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War and Peace and Sonya

The Story of Sonya Tolstoy

At eighteen years old, young Sofya Behrs, called Sonya by friends and family, married one of the greatest authors the world has ever known—Leo Tolstoy. Sixteen years his junior, Sonya spent a majority of her married life in confinement while pregnant and nursing, as she bore, raised, and educated thirteen children. At the same time, she toiled as Tolstoy’s  copyist, editor, translator, and publisher, rewriting countless drafts of his timeless novels by hand. For forty-eight years, the Tolstoys lived in a passionate and combative union, joined by love and literary drive, until the author deserted his wife abruptly in 1910, shortly before his death.

In War and Peace and Sonya, Judith Armstrong imagines Sonya’s underexplored story, describing the couple’s simultaneous devotion to and ambivalence about each other and their shared passion for great literature and creativity. Sonya was Tolstoy’s muse, model, and assistant. Though she shaped his books and raised his family, history has placed her squarely in her husband’s shadow. Only in recent years have the truth of their marriage, the extent of her writings, and her personality come to light. This fascinating fictional biography features original photographs from Sonya’s life and gives much-needed perspective on the true nature of this powerful matriarch.

272 pages | 27 halftones | 5 1/2 x 11 1/2 | © 2011

Fiction


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Table of Contents

Cover
Title Page
Copyright
 
Prologue
The Three Behrs
Ivitsy
The Name Day Engagement
At Birulevo
Family Happiness
Pickling Cucumbers
The Mangy Dog
The Fop and the Boor
One Unhappy Family
What the Chalk Really Wrote
Irony
The Dead Mother
White Boletus and Birch Mushrooms
Golden Days
Tatiana Pushkina
Terrorist Times
Publishing ‘L.N.’
The Kreutzer Sonata
Famine and Finances
Vanya and Taneev
The Anna Karenina Proofs
Flight
 
Epilogue
Author Note
 

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