War and Peace
- "Pierre was right when he said that one must believe in the possibility of happiness in order to be happy, and I now believe in it. Let the dead bury the dead, but while I'm alive, I must live and be happy."
- "All the girls in the world were divided into two classes: one class included all the girls in the world except her, and they had all the usual human feelings and were very ordinary girls; while the other class—herself alone—had no weaknesses and was superior to all humanity."
If nothing else, Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy could churn out a lot of words; it helps that his two longest novels, 'War and Peace' (1869) and 'Anna Karenina' (1877), are also masterful … considered two of the greatest works in all civilization. Which is not to say his other five novels, five novellas, six plays, dozens of short stories, and pieces on philosophy and pedagogy are not also good … and lengthy.
Leo was born on the family estate in Tula province of Tsarist Russia in September 1828. When his mother died, his aunt assumed caring for the four boys. When his father – Count Nikolay – died seven years later, the brothers became wards of first that aunt, and when she died another. Despite all this death, young Tolstoy seems to have been fairly well-adjusted. However, he did managed to fail both as a student, and then as manager of the estate. So Leo joined the army.
As a soldier, Tolstoy had lots of time (among other things) to kill and so began writing an autobiographical story. In 1852 when he submitted it to the magazine 'The Contemporary,' it was eagerly accepted and published. Thus he found his true calling; even in the midst of the Crimean War, Tolstoy wrote … and wrote, and wrote. Despite a marriage, anarchist leanings, and a spiritual revelation, he kept writing.
When Leo’s new beliefs prompted him to begin giving away all his money and property, his wife strongly objected. This led to Tolstoy granting her the copyrights – and presumably the royalties as well – of all his written works that predated 1881. Although he continued to write, he never again enjoyed such success as these earlier works. Tolstoy died at the age of 82.