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Old 10-22-2016, 08:13 AM   #1
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Tolstoy, Leo: A Confession. v1, 22 Oct 2016

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was a Russian writer regarded as one of the greatest authors of realist fiction.

His parents died during his infancy, and he was brought up by relatives. As a young man he drank and gambled heavily, and failed at university. In 1851 he joined the army and fought during the Crimean War, and began to write. In 1862, at age 34, he married Sophia (Sonya) Behrs, aged 18, who bore him 13 children, eight of whom survived childhood. Their early married life was happy, and she acted as his secretary, proofreader, and financial manager. In the 1870s he experienced spiritual conversion, and renounced many of his previous beliefs in favour of ascetic religious beliefs including pacifism. His marriage deteriorated, and shortly before his death at age 82 he absconded from the family home in the depths of winter, and died soon after of pneumonia.

A Confession was written in 1879-80, and was published in 1882 when Tolstoy was 54. Most of the book covers a period in which he looked back on his past life and despite having already gained acclamation and status through War and Peace and Anna Karenina considered himself a failure. Chapters 4 to 7 deal with his early preoccupation with suicide, and though he describes less distress later in the book after he became a Christian he was still troubled by what he saw as false doctrine in the Orthodox church. There is very little mention of the effect his emotional turmoil had on his wife and children.

The text is taken from Wikisource. I have silently corrected typos, curled quotes, used British English, and made changes to spelling, and hyphenation using oxforddictionaries.com.
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