“My life“ of S. A. Tolstaya. “Evil ghost“ or real woman?
I, perhaps, will not undertake to Retell the book “My Life“ of Sofya Andreevna Tolstaya. Judges and admirers of philosophy and Lev Nikolaevich Tolstoy`s creativity, most likely, are familiar with this work. For those who did not read Sofya Andreevna`s memoirs yet it will probably be more interesting to learn about her without intermediaries.
In the memoirs the countess Tolstaya described yasnopolyansky life, the relations in Tolstykh`s family, gave an assessment to many events of both own life, and Lev Nikolaevich`s life. At the same time Sofya Andreevna, to disappointment of biographers of L. N. Tolstoy and researchers of his creativity, wrote only that she considered as the most important.
But I would like to dwell upon several facts presented in Tolstaya`s book “My life“ which, in my opinion, can precisely describe character of Sofya Andreevna who often in articles of modern writers appears as the certain “evil ghost“ who is in an antagonism with “good genius“.
In 1891 there were events which forced Tolstykh`s family to part - in the Samara province hunger burst. Lev Nikolaevich went to equip dining rooms for the starving people, Sofya Andreevna moved to Moscow with younger children, having left oldest daughters to be engaged in affairs of Yasnaya Polyana. Eldest sons of Tolstykh soon joined charity of the father.
Somehow to help the family, Sofya Andreevna forced to remain in Moscow published an appeal to everyone to offer starving any sum of money in “The Russian sheets“. The first donations began to arrive addressed to the countess Tolstaya already next day after the publication of this article.
Sofya Andreevna organized collecting donations and kept the full reporting - from whom and how many arrived on her name. All these data were published, and the full disclosure disposed to its activity more and more people that as a result brought about two hundred thousand rubles, and all this money was distributed for needs of starving.
At the beginning of 1892 article was published in the Moskovskiye Vedomosti newspaper with reference to London “Daily Telegraph“ in which it was said that the count Tolstoy has revolutionary ideas and propagandizes them in the doctrine. Refused to Tolstoy the publication of already prepared articles, his situation in society became very shaky. Sofya Andreevna wrote a denial to “Official gazette“, but she was answered that they cannot publish polemic articles for censorship reasons.
The most various rumors that Tolstoy is wanted to be banished in Solovetsky Monastery that it will be without quitting the place in Yasnaya Polyana went. It was told about discontent of the sovereign of the emperor and everywhere words of the last that he considers as if he Tolstaya betrayed it to enemies of a throne to British were transferred. The countess Tolstaya tried to publish article in “Modern times“, but publishers refused it again, and Nicholas II`s discontent only grew what letters Tolstykh`s relatives reported about.
And Sofya Andreevna the general - the governor then the denial was authorized to publish the column that returned to Tolstoy a favorable arrangement of society and the sovereign personally achieved an audience from the grand duke Sergey Aleksandrovich, Moscow.
In February, 1901 one more event which shook Tolstykh`s family took place, - according to the order of the Holy Synod Lev Nikolaevich was excommunicated. Sofya Andreevna learned about an event from newspapers and became indignant. In a sincere rush she wrote on the same day the letter to the Synod which soon was is translated into many European languages, as well as “the Answer to the Synod“ the count Tolstoy, written to them in April of the same year.
For the modern person how Sofya Andreevna when the speech came about honor and dignity of her husband behaved can seem surprising. Forgetting all personal offenses, she acted as the sensitive spouse and mother of family. If business concerned interests of a family and family values, Sofya Andreevna proved not only as the excellent organizer, but also as the strong, strong-willed and noble woman.
And though family life of Tolstykh was very far from an ideal, reading of the book of Sofya Andreevna can be interesting to the people who are interested in history and also it is very useful as memoirs of the woman able to forget about disorders and personal offenses in responsible and difficult moments of life.