The author of Chekhov: Scenes from a Life and a translator of his stories, Rosamund Bartlett here looks to the literary figure that Chekhov—and indeed all of Russia—revered above all others. Count Lev Tolstoy (1828–1910) spent his life rebelling against conventional ideas, not only in literature and art but also in traditional education, family life, organized religion, and the state. Bartlett unearths key Russian sources and materials made available following the collapse of the Soviet Union to illuminate Tolstoy's remarkable journey from callow youth and nobleman to writer to prophet.
"Rosamund Bartlett's new life of Tolstoy is a splendid book—immensely readable, full of fresh details, and often quite brilliant in its perceptiveness about the greatest of Russian writers, and one of the stars in the western firmament. This biography has the sweep and vividness of literature itself."—Jay Parini
"It is difficult as a reader to take in the sheer scale and extent of Tolstoy's interest and achievement. For the biographer to put all this into less than 500 pages is an achievement in itself. But Bartlett never seems hurried and she gives herself time to paint the scene for us, bringing the scent of Russian earth and grass to the nostrils."—Financial Times (London)