Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, better known as Leo Tolstoy, is a giant of European Literature. He stands along such authors as Mark Twin, John Steinbeck, Upton Sinclair, Alexandre Dumas, and Émile Zola. His greatest contributions to western writing are in the realm of realist fiction—a genre that explores deep truths in daily life—through his mammoth work War and Peace and his novel Anna Karenina.
While the magnitude of Tolstoy’s literary effect is understood, his religious influence also cannot be understated. Through his widely-respected writing, Tolstoy offered a voice calling for Christian asceticism, political anarchism, pacifism, and non-violence. These themes are even known to have influenced Mahatma Gandhi, whom he developed a correspondence with.
For that reason, when we read his work, let us pay close attention. When Tolstoy answers three of the biggest questions about life—as he does in the story linked below—he is not doing it from a purely existential standing. He is not giving general, proverbial answers to universal, humanist questions. Tolstoy, intelligent and informed, shares answers of the most profound importance.
Labels: Christian, Leo Tolstoy, literature, meaning of life, pacifism, Three Questions