The Tolstoy name was that of a noble family dating back to the 14th century that was prominent from the time of Peter I. Both Leo Tolstoy’s grandfather and his father, Count Nikolay Ilyich Tolstoy, has a gambling problem that hit a wall when the family’s fortune ran out. However, his father was able to earn back the wealth he had always known by marrying a great name and fortune, Maria Volkonskaya. Her dowry included a the grand estate Yasnaya Polyana along with its 800 serfs that she would come to inherit.
On September 9, 1828, their fourth son, Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy, was born on the family’s estate of Yasnaya Polyana. The estate (also spelled as Iasnaia Poliana) was located in the province Tula, approximately one hundred miles south of the Russian capital, Moscow. At the age of two, the Tolstoy home had transformed after the death of his mother, and his father asked his distant cousin Tatyana Ergolsky to take charge of the children and act as a governess. When his father’s death eventually came at the age of nine, the legal guardianship of the five children were given to their aunt, Alexandra Osten-Saken. She was described to be a woman of great religious fervor from which the radical beliefs of Tolstoy’s wer...
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... year to travel Europe and founded a dislike towards western Europe. His introduction to different European teaching methods and its various experts in education to inspire what would become an interest in academic systems. He returned with a wealth of knowledge and opened an experimental school for the peasant children living on his estate and lands. He applied the teachings and beliefs of his favorite philosopher, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, and denied any use of reward or punishment as motivation, abolished grades, and emphasized spontaneity of education. He had developed a school that would cater to the uninterested minds that he was apart of as a young boy and adult. Finally satisfied of the years of freedom earned from his bachelor life, Leo settled to marry. He married Sofya (“Sonya”) Andreyevna Bers: a noble lady, well-educated, and appreciator of music and art.
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