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Tolstoy, the son of a nobleman landowner, was born on September 9, 1828, at Yasnaya Polyana, the family estate south of Moscow. He was orphaned at the age of nine, then raised by relatives and educated by French and German tutors. At the age of 16, Tolstoy enrolled at Kazan' University (now Kazan' State University), first studying languages and then law; influenced by the writings of the French philosopher Jean Jacques Rousseau, he became dissatisfied with formal study …

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…with his wife, who resisted his attempts to renounce their material possessions, Tolstoy left his home one night. He fell ill three days later and died on November 20, 1910, at a remote railroad station. At his death he was hailed as a uniquely powerful moral force throughout the world. That force and his timeless and universal art continue to provide inspiration today. "Tolstoy, Leo," Microsoft(R) Encarta(R) 98 Encyclopedia. (c) 1993-1997 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.