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In this landmark biography of Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, A.N. Wilson narrates the complex drama of the writer’s life: his childhood of aristocratic privilege but emotional deprivation, his discovery of his literary genius after aimless years of gambling and womanizing, and his increasingly disastrous marriage. Wilson sweeps away the long-held belief that Tolstoy’s works were the exact mirror of his life, and instead traces the roots of Tolstoy’s art to his relationship with God, with women, and with Russia. He also breaks new ground in recreating the world that shaped the great novelist’s life and art—the turmoil of ideas and politics in nineteenth-century Russia and the incredible literary renaissance that made Tolstoy’s work possible.