When he arrived in Moscow in 1851, a young Leo Tolstoy set himself three immediate aims: to gamble, to marry and to obtain a post. At that time he managed only the first. The writer’s momentous life would be full of forced breaks and abrupt departures, from the death of his beloved parents to an abandonment of the social class into which he had been born. The book pieces together Tolstoy’s life, offering an account of the novelist’s deepest feelings and motives, and an interpretation of his major works, including the celebrated novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina.
Andrei Zorin is professor and chair of Russian at the University of Oxford. He is the author or co-author of several books on Russian literature and culture, including On The Periphery of Europe 1762–1825: The Self-Invention of the Russian Elite.
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