The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

Sofia Tolstoy

The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

This title contains Sofia Tolstoy's extensive diaries, which cover the years from 1862 to 1910. When she married Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of "War and Peace", husband and wife regularly exchanged diaries. Her life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband, but was tormented by him; even her many children were not an unmitigated blessing. From the state of the great writer's stomach and the progress of his work, to the fierce and painful arguments that would eventually divide the couple for ever, Sofia's diaries are compelling and revealing. And in the background is one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history: the transition from old feudal Russia to the three revolutions and three major international wars. Yet it is as Sofia Tolstoy's own life story, the study of one woman's private experience, that the diaries are most valuable and moving. With a foreword by Doris Lessing. 4.2 out of 5 based on 2 reviews
The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

Omniscore:

Classification Non-fiction
Genre Biography, Essays, Journals & Letters
Format Hardback
Pages 450
RRP £20.00
Date of Publication October 2009
ISBN 978-1846880803
Publisher Alma Books
 

This title contains Sofia Tolstoy's extensive diaries, which cover the years from 1862 to 1910. When she married Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of "War and Peace", husband and wife regularly exchanged diaries. Her life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband, but was tormented by him; even her many children were not an unmitigated blessing. From the state of the great writer's stomach and the progress of his work, to the fierce and painful arguments that would eventually divide the couple for ever, Sofia's diaries are compelling and revealing. And in the background is one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history: the transition from old feudal Russia to the three revolutions and three major international wars. Yet it is as Sofia Tolstoy's own life story, the study of one woman's private experience, that the diaries are most valuable and moving. With a foreword by Doris Lessing.

*Reissued with a new introduction. This translation was first published in 1985.

Reviews

The Guardian

Jay Parini

As one quickly sees, Sofia was herself a gifted writer. Without apparent effort, she draws countless portraits of her contemporaries, and it's fascinating to get her view of Tolstoy's encounters with such figures as Turgenev or Chekhov. His large world passes before us in scene after scene. And there is often a great deal of tension, as Tolstoy seemed always at odds with someone or something, including church and state.

05/12/2009

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The Sunday Times

Frances Wilson

Doris Lessing, who has provided a pallid new foreword to this much appreciated edition, takes us no ­further in our understanding of the Tolstoys’ peculiar dynamic... It is simplistic to see Sofia as the victim of her husband’s genius. Her diaries show that she was a formidable storyteller in her own right, and while she cast herself as tragic heroine she comes across in this book as a drama queen.

01/11/2009

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