10 facts about Leo Tolstoy that will not be told in literature lessons
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Leo Tolstoy is a recognized classic of world literature, who is known and loved in dozens of countries. During his life, the writer created about 170 works. Many books and scientific papers are devoted to his unusual and eventful life. Tolstoy's biography has been studied inside and out, but the school curriculum hides something from us. Here are interesting and not always attractive facts that even literature teachers will be taken aback by.
Incredibly, the two main literary geniuses of Russia were connected by family ties! Leo Tolstoy and Alexander Pushkin have a common ancestor - Admiral Ivan Mikhailovich Golovin. The naval commander, who lived in the 18th century, was one of the closest associates of Peter I. Pushkin's great-grandmother and Tolstoy's mother's great-grandmother were sisters, and Lev Nikolaevich was Alexander Sergeevich's fourth cousin.
In childhood and adolescence, Leo Tolstoy did not feel any craving for study. His first mentor, teacher Mikhail Poplonsky, claimed that Tolstoy not only did not want to study, but could not. Entering the university in Kazan, the future classic received two units - in history and statistics. By the way, even in the Russian language he was not brilliant — the writer knew this subject for a B.
Tolstoy had to retake several subjects in order to be accepted to the eastern department of the university. The student from Lev Nikolaevich was also worthless. The count failed the transitional exams after the first year and was forced to transfer to a less prestigious law faculty. The teachers said that the student Tolstoy sat on the back desks and slept during lectures. At the age of 19, he dropped out of university altogether and began to pursue a military career.
In his youth, Leo Tolstoy was a gambling gambler and spent a lot of time playing. He was not always lucky and the classic often had to. One day, in order to pay off gambling debts, the writer was forced to sell part of his family estate in Yasnaya Polyana, and the most dear to his heart. The house where Tolstoy was born and spent his childhood years was sold.
During the Caucasian military campaign, officer Tolstoy twice almost became a Knight of St. George. The first time he did not receive the cross because of an annoying confusion with the documents. And the second time the count himself refused the reward, in favor of another person. Lev Nikolaevich conceded George to the "good-natured old soldier Andreyev." A simple soldier who came out of the peasants needed it more, since it guaranteed a lifetime pension.
Leo Tolstoy had very peculiar ideas about married life. The writer met his wife, Sofya Andreevna, when he was 34 years old, and she was only 18. Soon it was decided to have a wedding, but before going down the aisle, Tolstoy gave the future bride to read his diaries. In them, in addition to everyday events and thoughts, the count described in detail his love affairs.
Later, Sofya Andreevna admitted that she remembered the contents of these diaries for the rest of her life. It was because of them that the writer's wife constantly suffered from painful jealousy, which drove her to madness. Tolstoy constantly changed his attitude towards his wife, he was completely indifferent to frantic adoration. After the first married night, the writer wrote only two words in his diary: "Not her."
In adulthood, when the writer's older children were already studying at the institute, and the younger ones were still infants, Tolstoy decided to get rid of material goods and become closer to the common people. He wanted to give up royalties for his books, give away money and get rid of property, considering material goods the highest evil.
The family during this period of time, more than ever, needed money and Sofya Andreevna did not support her husband. Because of this, the couple began scandals. Tolstov's wife said of her husband: "He preaches love for all mankind, but he hates his own children." Yes, of Tolstoy's 13 offspring, five died in childhood.
In Tolstoy's life there were many crises, creative and spiritual. There was no such thing as depression in the 19th century, so the count diagnosed himself with "melancholy and indifference". One of the doctors recommended to be treated with koumiss and this therapy was very much liked by the classic. Tolstoy even bought an estate not far from the kumysolechebnitsa in order to have a fresh healing drink at his side.
In adulthood, Tolstoy began to seriously engage in his health and physical condition. Lev Nikolaevich preferred natural loads: peasant work in the field and walking. In 1886, at the age of 58, the Count made his first long hike from Moscow to Yasnaya Polyana. Around the same time, Tolstoy became a vegetarian.
Contrary to the stereotype, Leo Tolstoy never dressed like a commoner, much less walked barefoot. These myths appeared thanks to the artist Ilya Repin, who painted a portrait of a barefoot count in simple rustic clothes. Tolstoy wore peasant shirts and trousers only when he was engaged in physical work, but most of the time he looked like a real nobleman with impeccable taste. He did not approve of Repin's painting: "It is only lacking that I should be depicted without pantaloons."
It is generally believed that Leo Tolstoy had incredibly progressive views on life for his time. Maybe so, but in some ways he remained a follower of the old traditions. The writer did not recognize the right of women to engage in science and literature, expressing his point of view in a very offensive form:
The genius of literature was sure that any woman is driven, first of all, by "sexual love" and it spoils everything. Sofya Andreevna always resented such judgments of her husband — at the same time, her whole life was a refutation of his point of view. The wife copied all Tolstoy's works before sending them to publishers, because the writer had a disgusting handwriting.
Throughout the world, Tolstoy's name is associated with the novel "War and Peace", which is considered the main one in his work. Oddly enough, the author himself disliked this work and disrespectfully called it "verbose rubbish". Of course, the author was pleased that the novel became a world classic during his lifetime, but he himself was never satisfied with it.