Name: Leo Tolstoy

Alive: 1828-1910

Bio: Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer of the nineteenth and early-twentieth century. He is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time, best known for his novels Anna Karenina (1877) and War and Peace (1869), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. Tolstoy is also known for his semi-autobiographical trilogy which recounts his role in the Crimean War. In the 1870s, Tolstoy had a profound moral crisis, provoking a spiritual awakening and prompting his non-fiction work, A Confession, which recounts the ethical teaching of Jesus. Tolstoy’s ideas are linked to non-violent resistance and economic philosophies of Henry George (Georgism).


“The two most powerful warriors are patience and time”

“A man can live and be happy without killing animals for food; therefore, if he eats meat, he participates in taking animal life merely for the sake of his appetite”

“Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself”

Popular culture:

“Leo Tolstoy” – film, 1984

“The Last Station” – novel by Jay Parini, 1990

Further Reading:

  • Notable works of Tolstoy: Childhood (1852), Boyhood (1854), Youth (1856), War and Peace (1869), Anna Karenina (1877), The Death of Ivan IIyvich (1886), The Kingdom of God Is Within You (1894)
  • James Craraft, Two Shining Souls: Jane Addams, Leo Tolstoy, and the Quest for Global Peace (2012)