Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy is one of the most famous and great writers in the world. During his lifetime, he was recognized as a classic of Russian literature, his work paved the bridge between the course of two centuries.
Tolstoy proved himself not just as a writer, he was an educator and a humanist, thought about religion, took a direct part in the defense of Sevastopol. The writer's legacy is so great, and his life itself is so ambiguous that they continue to study and try to understand him.
Tolstoy himself was a complex person, as evidenced by at least his family relationship. Many books have been written about the writer, but we will try to debunk at least the most popular myths about him.
Flight of Tolstoy. It is a well-known fact that 10 days before his death, Tolstoy ran away from his home in Yasnaya Polyana. There are several versions about why the writer did this. Immediately they began to say that the already elderly man tried to commit suicide. The communists developed the theory that Tolstoy expressed his protest against the tsarist regime in this way. In fact, the reasons for the writer's flight from his native and beloved home were quite common. Three months before that, he wrote a secret will, according to which he transferred all copyright to his work not to his wife, Sofya Andreevna, but to his daughter Alexandra and his friend Chertkov. But the secret became clear - the wife learned about everything from the stolen diary. A scandal immediately erupted, and the life of Tolstoy himself became a real hell. His wife's tantrums prompted the writer to act, which he conceived 25 years ago - to escape. During these difficult days, Tolstoy wrote in his diary that he could no longer tolerate this and hated his wife. Sofya Andreevna herself, having learned about Lev Nikolaevich's flight, became even more enraged - she ran to drown herself in the pond, beat herself in the chest with thick objects, tried to run somewhere and threatened to never let Tolstoy go anywhere.
Tolstoy had a very angry wife. From the previous myth, it becomes clear to many that only his evil and eccentric wife is to blame for the death of a genius. In fact, Tolstoy's family life was so complex that numerous studies are still trying to figure it out today. And the wife herself felt unhappy in her. One of the chapters of her autobiography is called The Martyr and Martyr. Little was generally known about Sofya Andreevna's talents; she completely found herself in the shadow of her powerful husband. But the recent publication of her stories has made it possible to understand the depth of her sacrifice. And Natasha Rostova from War and Peace came to Tolstoy straight from the youthful manuscript of his wife. In addition, Sofya Andreevna received an excellent education, she knew a couple of foreign languages and even translated her husband's complex works herself. The energetic woman still managed to manage the entire household, the bookkeeping of the estate, as well as sheathe and tie the entire large family. Despite all the hardships, Tolstoy's wife understood that she was living with a genius. After his death, she noted that for almost half a century of living together, she could not understand what kind of person he was.
Tolstoy was excommunicated and anathematized. Indeed, in 1910 Tolstoy was buried without a funeral service, which gave rise to the myth of excommunication. But in the memorable act of the Synod of 1901, the word "excommunication" is absent in principle. Officials from the church wrote that, with his views and false teachings, the writer had long ago placed himself outside the church and was no longer perceived by it as a member. But society understood the complex bureaucratic document with an ornate language in its own way - everyone decided that it was the church that had abandoned Tolstoy. And this story with the definition of the Synod was actually a political order. This is how the chief prosecutor Pobedonostsev took revenge on the writer for his image of a man-machine in Resurrection.
Leo Tolstoy founded the Tolstoy movement. The writer himself was very cautious, and sometimes even with disgust, treated the numerous associations of his followers and admirers. Even after escaping from Yasnaya Polyana, the Tolstoy community was not the place where Tolstoy wanted to find shelter.
Tolstoy was a teetotaler. As you know, in adulthood, the writer gave up alcohol. But he did not understand the creation of sobriety societies throughout the country. Why do people get together if they are not going to drink? After all, big companies mean drinking.
Tolstoy fanatically adhered to his own principles. Ivan Bunin, in his book about Tolstoy, wrote that the genius himself was sometimes very cool towards the provisions of his own teaching. Once the writer with his family and a close family friend Vladimir Chertkov (he was also the main follower of Tolstoy's ideas) were eating on the terrace. It was a hot summer, mosquitoes flew everywhere. One particularly annoying one sat on Chertkov's bald head, where the writer killed him with his palm. Everyone laughed, and only the offended victim noted that Lev Nikolaevich took the life of a living being, shaming him.
Tolstoy was a great womanizer. The writer's sexual adventures are known from his own notes. Tolstoy said that in his youth he led a very bad life. But most of all he is confused by two events since then. The first is a relationship with a peasant woman even before marriage, and the second is a crime with his aunt's maid. Tolstoy seduced an innocent girl, who was then driven out of the yard. That same peasant woman was Aksinya Bazykina. Tolstoy wrote that he loved her as never before in his life. Two years before his marriage, the writer had a son, Timofey, who over the years became a huge man, like his father. In Yasnaya Polyana, everyone knew about the master's illegitimate son, about the fact that he was a drunkard, and about his mother. Sofya Andreevna even went to look at her husband's former passion, not finding anything interesting in her. And Tolstoy's intimate plots are part of his diaries of young years. He wrote about the sensuality tormenting him, about the desire for women. But something like that was commonplace for Russian noblemen of that time. And remorse for past ties never tormented them. For Sofya Andreevna, the physical aspect of love was not at all important, unlike her husband. But she managed to give birth to 13 children to Tolstoy, having lost five. Lev Nikolaevich was her first and only man. And he was faithful to her throughout the 48 years of their marriage.
Tolstoy preached asceticism. This myth appeared thanks to the writer's thesis that a person needs little to live. But Tolstoy himself was not an ascetic - he simply welcomed a sense of proportion. Lev Nikolayevich himself completely enjoyed life, he simply saw joy and light in simple and accessible things.
Tolstoy was an opponent of medicine and science. The writer was not an obscurantist at all. On the contrary, he spoke about the inevitability of progress. At home, Tolstoy had a din from their first Edison phonograph, an electric pencil. And the writer rejoiced, like a child, such scientific achievements. Tolstoy was a very civilized person, realizing that humanity pays for progress in hundreds of thousands of lives. And this development, associated with violence and blood, the writer did not accept in principle. Tolstoy was not cruel to human weaknesses, he was outraged that the vices were justified by the doctors themselves.
Tolstoy hated art. Tolstoy knew about art, he just used his criteria to evaluate it. And didn't he have the right to do so? It is difficult to disagree with the writer that an ordinary man is unlikely to understand Beethoven's symphonies. For untrained listeners, a lot of classical music sounds like torture. But there is also such an art that is perceived excellent by both ordinary villagers and sophisticated gourmets.
Tolstoy was driven by pride. They say that it was this inner quality that manifested itself in the philosophy of the author, and even in everyday life. But is the relentless search for truth really worth considering as pride? Many people believe that it is much easier to adhere to some teaching and serve it already. But Tolstoy could not change himself. And in everyday life, the writer was very attentive - he taught his children mathematics, astronomy, conducted physical education classes. Little Tolstoy took children to the Samara province, so that they got to know and love nature better. It's just that in the second half of his life, the genius was preoccupied with a lot of things. This is creativity, philosophy, work with letters. So Tolstoy could not give himself, as before, to his family. But it was a conflict between creativity and family, and not a manifestation of pride.
Because of Tolstoy, a revolution took place in Russia. This statement appeared thanks to Lenin's article "Leo Tolstoy, as a mirror of the Russian revolution." In fact, one person, be it Tolstoy or Lenin, simply cannot be guilty of the revolution. There were many reasons - the behavior of the intelligentsia, the church, the tsar and the court, the nobility. It was all of them who gave the old Russia to the Bolsheviks, including Tolstoy. They listened to his opinion as a thinker. But he denied both the state and the army. True, he just spoke out against the revolution. In general, the writer did a lot to soften morals, urging people to be kinder, to serve Christian values.
Tolstoy was an unbeliever, denied faith and taught this to others. The statements that Tolstoy turned people away from the faith irritated and offended him very much. On the contrary, he declared that the main thing in his works is the understanding that there is no life without faith in God. Tolstoy did not accept the form of faith that the church imposed. And there are many people who believe in God, but do not accept modern religious institutions. For them, Tolstoy's quest is understood and not at all terrible. Many people generally come to church after immersed in the writer's thoughts. This was especially often observed in Soviet times. And before the Tolstoyans turned towards the church.
Tolstoy constantly lectured everyone. Thanks to this ingrained myth, Tolstoy appears as a self-confident preacher, telling who and how to live. But when studying the writer's diaries, it becomes clear that he has dealt with himself all his life. So where was he to teach others? Tolstoy expressed his thoughts, but never imposed them on anyone. It is another matter that a community of followers, Tolstoyans, had formed around the writer, who tried to make the views of their leader absolute. But for the genius himself, his ideas were not fixed. He considered the presence of God to be absolute, and everything else was the result of trials, torments, searches.
Tolstoy was a fanatical vegetarian. At a certain point in his life, the writer completely abandoned meat and fish, not wanting to eat the disfigured corpses of living beings. But his wife, taking care of him, added meat broth to him. Seeing this, Tolstoy did not get angry, but only joked that he was ready to drink meat broth every day, if only his wife would not lie to him. Other people's beliefs, including in the choice of food, were above all for the writer. They always had those at home who ate meat, the same Sofya Andreevna. But terrible quarrels over this did not happen.
To understand Tolstoy, it is enough to read his works and not study his personality. This myth interferes with a true reading of Tolstoy's works. Not understanding what he lived, not understanding his work. There are writers who all speak with their texts. And Tolstoy can only be understood if you know his worldview, his personal traits, relations with the state, church, and loved ones. Tolstoy's life is a gripping novel in itself, which sometimes spilled over into paper form. An example of this is War and Peace, Anna Karenina. On the other hand, the writer's work also influenced his life, including his family. So there is no escape from studying Tolstoy's personality and interesting aspects of his biography.
Tolstoy's novels cannot be studied at school - they are simply incomprehensible to high school students. It is generally difficult for modern schoolchildren to read long works, and War and Peace is, moreover, filled with historical digressions. Give our high school students abbreviated versions of novels adapted for their intellect. It is difficult to say whether this is good or bad, but in any case they will at least get an idea of Tolstoy's work. To think that it is better to read Tolstoy after school is dangerous. After all, if you do not start reading it at that age, then then the children will not want to dive into the writer's work. So the school works proactively, knowingly giving more complex and clever things than the child's intellect can perceive. Perhaps then there will be a desire to return to this and understand it to the end. And without studying at school such a "temptation" will not appear for sure.
Tolstoy's pedagogy has lost its relevance. Tolstoy the teacher is controversial. His teaching ideas were perceived as fun for the master, who decided to teach children according to his original method. In fact, a child's spiritual development directly affects his intellect. The soul develops the mind, and not vice versa. And Tolstoy's pedagogy also works in modern conditions. This is evidenced by the results of an experiment, during which 90% of children achieved excellent results. Children learn to read according to "Tolstoy's ABC", which is built on many parables with their secrets and archetypes of behavior that reveal the nature of man. Gradually the program becomes more complicated. A harmonious person with a strong moral principle emerges from the school walls. And according to this method, about a hundred schools are engaged in Russia today.