Boyhood (Childhood, Boyhood, Youth #2)
Leo Tolstoy (1828-1910) was born at Yasnya Polyana, in Tula Province, fourth of five children. Tolstoy is widely regarded as one of the greatest of all novelists, particularly noted for his masterpieces War and Peace and Anna Karenina; in their scope, breadth and realistic depiction of Russian life, the two books stand at the peak of realistic fiction. As a moral philosopher he was notable for his ideas on nonviolent resistance through his work The Kingdom of God is Within You, which in turn influenced such twentieth-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. In the 1850s Tolstoy also began his literary career with an autobiographical trilogy: Childhood (1852), Boyhood (1854), and Youth (1857). His first publications tell of a rich landowner's son and his slow realization of the differences between him and his peasant playmates. Although in later life Tolstoy rejected these books as sentimental, a great deal of his own life is revealed, and the books still have relevance for their telling of the universal story of growing up.