Anna Karenina is the heart-wrenching tale of a woman who recklessly throws away everything she has for a passionate affair with a young soldier. Beautiful, popular, wife to a wealthy man and mother to an adored son, Anna seems to be in an enviable position. However, it takes only one encounter with Count Vronsky to fill her with the sense that her life has hitherto been empty. As the rest of the world fades into insignificance next to her great love, Anna faces an impossible choice
Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 at Yasnaya Polyana, province of Tula, the fourth son of Count Nikolay Tolstoy. Between 1856 and 1861 Tolstoy wrote and traveled abroad extensively. He returned with a sense of revulsion for what he considered to be European materialism. In 1859 he started several schools for peasant children at Yasnaya and in 1862 he founded a magazine in which he contended that it was the peasants who should teach the intellectuals, rather than the other way round. Tolstoy's increasingly radical political stance at the end of his life alienated his wife. He frequently dispensed huge sums of money to beggars and drew up a will relinquishing his copyrights. Such behavior led to frequent disputes with his Sofia. Finding it impossible to continue living a comfortable life with his family whilst preaching communism, he left Yasnaya in 1910, with one of his daughters and his doctor, for an unknown destination. He died on the journey and was buried in a simple peasant's grave.