Thursday, September 11, 2008

Misc. on Tolstoy

On July 22, 1910, when Tolstoy was in the middle of what was to be his final crisis, he went into the woods with three friends to copy and sign the testament that had been drawn up according to his instructions, hoping thereby to settle both the tormenting spiritual problems and the distasteful bickering with his wife and family that the disposition of his property and rights induced. As Tolstoy began to copy the document he misspelled “twenty”, started to correct it and to reach for a fresh sheet of paper, but then smiled and said, “All right, let it be thought that I was illiterate,” adding “I will put the numeral next to it so that there will be no possibility of doubt”.

- “Tolstoy” by Ralph Matlaw, p. 1
Tolsoy's wife Sophie wrote in her journal of copying War and Peace, that it "uplifted her spiritually, ie morally".

Sophie hand-wrote seven copies of "War and Peace".

She wrote to the man who published her biography:
“You write about the ‘home’ interests which must have been subordinated to Leo Nikolaevich’s writing of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. But what was that home? It consisted only of Leo Nikolaevich and myself… In so far as I could tear myself from domestic matters, I lived in my husband’s creative activity and loved it…You mention among professional writers Gogol, Turgenev, Goncharov, and I would add Lermontov and others; all of them were bachelors without families, and that is a very different matter. This was reflected in their work, just as Leo N.’s family life was completely reflected in his works… It is perfectly true that Leo N. was generally a man and not merely a writer. But it is not true, if you will pardon me, that he wrote easily. Indeed, he experienced the ‘tortures of creativity’ in a high degree; he wrote with difficulty and slowly, made endless corrections; he doubted his powers, denied his talent, and he often said: ‘Writing is just like childbirth; until the fruit is ripe, it does not come out, and, when it does, it comes with pain and labor’.”

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