Leo Tolstoy’s Best Classic Novels You Must Read – Besides Fyodor Dostoyevsky who wrote classic novels, Leo Tolstoy is also one of the classic novelists who is quite popular with several classic novels that evoke soul.
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy, better known as the Russian writer of the 19th century. Leo Tolstoy is considered by many to be one of the greatest novelists of all time. She has spawned many epic novels describing the Russian society in which she grew up to non-fiction books about the spiritual crisis and its rise.
His works have always been favored by various generations, not only because of the interesting plot but also the inner depictions of the characters that he creates are so detailed and clear that they are even historical depictions of his country. Of his many works, here are five of his best books that you really deserve to read.
1. Anna Karenina (1887)
Considered the greatest work ever written according to both top writer and layman, Anna Karenina is an 1877 masterpiece that paints a vivid picture of contemporary Russian society.
This novel tells the story of the eponymous Russian woman who, initially trapped by social conventions, then dares to leave a loveless marriage for the sake of forbidden love and face tragic consequences.
Another Russian literary giant, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, describes Anna Karenina as “the perfect work of art,” so if you’re just starting out with one Tolstoy novel, this might be the novel.
2.War and Peace (1869)
This novel is Tolstoy’s second most influential work in world literature. Tolstoy, who came from an old Russian aristocratic family, had a special interest in studying and criticizing the social structures of his time. The story of War and Peace, which took place between 1805 and 1812, is basically the story of five noble families before Napoleon’s French invasion of Russia.
As a veteran of the Crimean War, Tolstoy did not agree with the historical narrative of the events. The plot and interactions between the five families are at the heart of the novel. This novel is remarkable for its epic scale and is heavily influenced by the battle scenes in Victor Hugo’s other classic Les Misérables.
3.The Death of Ivan Ilyich (1886)
The novel addresses the sensitive themes of death and dying, as the high court judge and protagonist Ilyich is faced with his inevitable death in pre-revolution Russia. This book is considered relevant as a study of Tolstoy’s influence on religious and philosophical issues.
Written at a time of deep spiritual crisis in Tolstoy’s personal life, The Death of Ivan Ilyich is the artistic culmination of a nine-year professional break following the publication of Anna Karenina. His religious and philosophical views in this novel were considered to be extreme which led to his excommunication from the Russian Orthodox Church.
Also Read:Classical Novels by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
4.A Confession (1882)
By the time of his 50th birthday, Tolstoy had become the author of the novel that was very well known as one of the giants of Russian literature, however, on a personal level, he was experiencing a deep moral and spiritual crisis. He was even on the verge of committing suicide, but later he committed himself to finding “the meaning of life” by reading major religious texts.
A Confession is a very honest story about a difficult time and tells of its journey from a deep moral crisis to the spiritual awakening Tolstoy felt.
5. Resurrection (1899)
This is Tolstoy’s last work before his death in 1910. It tells the story of a noble’s attempt to atone for sins in his youth inflicted on a peasant girl who ends up being a prisoner in Siberia.
An intimate psychological tale of guilt, anger, forgiveness, and resurrection at the same time is a panoramic picture of social life in Russia in the late nineteenth century, reflecting the author’s anger at the social injustice in the world in which he lived.