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Creator / Leo Tolstoy

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"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."

Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й; 9 September [Old Style 28 August] 1828 – 20 November [Old Style 7 November] 1910) was a Russian writer and philosopher.

He is best known internationally for his novels, which include the notorious doorstopping epic War and Peace.

Works by Leo Tolstoy with their own trope pages include:

Leo Tolstoy's body of work provide examples of:

  • Actual Pacifist: This is frequently debated in his work, as the man himself became a die-hard pacifist in the later part of his life. In fact, his book The Kingdom of God Is Within You heavily influenced Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Angel Unaware: Michael in "What Men Live By".
  • Author Tract: Most of his writing have varying degrees of this, especially his later works. A good reminder that Tropes Are Tools.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Lampshaded and inverted in What is Art? with Tolstoy arguing that beauty more often coincide with amorality and immorality than with goodness.
    • Likewise inverted in Childhood, where the narrator resolves to be good as best he can precisely because he thinks himself ugly.
  • Circassian Beauty: In The Cossacks, the romantically-minded soldier Olyenin fantasizes about falling in love with a Circassian slave girl, "a maiden of graceful form, with long braids of hair and deep submissive eyes" who is "lovely but uncultivated, wild and rough". When he snaps out of his reverie, he exclaims "What rubbish!" — acknowledging the absurdity of the idea — before slipping into dreams of highlander girls once again.
  • Creator Backlash: Tolstoy grew to despise much of his early work, which he came to viewed as nothing more vain attempts at getting recognition with no true artistic passion invoked behind them. He also had a pretty low opinion on the quality of his work in general.
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  • Decapitation Presentation: In Hadji Murat, the reader is first aware of the death of Hadji Murat when someone shows off his head in a sack.
  • Doorstopper: He was so infamous for it that his name has actually entered the Russian language to mean a very long book.
  • Famous Ancestor: Tolstoy was a direct descendant of Genghis Khan through the marriage of Prince Fyodor of Yaroslavl to Anna of the Tatars.
  • God Is Good: The Russian Orthodox Church on the other hand... has seen better days.
  • Heel Realization: The autobiographical My Confession partly consist of Tolstoy having one of these:
    "I cannot recall those years without horror, loathing, and heart-rending pain. I killed people in war, challenged men to duels with the purpose of killing them, and lost at cards; I squandered the fruits of the peasants' toil and then had them executed; I was a fornicator and a cheat. Lying, stealing, promiscuity of every kind, drunkenness, violence, murder — there was not a crime I did not commit..."
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: Tolstoy is a well-respected and famous writer and philosopher (at least in his country). In an autobiographical work of his, My Confession, he mentions that he had recurring bouts of depression despite having what many would call a happy life: he had a beloved wife; good children; a large estate "which grew and increased without any labour on [his] part"; was respected and praised by friends, neighbours, and strangers alike; and was mentally and physically well (excluding his depression). Why was he depressed? Because he was wondering if life was even worth living. In the end, he concluded that it was.
  • Oh, and X Dies: The Death of Ivan Ilych
  • Real Men Love Jesus: Tolstoy was a devout Orthodox Christian, though he had grievances with the Russian Orthodox Church. The Church became the main object of his attacks in a couple of his writings, which led to his excommunication 20 February 1901.