The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky

Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky


A cabinet card portrait showing the Russian authors Leo Tolstoy and Maxim Gorky at Yasnaya Polyana in 1900.

Yasnaya Polyana was Tolstoy’s home, where he was born, wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and is buried. Some 200 miles south of Moscow, he called it his ‘inaccessible literary stronghold’. Tolstoy entertained almost all the important Russian cultural and artistic figures of his time at Yasnaya Poloyana, including in 1900 the young author and political activist Maxim Gorky.

When they first met Gorky was a young and promising writer of stories. He later spent some time near Tolstoy's home and in 1919 published My Recollections of Tolstoy. Perhaps he had expected to find a dull old vegetarian disguised in a peasant's smock and spouting platitudes. He found instead a henpecked, shriveled, electrifying man with ‘shaggy’ eyebrows, ‘wonderful’ hands, a passion for card games, and a ‘shocking’ coarseness of speech.

Photographer unidentified.

 

Code: 124325
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018