Stalking Tolstoy

Literal Life, blog, November 2010.

Tolstoy had finally decided to leave his family, at the age of 82, to begin the life of a wandering ascetic, however, he had only been away from home for a few days when he succumbed to pneumonia. Tolstoy had long been considered radical in his beliefs – pacifism and spiritual anarchy, for example. In fact, his ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Mahatma Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Tolstoy, years earlier, also sought to reject his inherited and earned wealth, including the renunciation of the copyrights on his earlier works. His origins, as a member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family, a privileged and noble station in Russia, came to offer sharp contrast to the non-violent and spiritual anarchist of his latter days. This conversion was brought about by two trips around Europe in 1857 and 1860–61, a period when many liberal-leaning Russian aristocrats escaped the stifling political repression of home.
Tolstoy and the Arts, virtual exhibition.
This exhibit is based on one that took place in Robarts Library at the University of Toronto in the fall of 2003 in honour of the 175th anniversary of the birth of Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy.