Author Notes

Count Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was born on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana in the Tula province. He studied Oriental languages and law at the University of Kazan but left before completing a degree. In 1851 he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus. He took part in the Crimean War and after the defense of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855), which established his literary reputation. After leaving the army in 1856 he spent time in St. Petersburg and abroad before settling at Yasnaya Polyana, where he involved himself in the running of peasant schools and the emancipation of the serfs. In 1862 he married Sofya Andreevna Behrs; they had thirteen children. Tolstoy wrote two great novels, War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), as well as many short stories and essays.