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Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Sonya: The Life of Countess Tolstoy.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Anne Edwards(Author)

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A sympathetic account of Sonya Tolstoy's struggle for independence reveals Sonya to be a forerunner of today's modern woman, showing how her intense love for Tolstoy was diminished by his refusal to see her as her own person

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Book details

  • PDF | 512 pages
  • Anne Edwards(Author)
  • Simon & Schuster (April 6, 1981)
  • English
  • 5
  • Biographies & Memoirs

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Review Text

  • By A customer on May 19, 1999

    This is an absorbing story about Sonya Andreyevna Tolstoy, the wife of the novelist Leo Tolstoy. It details the few years of her life before her marriage and after the death of Tolstoy, but mostly deals with their incredibly difficult relationship during their 48 years together. The reader gets all the inside information through the author's use of diaries, books and articles written by family members (everyone these two people knew or were related to kept a diary or wrote a book!), and quotes from letters. Anne Edwards did an excellent job of using all these sources to write a book that will get your attention and keep it. Women, especially, will feel Sonya Tolstoy's pain, frustration, hope, joy, and despair as they read her story. Leo Tolstoy was an extremely gifted artist and thinker but apparently wasn't easy to live with. Through the years his wife was portrayed as the difficult one and the blame for their troubles was placed mostly at her feet. This book casts her in a more sympathetic light and lets readers understand the reasons behind some of her well-documented actions, yet doesn't paint her as a saint or a martyr. I started reading a copy of this biography 15 years ago and had to return it to its owner before I could finish. I had looked for a copy of my own since that time and could never find one until I looked here (thanks Amazon!). It was well worth the wait!

  • By DB on November 4, 2007

    This book (difficult to read, the writing is excellent but the content is a bit disturbing at times) exposes the acts of Mr Tolstoy, who in today's world might wind up on a tabloid newspaper for his treatment of his wife.Tolstoy spends his young days sexing up various prostitutes (at the urging of his immediate family members), an older relative, and eventually, one of his serfs while her husband is away.Basically Sonya describes him best. He is a genius, a great writer, but not a great man, because great men are not hypocrites. The Tolstoyan Disciples (his entourage) are "idlers" who mooch off Sonya. Their chief, Chertkov, bilks Sonya and her family out of the profits of Tolstoys works.... and somehow Chertkov, preaching the evils of property, never gives up his own massive wealth or possessions and some money goes disappearing. . . . . . . and this is the tip of the iceberg.Sonya has over a dozen children, and many of them die. The high number is because Tolstoy doesn't believe in birth control. Abortion, of course, is a mortal sin, but Sonya is still driven to jump onto hard objects in secret because she can't get the help of the local herbalist midwife --- who is too afraid of Tolstoy to help her.Tolstoy also doesn't believe that giant fissures on your nipples should excuse you from the 'duty' of suckling a baby. Regardless of the horrendous pain and suffering and possible infection. Sex with a nursing woman is abhorrent as well to Tolstoy. Eventually, all sex becomes abhorrent to him (and it caused him a great deal of trouble, in his own life). Apparently he can never accept that she wants to be with him in spite of his sins.So why did she stay with him? At the head of one of the chapters, Edwards quotes her that she was in love with the 'enldess dream' of the man.

  • By eledavf Vivian on November 17, 2014

    This book is a revelation. The true story of this famous marriage is astonishing. Sonya is revealed as a remarkable woman who endured much more than any human being should yet remained faithful to a very great and impossible genius.The fact that she transcribed, repeatedly, so many hundreds of pages of his manuscripts, working from his terrible, crabbed handwriting, earns her a special place of honor in Tolstoy's history. But there were also many times when she stood up and did what had to be done to preserve the family and its fortune when they were jeopardized by his peculiar behavior and incredible, often cruel, eccentricities. Theirs was one the most tortured marriages, one of the most unhappy in the annals of literature.I enjoyed this book greatly and learned so much more about Tolstoy himself, revealed here in the greatest detail as a monster of egotism. But I doubt that anyone, having read the creations of his mind, can ever forget them or the transcendent genius that gave shape to them.The history of the Russia of that time adds to the interest of this fine biography. And, in my opinion, if there is any history more gripping than Russia's, or any nation more renowned for its victories and more afflicted in its sufferings, I have not heard of it.


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