Childhood; Boyhood; Youth by Leo Tolstoy
(Penguin Classics)

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Synopsis

Written from 1852 to 1856, this autobiographical novel was Tolstoy's first publication. The early life of Nikolai, the son of wealthy landowner in Russia, is fully explored, slowly revealing this young boy's inner mind, relationships, and social standing. As he describes his tutor, angelic mother, aloof father, worldly brother, and later his moralistic friend, Nikolai displays a mind given to dreaming and a personality as complex as it is conflicted. As he grows and moves from his country home to his grandmother's mansion in Moscow, Nikolai also struggles at intervals to find a sort of moral balance, which affects his love, his education, and the type of man he might become. Tolstoy demonstrates, even in this first literary attempt, his ability to utilize a host of minor characters to fully develop the internal life of his main character. "Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth" shows in its three parts not only the deliberate building of a protagonist but also a universal story about coming of age. This novel has pr
 

About Leo Tolstoy

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Count Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9, 1828, in Yasnaya Polyana, Russia. Orphaned at nine, he was brought up by an elderly aunt and educated by French tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. In 1847, he gave up his studies and, after several aimless years, volunteered for military duty in the army, serving as a junior officer in the Crimean War before retiring in 1857. In 1862, Tolstoy married Sophie Behrs, a marriage that was to become, for him, bitterly unhappy. His diary, started in 1847, was used for self-study and self-criticism; it served as the source from which he drew much of the material that appeared not only in his great novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), but also in his shorter works. Seeking religious justification for his life, Tolstoy evolved a new Christianity based upon his own interpretation of the Gospels. Yasnaya Polyana became a mecca for his many converts At the age of eighty-two, while away from home, the writer suffered a break down in his health in Astapovo, Riazan, and he died there on November 20, 1910.
 
Published October 25, 1973 by Penguin. 311 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction, Biographies & Memoirs, Education & Reference, Children's Books, History. Non-fiction

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