León Tolstoy;writer who believed he could change the world with his novels

Who was Leo Tolstoy?

Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) Better known as Leo Tolstoy -by his name in Russian-, he was one of the most famous and recognized writers in Russia. His vision of the world was so particular that he became the inspiration for great world leaders with his philosophy of “non-violence”. His writings sought to increase understanding between individualities and not entertainment in a group.

Novels have the power to change the world. What was he writing about?

One of the most relevant characteristics of his thinking is that for him the novels fulfill the function of making the public understand the reactions and actions of the characters who are considered “negative” or “bad”.

Novels are not a source of entertainment, but of understanding. They exemplify everyday problems in order to show that all the parties involved in a story – whether they are considered good or bad – have a reality that prompts them to act as they do, and that all deserve respect and kindness.

In the characters of his novels, he always shows the duality of thought between good and evil, especially highlighting what is known as “evil”it is really influenced by the ideas of society as a collective and not by the individual analysis of each of those involved.

“If we saw the feelings of others, we would not see them as bad and we would treat them with respect and kindness”

In the photograph is Audrey Hepburn representing Natasha Rostova, one of the main characters in her novel “War and Peace” (1869). The young woman falls in love with two men at the same time and while society and her family discriminate against her, Tolstoy makes it clear that her inexperience, her kindness and her need to know love were what prompted her to seek other paths.

In each of his characters, the duality between good and evil is shown, Tolstoy wanted to show that every human being has within himself the power of decision and that no one is really bad or really good. “Everyone wants to change the world, but no one thinks about changing himself.” This is why he wanted to promote understanding and non-violence.

The philosophy of “Non-Violence” and the “Tolstoyan Movement”

“Do not do evil and it will not exist.”, “If you do not want evil to exist, do not do evil.”, “There is only one way to put an end to evil, and that is to return good for evil.” the phrases that illustrate Tolstoy’s anti-violence thinking.

The writer faithfully believed that kindness and understanding of the feelings of others was the main source of love and peace. He was a very religious person, but he did not particularly believe in the church, but he did believe in the teachings of Jesus and he dedicated his life to showing the world that it was possible to live in peace.

What is your philosophy? Act with kindness . Tolstoy did not believe in enemies or enmities, he thought that everyone deserved to be treated with kindness and that is how he lived his life.

Vegetarianism as a way of life

Goodness was not only for humans, but also for nature and animals. He was openly vegetarian and on numerous occasions he reflected it in his writings. Here are some of his phrases:

“Man can live and be healthy without having to kill animals for food. If he eats meat, he is guilty of killing animals, just to please his own palate”

“If a man aspires To live a more loving and spiritual life, your first decision should be to refrain from killing and eating animals. ”

“Eating meat is a holdover from the greatest primitivism. The move to vegetarianism is the first natural consequence of enlightenment.”

What to read from Leo Tolstoy?

It has in its history more than 90 novels, stories and letters considered literary works, but the most representative are:

War and Peace published in 1869 -his first great novel-, it has around 12,000 pages and is a compendium of the history of United Russia with a set of criticisms of aristocratic society – which was the one he knew best, since he was born into a well-off family. The novel unites the economic and political conflicts in Russia with the drama of everyday problems.

Anna Karerina (1877) It tells the story of a young married woman who falls madly in love with a young man and this decision will completely complicate her life. It is a story that tells of the emotional problems of a dissatisfied heart and the harsh criticism of aristocratic Russian society. It is his most media novel, it has numerous film adaptations.

The death of Iván Ilich (1886) A young and intelligent millionaire, suffers an accident that triggers a terminal illness. His family goes into crisis when they realize that the economic and social breadwinner in the home is dying while he, totally paralyzed by his illness, analyzes the deepest aspects of life and thought, until his time comes.

Resurrection (1899) ; poisonings, infidelities, discoveries, love fights, torture and jail, are some of the words that define one of the writer’s most controversial books.

What happened to Tolstoy?

Despite being born into a very well-positioned family, he had numerous problems throughout his life. His irreverent personality and his desire to change the world made him look like a “madman” in the eyes of society. The first years of his life were spent at home, then he dropped out of university and joined the army, soon after he resigned and dedicated his life to traveling in Europe, until he met Sofía Behrs, who became his wife and mother. of his 9 children.

His relationship with his wife was terrible, he said that “they had completely different ideas about the meaning of existence” and that over time she became more and more “uncontrollable, despotic and irritable”. This led him to make a decision: to leave his home. At the age of 82, he left on a snowy November night, fell ill with pneumonia in the middle of the trip and died at a train station. Frozen running from his family chaos. His funeral was massive and he is buried in his childhood home.


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