Leo Tolstoy liked to write long sentences in voluminous books. According to his wife’s memoir, released in English by the University of Ottawa Press on Wednesday, the famous Russian author also liked sex and contracted gonorrhea several times. Sometimes he didn’t bathe and exhibited an assortment of other colourful habits.
Sofia Tolstaya’s memoir, called My Life, is about 200 pages shorter than War and Peace (yet longer than Anna Karenina), so it no doubt contains plenty more unflattering revelations. According to the CBC:
Ottawa scholar Andrew Donskov arranged for the English translation, which has been in the works for the last three years, and edited the 1,200-page book. In My Life, Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya paints an undoctored picture of the author of War and Peace as a genius with many faults. Donskov expects great controversy when the memoirs are released in Russia, because the Russians revere their writers, particularly Tolstoy. ¦ Donskov said Tolstaya’s memoir has languished in a Moscow museum for 100 years because of its frankness and because much of what she writes about her husband is unflattering.