Rare photographic portrait signed by Russian literary master Leo Tolstoy

  • Leo Tolstoy Signed Photograph.
  • Leo Tolstoy Signed Photograph.

Leo Tolstoy Signed Photograph.

$12,500.00

Item Number: 81256

1908.

Rare halftone photographic portrait of Russian literary master Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (Leo Tolstoy) inscribed by him two years before his death at the age of 82 in 1910, “M.A. Pototsky, Lev Tolstoy 1908, 11 October.” Towards the end of his life, Tolstoy became a passionate advocate for the economic thinking of Henry George, incorporating it into his later works including Resurrection of 1899 and A Letter to a Hindu of 1908. Georgian theory had become widely popular in the early 19th century and sparked several reform movements throughout the Progressive Era in the United States; George’s book Progress and Poverty of 1879 sold millions of copies worldwide and provided a critical investigation of the paradox existing between the increase in inequality amid economic progress in the United States. Tolstoy’s 1899 novel Resurrection hinted at these leanings with its heavy criticism of the justice system and suggestions towards collective self-governing communities; his 1908 Letter to a Hindu which outlined his belief that non-violence could be the means for India to gain independence from British colonial rule opened up a correspondence between him and the young Mahatma Gandhi who later referred to Tolstoy as “the greatest apostle of non-violence that the present age has produced” in his autobiography, The Story of My Experiments with Truth. Tolstoy’s correspondence with Gandhi lasted until his death in 1910 and inspired Gandhi to name his second ashram in South Africa the Tolstoy Colony. Matted and framed. The entire piece measures 15.25 inches by 17.25 inches. Rare and desirable signed by not only one of the greatest masters of realist fiction, and one of the earliest influential advocates for the use non-violent resistance.

Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, Leo Tolstoy is best known for his novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. Tolstoy's bibliography includes dozens of short stories, several novellas, plays and numerous philosophical essays. His writing consistently attempted to convey the experience of living in Russian society realistically, drawing from his own experience and creating many of his protagonists in his own image. Tolstoy's War and Peace is generally considered to be one of the greatest novels ever written, epic and remarkable for its historical breadth and dramatic prose.

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