The philosophical years

From the age of 50, Tolstoy’s focus turns away from literature and towards philosophical and religious writings. In part this is because his fears about death and his obsession about finding a meaning to life lead him to God and spirituality.

His touchstone is the gospels, particularly the Sermon on the Mount, and he uses these teachings to create his own model for life. He rails against the Russian Orthodox Church, however, arguing that they have corrupted God’s teachings. He writes essays challenging the authority of the Church.

Hel meets Vladimir Chertkov who has an enormous influence on what he writers and how it is distributed. Together they form a publishing company that promotes Tolstoyan principles on religion and other matters such as equality and poverty, non-violence and love.

His yearning to live by his principles causes tension and disputes with Sophia over his inheritance.

Temptations of the flesh
The marriage suffers
The essays