Leo Tolstoy

Leo Tolstoy was born an aristocrat on September 9, 1828 and died November 20, 1910. He was a novelist, philosopher, Christian anarchist, pacifist and vegetarian. He wrote two acclaimed novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina. Tolstoy was inspired by Christís Sermon on the Mount and the phrase of "turning the other cheek," as a justification for pacifism, nonviolence, and nonresistance to evil. He corresponded with Gandhi while the latter was in South Africa. He condemned the Russo-Japanese War in 1904. His ideas on nonviolent resistance inspired Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Tolstoy had 13 children with his wife Sofia Bers, whom he married in 1862. He died of pneumonia at age 82, only days after he decided to abandon his family and wealth to become a wandering ascetic, a path he agonized over pursuing for decades. He left home without any specific destination and died at a railroad stationmasterís house at Astapovo.

I am indebted to the Columbia Encyclopedia, sixth edition, as featured on the site: http://www.bartleby.com/65/to/Tolstoy.html for the writing of this biography.

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