valgoi; La passion d'Anna Karénine, TV film 1975, dir. Yves-André Hubert; Anna Karenina, 1976, dir. by Margarita Pilikhina, starring Maya Plisetskaya with the Bolshoi Ballet; Anna Karenina, 1997, dir. by Bernard Rose, starring Sophie Marceau; Anna Karenina, TV mini-series 2000, dir. David Blair starring Helen McCrory, Kevin McKidd and Douglas Henshall Anna Karenina, 2012, screenplay by Tom Stoppard, dir. Joe Wright, starring Keira Knightley, Jude Law and Aaron Johnson  
  • Ispoved, 1879-81
    - My Confession and The Spirit of Christ’s Teaching (tr. 1887) / A Confession (tr. Aylmer Maude; Peter Heinegg, 1981; Jane Kentish, 1987) / Confession (tr. David Patterson, 1983)
    - Tunnustus (suom. K. W. Järnefelt, 1906) / Tunnustuksia (suom. 2011)
  • Issledovaniye dogmaticheskogo bogosloviya, 1881 (written)
  • V chyom moya vera?, 1884 (printed but banned, pub. Geneva, n.d.)  
    - My Religion (tr. 1885) / What I Believe (tr. Constantine Popoff, 1885; Aylmer Maude, 1921)
    - Mikä on uskoni (suom. K. W. Järnefelt, 1907)
  • 'Chem liudi zhivy', 1885
    - What People Live By (tr. Aline Delano, 1886) / What Men Live By, and Other Tales (tr. L. and A. Maude, 1918)
    - Millä ihmiset elävät (suom. Olga, 1887) / Mistä ihmiset elävät ynnä muita kertomuksia (suom. Toini Kalima, 1926; Eila Salminen, Tolstoin tarinoita, 1979)
  • Mnogo li cheloveku zemli nuzhno, 1886
    - How Much Land Does a Man Need? (tr. Ronald Wilks, 1993)
    - Paljonko ihminen tarvitsee maata? (suom. Eila Salminen, Tolstoin tarinoita, 1979)
  • Tak chto zhe nam delat'?, 1886
    - What To Do? Thoughts Evoked by the Census of Moscow (tr. Isabel F. Hapgood, 1887) / What Then Must We Do? (tr. 1887) / What Shall We Do Then? (tr. Leo Wiener, 1904)
    - Mitä meidän siis on tekeminen? (suom. K. W. Järnefelt, 1908)
  • Pervyi vinokur; ili, kak chertenok Kraiushku zasluzhil, 1886
    - The First Distiller (tr. 1903; Louise and Aylmer Maude, in The Centenary Edition of Tolstoy, 1928-37, Vol. 17)
  • 'Smert' Ivana Il'icha', 1886
    - Iván Ilyitch, and Other Stories (tr. 1887) / The Death of Ivan Ilyich (tr. 1888; Rosemary Edmonds, 1960; Ann Pasternak Slater, 2003) / The Death of Ivan Ilych, and Other Stories (with an afterword by David Magarshack, 1960) / The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Devil (translated by Hugh Aplin, 2011)
    - Kuolema (suom. Ilmari Calamnius, 1905) / Ivan Iljitšin kuolema (suomentanut Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset II, 1963; Eero Balk, 2001)
    - films: Prostaya smert, 1985, dir. Aleksandr Kaydanovskiy, starring Valeri Priyomykhov, Alisa Freyndlikh and Vytautas Paukste; Ivansxtc, 2002, dir. by Bernard Rose, starring Danny Huston, Peter Weller, James Merendino, Lisa Enos, Adam Krentzman
  • Vlast't'my, 1886 (play, prod. in France, 1888)
    - The Power of Darkness (tr. G.R. Noyes and George Z. Patrick, 1903; Louise and Aylmer Maude,  in The Centenary Edition of Tolstoy, 1928-37, Vol. 17) 
    - Pimeyden valta (suom. Martti Wuori, 1912)
  • O zhizni, 1888 (printed but banned, pub. Geneva, 1891)
    - Life (tr. Isabel F. Hapgood, 1888) / On Life (tr. Mabel and Agnes Cook, 1902)
  • 'Kreitserova sonata', 1890
    - The Kreutzer Sonata (tr. Benjamin R. Tucker, in The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories, 1889; H. Sutherland Edwards, 1890; Louise and Aylmer Maude, in Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy, intro. John Bayley, 1967; revised translation by Isai Kamen, introduction by Doris Lessing, 2003)
    - Kreuzer-sonaatti (suom. V. Elomaa, 1919 / Kreutzersonaatti (suom. Valto Kallama, 1946) / Kreutzer-sonaatti (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset II, 1963; Eero Balk, 2011)
    - several films: Kreitzerova sonata, 1911, dir. by Pyotr Chardynin;  Kreitzerova sonata, 1914, dir. by Vladimir Gardin; La Sonata a Kreutzer, 1920, dir. by Umberto Fracchia; Die Kreutzersonate, 1922, dir. by Rolf Petersen; Kreutzerova sonáta, 1927, dir. by Gustav Machatý; Die Kreutzersonate, 1937, dir. by Veit Harlan, starring Lil Dagover; Amanti senza Amore, dir. by Gianni Franciolini, starring Clara Calamai, Roldano Lupi, Mary Melwin, 1947; dir. by Mario Soffici; La Sonate à Kreutzer, 1956 (short), dir. Eric Rohmer, starring Jean-Claude Brialy, Françoise Martinelli and Eric Rohmer; Locura pasional, 1956, dir. by Tulio Demicheli; La sonata a Kreutzer, TV film 1985, dir. Gabriella Rosaleva; Kreutzer szonáta, TV film 1987, dir. Éva Zsurzs; Kreytserova sonata, 1987, dir. by Sofiya Milkina & Mikhail Shvejtser; The Kreutzer Sonata, 2008, dir. by Bernard Rose, starring Danny Huston, Elisabeth Röhm and Matthew Yang King 
  • 'Plody prosveshcheniia', 1891 (comedy)
    - The Fruits of Culture (tr. George Schumm, 1891; Louise and Aylmer Maude, 1919) / The Fruits of Enlightenment (tr. E.J. Dillon, 1891; Michael Frayne, 1979)
  • Soedinenie i perevod chetyrekh Evangelii, 1891-94 
    - The Four Gospels Harmonised and Translated by Leo Tolstoy; in Three Parts (tr. 1895-1896) / The Gospel in Brief (tr. 1896)
    - Kristuksen opin henki: lyhyt selitys evankeliumin tarkoituksesta (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1894) /  Evankeliumi (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1902)
  • Tsarstvo bozhiye vnutri vas, 1894 (pub. Berlin)
    - "The Kingdom of God Is Within You," Christianity Not as a Mystic Religion but as a New Theory of Life (tr. 1894) / The Kingdom of God Is Within you; or, Christianity Not as a Mystical Teaching but as a New Concept of Life (translated from the Russian by Leo Wiener, introd. by Kenneth Rexroth, 1961)
  • Khristianstvo i patriotizm, 1894
    - Christianity and Patriotism (translated by Leo Wiener, in Essays, Letters, Miscellanies, Vol. I, 1911)
    - Kristinusko ja patriotismi (suom. Esa Adrian, teoksessa Omantunnon kujanjuoksu, 1981; Omatuntoja: kirjoituksia rauhasta ja kansalaistottelemattomuudesta, 2013)
  • 'Khoziain i rabotnik', 1895
    - Master & Man, A Story (tr. S. Rapoport & John C. Kenworthy, 1895) / Master and Man (Hettie E.Miller, 1895; Paul Foote, 1977)
    - Isäntä ja työmies (Martti Humu, 1895) / Isäntä ja renki (suom. Martti Wuori, 1895; J. Hollo, 1921; Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset III, 1963; Eila Salminen, Tolstoin tarinoita, 1979)
  • Kratkoe izlozhenie Evangeliia, 1896
  • Patriotizm ili mir?, 1896
    - Patriotism, or Peace? (tr. 1896)
    - Patriotismi vai rauha? (teoksessa Omantunnon kujanjuoksu, suom. Esa Adrian, 1981; Omatuntoja, 2013) 
  • Kristianskoe uchenie, 1898
    - The Christian Teaching (tr. Vladimir Tchertkoff, 1898)
  • Chto takoe iskusstvo?, 1898
    - What is Art? (tr. Charles Johnston, 1898; Aylmer Maude, 1899; Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, 1995)
    - Mitä on taide? (suom. Jalmari A., 1898; Martti Anhava, 2000)
  • Voskreseniye, 1899
    - Awakening (tr. William E. Smith, 1900) / Resurrection (tr. Louise Maude, 1899; Vera Traill, 1899; Henry Britoff, 1900; Aline P. Delano, 1911; Archibald John Wolfe, 1920; Leo Wiener, revised and edited by F.D. Reeve, 1963; Rosemary Edmonds, 1966)
    - Ylösnousemus (suom.  Arvid Järnefelt, 1899-1900; Jalmari Aalberg, 1899-1900; Juho Tervonen, 1926; Lea Pyykkö, 1976, 4. p. 1992)
    - films: Resurrezione, 1917, dir. by Mario Caserini; Resurrection, 1918, dir. by Edward José, starring Pauline Fredrick and Robert Elliot; Résurrection, 1923, dir. by Marcel L'Herbier; Resurrection, 1927, dir. by Edwin Carewe, starring Dolores del Rio and Rod La Rocque; Resurrección, 1931, dir. by Eduardo Arozamena & David Selman, starring Lupe Velez; Reseurrection, 1931, dir. by Edwin Carewe, starring Lupe Velez and John Boles; We Live Again, 1934, dir. by Rouben Mamoulian, starring Anna Sten and Fredric March; Aien kyo, 1937, dir. by Kenji Mizoguchi; Duniya Kya Hai, 1938, dir. by G.P. Pawar;  Resurrección, 1943, dir. by Gilberto Martínez Solares; Resurrezione, 1944, dir. by Flavio Calzavara; Auferstehung, 1958, dir. by Rolf Hansen, starring Horst Buchholz and Myriam Bru and Edith Mill; Resurrezione, TV film 2001, dir. Paolo Taviani, Vittorio Taviani, starring Stefania Rocca, Timothy Peach and Marie Bäumer 
  • Rabstvo nashego vremeni, 1900
    - The Slavery of Our Times (tr. Aylmer Maude, 1900)
  • Zhivoi trup, 1900 (play, prod. 1911)  
    - The Living Corpse, A Drama in Six Acts and Twelve Tableaux (tr. E.M. Evarts, 1912; Anna Monossowitch Evarts, 1919) / The Man Who Was Dead (The Living Corpse), The Cause of It All; Dramas (edited by Dr. Hagberg Wright, 1912) / The Live Corpse (tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude, in The Centenary Edition of Tolstoy, 1928-37, Vol. 17)
    - Elävä ruumis (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, Leo Tolstoin jälkeenjättämät kaunokirjalliset teokset. 1, 1911)
  • Patriotism and Government, 1900 (tr. Aylmer Maude)
    - Patriotismi ja hallitus (suom. 1907)
  • I svet vo tme svetit, 1902 (play, unfinished, prod. 1918)
    -  The Light That Shines in Darkness: A Drama (ed. Charles Theodore Hagberg, 1912)
  • Essays and Letters, 1903 (tr. Aylmer Maude)
  • Krug chtenia, 1903-1910
    - The Pathway of Life (tr. Archbald J. Wolfe, 1919) / A Calendar of Wisdom: Daily Thoughts to Nourish the Soul, Written and Selected from the World's Sacred Texts (ed. Peter Sekirin, 1997) / Path of Life (tr. Maureen Cole, 2001) / Wise Thoughts for Every Day: On God, Love, the Human Spirit, and Living a Good Life (selected and translated by Peter Sekirin, 2005)
    - Joka päiväksi: elämän oppi, eri maiden ja aikain kirjailijoilta lainattujen ajatusten mukaan (suom. 1910-1916) 
  • Tolstoy on Shakespeare: A Critical Essay on Shakespeare, 1906 (tr. V. Tchertkoff and I. F. M., a letter from G. Bernard Shaw)
  • Ne mogu molchat'!, 1908
    - I Cannot Be Silent (ed. W. Gareth Jones, 1989)
    - En voi vaieta! (suom. 1908)
  • Kalendar' grafa L.N. Tolstogo na kazhdyi den' goda, 1909  
  • 'Posle bala', 1911
    - After the Ball (tr. 1903) / After the Dance (tr. Charles Theodore Hagberg Wright, in The Forged Coupon, and Other Stories and Dramas, 1911)
    - Tanssiaisten jälkeen (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset III, 1963)
  • 'D'iavol', 1911
    - The Devil (tr. Aylmer Maude, 1926; April Fitz Lyon, 1953) / The Death of Ivan Ilyich and The Devil (translated by Hugh Aplin, 2011)
    - Paholainen (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, Leo Tolstoin jälkeenjättämät kaunokirjalliset teokset. 1, 1911) / Saatana (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset II, 1963)
  • 'Otets Sergei', 1911
    - Father Sergius (in Father Sergius, and Other Stories and Plays, ed. Dr. Hagberg Wright, 1911)
    - Isä Sergius (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset III, 1963)
  • 'Fal'shivyi kupon', 1911
    - The Forged Coupon, and Other Stories and Dramas (tr. Charles Theodore Hagberg Wright, 1911)
    - Väärä kuponki (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, Leo Tolstoin jälkeenjättämät kaunokirjalliset teokset. 1, 1911) / Väärennetty korkolippu (suom. Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset III, 1963)
  • 'Khadzhi-Murat', 1912
    - Hadji Mur'ad (tr. Aylmer Maude, 1912) / Hadji Murat: A Tale of the Caucasus (tr. W.G. Carey, 1962) / Hadji Murat (tr.  Hugh Aplin, foreword by Colm Tóibín, 2003) / Hadji Murád (tr. Kyril Zinovieff and Jenny Hughes, 2011)
    - Hadshi-Murat (suom. Arvid Järnefelt, 1912) / Hadži Murat (suom. Matti Lehmonen, 1946; Juhani Konkka, Valitut kertomukset III, 1963; Eero Balk, 2001)
    - films: Der Weiße Teufel, dir. by Alexandre Volkoff, starring Ivan Mozzhukhin and Lil Dagover; Agi Murad il diavolo bianco, 1959, dir. by Riccardo Freda, starring Steve Reeves; Khadzhi Murat, 1989, dir. by Tengiz Abuladze; Kahdzhi Murat, 1996, dir. by Giorgi Shengelaya
  • The Centenary Edition of Tolstoy, 1928-37 (21 vols., tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude)
  • Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 1928-58 (90 vols.)
  • Dnevniki i zapisnye knizhki 1910 goda, 1935
    - Last Diaries (translated by Lydia Weston-Kesich; edited and with an introd. by Leon Stilman, 1979)
  • Rasskazy i skazki, 1951
    - Fables and Fairy Tales (a new translation by Ann Dunnigan, illustrated by Sheila Greenwald, 1962) / Twenty-Two Russian Tales for Young Children (selected translated, and with an afterword by Miriam Morton, 1969)
    - Tolstoin tarinoita (suom. Eila Salminen, 1979)
  • Recollections and Essays, 1961 (tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude)
  • Leo Tolstoy: Short Stories, 1964 (2 vols., tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude et al.)
  • Sobranie sochinenii, 1960-65 (20 vols.)
  • Short Novels, 1965 (2 vols., tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude et al.)
  • Great Short Works of Leo Tolstoy, 1967 (introduction by John Bayley, tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude et al.)
  • The Complete Works of Count Tolstoy, 1968 (24 v ols., translated from the original Russian and edited by Leo Wiener)
  • Why Do Men Stupefy Themselves? and Other Writings, 1975 (translated by Aylmer Maude, edited by Meredith Murray et al.)
  • Master and Man and Other Stories, 1977 (tr. Paul Foote)
  • The Portable Tolstoy, 1978 (ed. John Bayley, tr. Aylmer Maude and George L. Kline)
  • Novaia azbuka, 1978
    - Stories for My Children (translated by James Riordan, 1988)
  • Tolstoy's Letters, 1978 (2 vols., ed. and tr. R.F. Christian)
  • The Raid and Other Stories, 1982 (tr. Louise and Aylmer Maude)
  • Tolstoy on Education, 1982 (ed. Alan Pinch and Michael Armstrong)
  • A Prisoner in the Caucasus and Other Stories, 1983 (tr. Yu. Zelenkov)
  • Pervaja zaversennaja redakcija romana `Vojna i mir`, 1983 (ed. E.E. Zaidenshnur)
    - War and Peace: Original Version (tr. Andrew Bromfield, 2007)
    - Sota ja rauha: ensimmäinen versio (suom Eero Balk, 2005)
  • The Kreutzer Sonata and Other Stories, 1985 (tr. David McDuff)
  • Tolstoy's Diaries, 1985 (ed. and tr. R.F. Christian)
  • The Lion and the Honeycomb, 1987 (tr. Robert Chandler)
  • Father Sergius and Other Stories, 1988
  • Writings on Civil Disobedience and Non Violence, 1988 (tr. Aylmer Maude and Ronald Simpson)
  • Dnevnik molodosti L.N. Tolstogo, 1988
  • The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Other Stories, 1989 (tr. Rosemary Edmonds)
  • Tolstoy's Short Fiction: Revised Translations, Background and Sources; Criticism, 1991 (ed. Michael R. Katz)
  • The Gospel According to Tolstoy, 1992 (ed. and tr. David Patterson)
  • How Much Land Does a Man Need? and Other Stories, 1993 (tr. Ronald Wilks)
  • Put' zhizni, 1993 (edited by A.A. Nikoliukina)
  • The Journal of Leo Tolstoi: First Volume--1895-1899, 1993 (translated by Rose Strunsky)
  • Neizvestnyi Tolstoi v arkhivakh Rossii i SShA: rukopisi, pis'ma, vospominaniia, nabliudeniia, versii: so 108 fotografiiami, 1994 (edited by I. Borisova)
  • Tolstoy: Plays, 1994-96 (2 vols., tr. Marvin Kantor with Tanya Tulchinsky)
  • Lev Tolstoi i russkie tsari: pis'ma tsariam, publitsistika, povest', rasskaz, skazki, 1995 (edited by N. Popova and I. Popov)
  • L.N. Tolstoi i P.V. Verigin: perepiska, 1995 (edited by. A.A. Donskov)
    - Leo Tolstoy--Peter Verigin: Correspondence translated by John Woodsworth, 1995)
  • L.N. Tolstoi i M.P. Novikov: perepiska, 1996 (edited by A.A. Donskov)
  • L.N. Tolstoi i T.M. Bondarev: perepiska, 1996 (edited by A.A. Donskov)
  • L.N. Tolstoi i S.A. Tolstaia: perepiska s N.N. Strakhovym  = The Tolstoys’ Correspondence with N.N. Strakhov, 2000 (edited by A.A. Donskov)
  • Divine and Human and Other Stories, 2000 (new translations by Peter Sekirin)
  • Pora poniat': izbrannye publitsisticheskie stat'i, 2005 (2nd ed., edited by V. IA. Linkova)
  • Leo Tolstoy and Russian Peasant Sectarian Writers: Selected Correspondence, 2008 (edited by Andrew Donskov; translated by John Woodsworth)
  • Chem liudi zhivy: narodnye rasskazy, 2010 (illustrated by Borisa Diodorova)
  • Perepiska, (1857-1903), 2011 (edited by N.I. Azarova, et al.)
  • (Ne)zapreshchennoe tsenzuroĭ: o Boge, religii i serkvi, 2019 (Abramiaan, G.S., sostavlenie, vstupitelʹnaia statʹia, posleslovie i kommentarii)
  • On Life : A Critical Edition, 2019 (edited by Inessa Medzhibovskaya; translated from the Russian by Michael Denner and Inessa Medzhibovskaya)
  • Tolstoy as Philosopher: Essential Short Writings (1835-1910): An Anthology, 2022 (edited, translated and introduced by Inessa Medzhibovskaya)

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