Tolstoy’s first published novel and the beginning of his Autobiographical Trilogy.
Written when he was just twenty-three years old and stationed at a remote army outpost in the Caucasus Mountains, Childhood won Leo Tolstoy immediate fame and critical praise years before works like War and Peace and Anna Karenina would bring him to the forefront of Russian literature.
It is the story of the ten-year-old son of a wealthy Russian landowner in the mid-1800s, as told by the child himself. Not a mere chronicle of events and characters, the novel is an intense study of the boy’s inner life and his reactions to the world around him. With an intricacy of thought and substance, Tolstoy describes the everyday thoughts of a child—innocent and mischievous, bold and afraid, and curious above all.
Childhood, followed by Boyhood and Youth, is the first part of Tolstoy’s semiautobiographical series, originally planned as a quartet tentatively called the “Four Epochs of Growth.” The completed works together form a remarkable expression of the great Russian novelist’s early voice and vision, which would ultimately make him one of the most renowned and revered authors in literary history.
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