Can an ordinary person be a genius?

Leo Tolstoy - a genius or an ordinary person? Part 1

Leo Tolstoy was born on September 9 (August 28) 1828 on the Yasnaya Polyana estate, 14 kilometers from the city of Tula, where he lived most of his life. Here is his grave.

I. E. Repin, “Ploughman. Leo Tolstoy on farmland ", 1887. Photo:

On the eve of this significant date, I met with the Merited Cultural Worker of the Russian Federation, the head of the Department of Monument Preservation and Musuology of the State Monument and Nature Reserve "Legacy of Leo Tolstoy" Yasnaya Polyana "Nina Alekseevna Nikitina.

- Yasnaya Polyana for Tolstoy became the whole world. For a writer, ancestral cult is not an empty phrase. Here lived his grandfather Nikolai Sergeevich Volkonsky. Legends and traditions helped Tolstoy put him in the image of the old man Bolkonsky in the epic "War and Peace".

The writer's father, Count Nikolai Ilyich Tolstoy, a former participant in the Patriotic War of 1812, lived there. After Lev Nikolaevich's father divided the property, he received Yasnaya Polyana and not the estate in Nikolsko-Vyazemsky or Pirogovo, which was passed on to his brothers was transferred. Sure - it's in line with the clear genius of Tolstoy.

Here he had his own world, homeland ... It is no coincidence that the eldest son of the writer Sergey Lvovich called this place the "Cradle of Tolstoy". How did Writer's Day start? He got up while everyone slept. After taking a notebook with him, he went for a walk. Then an early breakfast. Next I got to work. I didn't go into the living room until 3 p.m. Then he went home for several hours, chatting with strangers, hunting and mowing the village, plowing and just strolling around his beloved Yasnaya Polyana. At 6 p.m. he was expected for dinner. After lunch he continued to work ...

- You have already started talking about the ancestors of the writer.

Following the example of his mother, Tolstoy belonged to the family of the Volkonsky princes. Nikolai Volkonsky, Tolstoy's grandfather, moved from St. Petersburg to Yasnaya Polyana after his retirement. Here he built a house, a garden and a pond. He married Ekaterina Trubetskoy, who gave birth to a daughter, Maria, the future mother of the writer. The Volkonsky princes were related to the Golitsins and Odoevsky. On the line of his mother, Tolstoy was related to Pushkin. Boyarin I. M. Golovin, employee of Peter I - their common ancestor.

They got their last name from Prince Vasily the Dark. He gave the nickname of the ancestor of the writer, Andrei Vasilievich - Tolstoy (for completeness). Pyotr Tolstoy was known in her family. He served under Peter I, was a brilliant diplomat. After the king's death, he fell from grace and was threatened with execution, but was banished to the Solovetsky Monastery, where Pyotr Andreyevich died. His son Ivan also died here.

L. Tolstoy's great-grandfather, Andrei Ivanovich, was a wonderful person. He took part in campaigns, was governor, member of the Suzdal nobility. When Peter Andreevich's descendants all returned to the county, he was no longer alive. But the writer's grandfather, Ilya Andreyevich, wasted almost all his fortune on negligence. He served in Kazan, where he married the daughter of the Minister of War N. Gorchakov, Pelage.

It is curious that a relative of the woman lived in her family - Tatyana Alexandrovna Ergolskaya. She played a huge role in raising the children of Nikolai Ilyich, the writer's father. After the death of Ilya Andreevich, the family lived poorly. Nikolai Tolstoy was looking for a rich bride. So there was his acquaintance with Princess Maria Volkonskaya. The young couple immediately went to the estate of his wife, Yasnaya Polyana.

"Was Tolstoy's mother an amazing woman?"

Maria Nikolaevna had a good education and spoke several languages. Someone very wisely remarked that all brilliant people are like their mothers. There was someone he could be. She was an expert at telling fairy tales and composing them as they were told. She wrote poetry, made literary translations. Made a lot of music. Your diaries have been preserved. You can see her literary talent from her.

Then everything “blossomed” in her son Leo. She loved walking down Birch-Walnut Alley, and Lev Nikolaevich always remembered her as her mother's alley. Even at an advanced age when it was evil in his soul, he went there and "looked for the marks on her legs". These are the writer's words.

During the years of Maria Nikolaevna's marriage with Lev Nikolaevich's father, five children were born in the family: Nikolai, Sergey, Dmitry, Leo and Maria. After the birth of her daughter, Maria Nikolaevna started a "tribal fever" and she soon died. Little Leo was less than two years old when he lost her. Seven years later my father died. Aunt Tatiana Alexandrovna Ergolskaya replaced the children with her mother.

Tolstoy wrote that his aunt taught him "the spiritual enjoyment of love". Then Lev Nikolaevich will say: "I saw how good it was for you to love us." The life of the Tolstoy children has become theirs. And Lev Nikolaevich loved her just as faithfully. By the way, in old age she did not live with any of the children except Leo.

- How does Lev Nikolaevich change at the time of beginning growing up?

One of the teachers of the Tolstoy brothers said that one of them teaches and can learn. The second wants but can't. A third person is allowed to, but does not want to. And the younger Leo - and won't and can't. After all, all the brothers graduated from Kazan University, with the exception of those who do not want to and cannot. I couldn't because I didn't want to overcome the laziness inside of me. Lev Nikolaevich in his diaries scolded himself for not offending his brother Sergei, who called him "the most insignificant guy".

He kept his diaries all his life. Tolstoy left 13 volumes. Already on the first pages he noted: "The whole time I didn't behave the way I wanted to." Tolstoy asks himself: "What is the meaning of a person's life?" And "What will the meaning of my life be?" start walking? In other words, I've learned to "write correctly". Tolstoy is deeply involved in the study of Russian and foreign languages. He is interested in mathematics, geography, history, science, statistics.

Every day he set his mark for the day he lived when he x-rayed himself. The writer's lifestyle has changed many times over the years. He is in Moscow, then in St. Petersburg, where he passed exams at the university. He is fascinated by music. Sometimes Leo Tolstoy goes to gypsies, plays cards ... But even then, Tolstoy continues introspection.

And only later in her diaries Sofya Andreevna, the wife of Lev Nikolaevich, will open the curtain a little on the apparent ease of his life. He had a terrible headache, everything was very difficult for him.

- Tolstoy had a "Caucasian" period in his life.

Yes, brother Nikolay, an army officer, persuaded him to go to the Caucasus. Tolstoy participated in hostilities and served. The Caucasus gave him a lot as a beginner. Impressions formed the basis for the work of "Cossacks", "Haji Murat", stories. Here Lev Nikolaevich wrote "Childhood" and sent it to the magazine Sovremennik. Then the "Boyhood" and "Youth" were created. Soon he is in the Crimean Army, where he receives new impressions. Tolstoy met many famous people through the writer I. Turgenev. Lev Nikolaevich was welcomed in the Sovremennik circle as the "hope of Russian literature". He discussed with writers, got into conflict, but felt strange in this situation. After his retirement he went to France, Italy, Germany ... Then he returned to Yasnaya Polyana.

Here Tolstoy enthusiastically opens schools for rural children and publishes a magazine for teachers. To learn the basics of teaching children, he goes to Europe and studies there. Therefore, his idea is "student freedom" in learning and not violence by teachers.

Continuation of the interview in the next part.