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Entries / Tolstoy A.K. (1817-1875), writer

Tolstoy A.K. (1817-1875), writer

Categories / Literature. Book Publishing/Personalia

TOLSTOY Alexey Konstantinovich (1817, St. Petersburg - 1875), count, writer, associate of St. Petersburg Academy of Sciences (1873). He had been living in St. Petersburg intermittently from 1825. In 1834 he was assigned as a "student" to the Moscow Archives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; in 1835 he passed the examination at Moscow University to qualify for a rank and served abroad for several years. From 1840 he had been attached to the Second Division of His Imperial Majesty's Own Chancellery; in 1843 he was appointed Chamber-Servant, to be promoted to the rank of Master of Ceremonies in 1851, and the rank of Fliegel-Adjutant in 1856. On his retirement in 1861 he settled in his own estate in Orel province. He was a close friend of Tsesarevitch Alexander Nikolaevich (the future Emperor Alexander II). He started his literary activity in St. Petersburg in the early 1840s. Tolstoy's prose merges mystical and visionary features and tends to search for the Divine Principle in the surrounding world. His lyric poetry is characterised by the longing for the beautiful and the infinite; at the same time, it shares the motifs conveying the unique value of everything mundane, a feature typical of Lermontov's lyrics. Over 70 poems written by Tolstoy have been set to music by eminent Russian composers. The plays of Tosltoy manifest his interest in the Russian history (the dramatic trilogy: The Death of Ivan the Terrible, 1866, staged at the Alexandrinsky Theatre; Tsar Fedor Ioannovich, 1868; Tsar Boris, 1870, the both were published in Vestnik Evropy). Tolstoy also published some satirical works as well as literary parodies in Sovremennik and in the satirical supplement Svistok under the collective pen-name Kozma Prutkov (his co-authors were his cousins A.M. Zhemchuzhnikov and V.M. Zhemchuzhnikov). St. Petersburg is associated with a number of Tolstoy's satirical works, where the peculiarities of the social and political life of Russia were reflected (poem The Dream of Popov, poem The History of the State of Russia from Gostomysl to Timashev etc.). The vast circle of Tolstoy's literary acquaintances included V.A. Zhukovsky, I.S. Turgenev, Y.P. Polonsky, I.A. Goncharov and many others. He used to live at Mikhaylovskaya Square (present-day 4 Iskusstv Square) and at Gagarinskaya Embankment (present-day 34 Kutuzova Embankment).

References: Жуков Д. А. Алексей Константинович Толстой. М., 1982.

D. N. Akhapkin.

Alexander II, Emperor
Goncharov Ivan Alexandrovich
Polonsky Yakov Petrovich
Tolstoy Alexey Konstantinovich, Count
Turgenev Ivan Sergeevich
Zhemchuzhnikov Vladimir Mikhailovich
Zhukovsky Vasily Andreevich

Iskusstv Square/Saint Petersburg, city, house 4
Kutuzova Embankment/Saint Petersburg, city, house 34

Жуков Д. А. Алексей Константинович Толстой. М., 1982

The subject Index
Russian Academy of Sciences
Alexandrinsky Theatre
Vestnik Evropy (The Herald of Europe), 1866-1918
Sovremennik (Contemporary), journal