TOLSTOY, LEO. (1828-1910). Russian philosopher and author of War and Peace and Anna Karenina. SP. (“Leon Tolstoy”). 1p. Small 4to. (Overall size: 6¾” x 9¾.” Image size: 6 1/8” x 4 3/8.”) N.p., August 15, 1897. To L. d’Abartiague [possibly Basque scholar WILLIAM LEWY D’ABARTIAGUE, 1866-1944]. A sepia-toned photograph of Tolstoy seated on a garden bench, inscribed, signed and dated in French on the lower photographer’s mount.
Born into Russian aristocracy, Tolstoy’s life and writing were influenced by his military experiences in which he fought the Chechenians and Tartar rebels on the Georgian border in the Caucasus. Tolstoy drew on his ten years of service when he commenced work on his epic novel War and Peace that described the fate of three Russian families following the aftermath of Napoleon’s 1812 Russian invasion. In 1877, he published Anna Karenina, a masterpiece of realist fiction for which he is equally well remembered.