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The descendants of Leo Tolstoy “digitized” their great ancestor

Behind steel doors, in a steel room, priceless manuscripts of Lev Nikolayevich are kept.

Behind steel doors, in a steel room, priceless manuscripts of Lev Nikolayevich are kept.

A photo: Anastasia PLESHAKOV

On November 22, the site “The Word of Tolstoy” was launched – this is a digital, systematized edition of the complete works of Lev Nikolayevich. In paper form, it consists of 90 volumes. Unlike paper, where the flow of material is linear, the virtual edition is stitched with internal links. Now all of Tolstoy’s works, from novels to letters and articles, are freely available with simple navigation and a search system. By the name of the character, the name, even a single word, you can find the information you need.

– “The Word of Tolstoy” is a colossal work and a modern guide to all the work of Lev Nikolayevich, – the great-great-granddaughter of the writer Fyokla Tolstaya, head of the Tolstoy Digital group, told reporters. – The virtual collection of works, supplied with reference literature, includes not only the texts of the novels, but also their draft versions, the writer’s diaries. On them you can trace the history of the creation of the work. Russian linguists have made such a large-scale guide for the first time. Quotes from the diaries of Lev Nikolayevich are updated every day on our website…

Leo Tolstoy is not only the most prolific Russian writer in terms of the number of writings (and the number of descendants), but also the most successful in terms of keeping his manuscripts. Almost all of them are safe and sound – in the Tolstoy Museum on Prechistenka. For +/- one and a half years in perfect condition. They are located in a unique storage in a special steel room, which was originally intended not for Tolstoy at all, but for paintings by French impressionists – they were collected by Moscow businessman and collector Ivan Abramovich Morozov.

Lev Nikolayevich’s manuscripts have been living for more than a hundred years in the former Morozov mansion on Prechistenka (next to the Tolstoy Museum). This is a separate room on the first floor (the whole mansion is now occupied by the Russian Academy of Arts) under seven locks. From the ceiling to the windows and doors, the room is lined with steel sheets. Everything that is in it does not burn in fire and does not sink in water. It is almost impossible for an ordinary mortal to get here. Even the most wise scholars and eminent textual critics take out their manuscripts to a separate room.

The handwriting of the 7-year-old Count Leo Tolstoy - even for an exhibition - is exemplary.

The handwriting of the 7-year-old Count Leo Tolstoy – even for an exhibition – is exemplary.

A photo: Anastasia PLESHAKOV

Journalists were allowed into the treasury as an exception – on the occasion of the launch of the Slovo Tolstoy website.

– Ivan Abramovich Morozov ordered storage for his paintings. Until 1919, the mansion on Prechistenka belonged to him. When he left Russia, Natalya Sedova-Trotskaya, who was in charge of the museum department of the People’s Commissariat of Education, ordered that the steel room be given to the manuscripts of Lev Nikolayevich, Tatyana Nikiforova, the chief curator of the Tolstoy fund, told how it was. -300 handwritten works live. And among them: 5.5 thousand sheets of “War and Peace”, more than 7 thousand sheets of “Resurrection”. Manuscript of Anna Karenina. And the last diary entries of Lev Nikolayevich, made by him at the Astapovo station, where he died in November 1910. And his first writings were in the children’s magazine “Children’s Fun”, which was led by his elder brother, Nikolai Tolstoy, and where there are records of the 7-year-old Levushka.

Manuscript of Anna Karenina.

Manuscript of Anna Karenina.

A photo: Anastasia PLESHAKOV

We have a joke receipt, which was compiled by Afanasy Fet. Tolstoy sewed shoes for him. The count had different interests. “On thick soles, low heels, sewn to my order by the author of War and Peace, Count Leo Nikolayevich Tolstoy,” who received 6 rubles from Fet (official surname Shenshin). Not a lot. There is a letter from Turgenev to Tolstoy. Ivan Sergeevich categorically did not recognize the philosophical and religious articles of Lev Nikolaevich and asked the count to return from journalism to fiction.

A receipt given to the author of

A receipt given to the author of “War and Peace” by Afanasy Fet.

A photo: Anastasia PLESHAKOV

There is a letter in which young Lev Nikolaevich asks for the hand of Sofya Andreevna Bers. The letter is slightly crumpled: Tolstoy carried it in his pocket for three days and did not dare to hand it to his future wife…

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