Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy

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Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy bigraphy, stories - Russian dramatist, poet and novelist

Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy : biography

September 5, 1817 – October 10, 1875

Count Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy, often referred to as A. K. Tolstoy () (August 24 (September 5) 1817 – September 28 (October 10) 1875), was a Russian poet, novelist and playwright, considered to be the most important nineteenth-century Russian historical dramatist, primarily on the strength of his dramatic trilogy The Death of Ivan the Terrible (1866), Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (1868), and Tsar Boris ( 1870). He also gained fame for his satirical works, published under his own name (History of the Russian State from Gostomysl to Timashev, The Dream of Councillor Popov) and under the collaborational pen name of Kozma Prutkov. His fictional works include the novella The Vampire (1841), and the historical novel Prince Serebrenni (1862).

Aleksey was a member of the Tolstoy family, and a second cousin of Leo Tolstoy. Due to his mother’s closeness with the court of the Tsar, Aleksey was admitted to the future Alexander II’s childhood entourage and became "a comrade in games" for the young Crown Prince. As a young man Tolstoy traveled widely, including trips to Italy and Germany, where he met Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Tolstoy began his education at home under the tutelage of his uncle the writer Antony Pogorelsky, under whose influence he first became interested in writing poetry, and a number of other teachers. In 1834 Tolstoy enrolled in the Moscow Foreign Ministry State Archive as a student. In December 1835 he completed exams (in English, French and German languages and literature, Latin, World and Russian history, and Russian statistics) at the University of Moscow.

Throughout the 1840s Tolstoy led a busy high society life, full of pleasure trips, salon parties and balls, hunting sprees and fleeting romances. He also spent many years in state service as a bureaucrat and diplomat. In 1856, on the day of his Coronation, Alexander II appointed Tolstoy one of his personal aide-de-adjutants. Tolstoy served as an infantry major in the Crimean War. He eventually left state service in the early 1860s to pursue his literary career. He died in 1875 of a self-administered lethal dose of morphine at his Krasny Rog estate in the Chernigov Governorate.

Notes

References

Works

Drama

  • Don Juan (Дон Жуан, 1862)
  • The Death of Ivan the Terrible (Смерть Иоанна Грозного, 1866)
  • Tsar Fyodor Ioannovich (Царь Фёдор Иоаннович, 1868)
  • Tsar Boris (Царь Борис, 1870)The Cambridge Guide to Theatre, ed. Martin Banham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), p.1115. ISBN 0-521-43437-8.
  • Posadnik (Посадник, 1871, published in 1874-1976)

Prose

  • "The Family of the Vourdalak" (Семья вурдалака, written 1839 in French, first published 1884)
  • The Vampire (Упырь, 1841)
  • Prince Serebrenni (known also as The Silver Knight, Князь Серебряный, 1862)

Poetry

  • The Sinner (Грешница, 1857)
  • Ioann Damaskin (Иоанн Дамаскин, 1858)
  • Vasily Shibanov (Василий Шибанов, 1858)
  • The Alchemist (unfinished, 1867)
  • History of the Russian State from Gostomysl to Timashev (1868)
  • Portrait (Портрет, 1872)
  • Dragon (1875)
  • The Dream of Councillor Popov (written 1873, first published in 1978, Berlin)

Biography

Early life

A. K. Tolstoy was born in Saint Petersburg to the famed family of Tolstoy. His father, Count Konstantin Petrovich Tolstoy (1780–1870), a son of the army general, was a Russian state assignation bank councilor. His mother, Anna Alekseyevna Perovskaya (1796–1857), was an illegitimate daughter of Count Aleksey Kirillovich Razumovsky (1784–1822), an heir of the legendary Ukrainian hetman Aleksey Razumovsky. A. K. Tolstoy’s uncle (on his father’s side) was Fyodor Tolstoy (1783–1873). His uncle on his mother’s side was Aleksey Perovsky (1787–1836), an author known under the pen name of Antony Pogorelsky. Aleksey Konstantinovich was a second cousin of Leo Tolstoy; Count Pyotr Andreyevich Tolstoy was their common great-grandfather.