The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

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9780061997419: The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

When Sofia Behrs married Count Leo Tolstoy, the author of War and Peace, husband and wife regularly exchanged diaries covering the years from 1862 to 1910. Sofia s life was not an easy one: she idealized her husband, but was tormented by him; even her many children were not an unmitigated blessing. In the background of her life was one of the most turbulent periods of Russian history: the transition from old feudal Russia to the three revolutions and three major international wars. Yet it is as Sofia Tolstoy s own life story, the study of one woman s private experience, that the diaries are most valuable and moving. They are a testament to a woman of tremendous vital energy and poetic sensibility who, in the face of provocation and suffering, continued to strive for the higher things in life and to remain indomitable. From the state of the great writer s stomach and the progress of his work, to the fierce and painful arguments that would eventually divide the couple for ever, Sofia s Diaries are both compelling and extraordinarily revealing. "This is a book which is interesting for what it says about the predicament of women in the past, and how that compares to their present circumstances. While reading it, I was so enthralled that I found myself dreaming about Sofia, about speaking to her myself, desperately wanting to reach out to her and offer her words of comfort for her pain." From the foreword by Doris Lessing

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Review:

"The diary entries bear witness to a remarkable life: the life of an exceptional woman, married to one of the most exceptional men of the time, with all her passions and difficulties laid bare. This is a book that is interesting for what it says about the predicament of women in the past, and how that compares to their present circumstances." --The Sunday Times, Oct 10, 2009

"The hundreds of pages offered by Porter in this selection are testament to a great spirit, a woman who lived in terrifying proximity to one of the greatest writers of all time, and who understood exactly the high price she would have to pay for this privilege." --Jay Parini, The Guardian 5 Dec, 2009

"An elegant, readable volume" --A.N. Wilson, The Spectator 15 Dec 2009

"The hundreds of pages offered by Porter in this selection are testament to a great spirit, a woman who lived in terrifying proximity to one of the greatest writers of all time, and who understood exactly the high price she would have to pay for this privilege." --Jay Parini, The Guardian 5 Dec, 2009

"An elegant, readable volume" --A.N. Wilson, The Spectator 15 Dec 2009

From the Publisher:

Publication to coincide with the centenary of Tolstoy's death and the release of a major Hollywood film, The Last Station

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