Count Leo (Lev Nikolaevich) Tolstoy was born on August 28, 1828, at Yasnaya Polyana, near Tula, an ancestral estate in his mother's (Volkonsky) family, the fourth of five children. Orphaned as a child, he was brought up by collateral relatives and taught by private tutors until he matriculated at Kazan University in 1844. He withdrew in 1846 without completing the course and spent several aimless years before joining the army in the Caucasus. He saw action there and later in the Crimean War, experiencing the horrendous siege of Sevastopol. Tolstoy began publishing stories while still in the army and after 1856 became a professional writer, welcomed in St. Petersburg as one of a literary fraternity including Turgenev, Goncharov, and Ostrovsky. After "Family Happiness" he temporarily gave up writing to devote himself to problems of education, founding a school for peasant children on his own estate. He traveled abroad in 1857 and again in 1860, but thereafter never left Russia. In 1862 he married Sofya Bers, daughter of a Moscow doctor. She was to bear him thirteen children, of whom eight survived to adulthood. Idyllically happy at first, the marriage later developed severe tensions, especially after Tolstoy's "conversion," in the late 1870s, to his own version of Christianity. In the meantime he had completed his two great novels, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, which made him world famous. The remainder of Tolstoy's life was devoted primarily to the development and propagation of his religious beliefs, activities that brought him into continual conflict with the Russian government and the Orthodox church. From time to time he did, however, allow himself to write fiction again, producing both short stories and the novel Resurrection (1899-1900). In October 1910, at the the age of eighty-two, he abandoned his wife and ancestral home, planning to begin a new life. He fell ill, however, at the railway station of Astapovo, now called Lev Tolstoy, and died there on November 7. He is buried at Yasnaya Polyana. Hugh McLean is Professor Emeritus of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of California, Berkeley, where he taught from 1967 until 1994 and served as Dean of Humanities. He edited In the Shade of the Giant: Essays on Tolstoy (1989) and wrote Nikolai Leskov: The Man and His Art (1977), as well as numerous articles in professional journals.Tolstoy, Leo is the author of 'Death of Ivan Ilych and Other Stories', published 2003 under ISBN 9780451528803 and ISBN 0451528808.