About The Author

Alexandra Popoff was born and educated in Moscow. In her early journalistic career she wrote for the national newspaper The Literary Gazette. As an Alfred Friendly Press Fellow in 1991 she published her articles and reviews in The Philadelphia Inquirer. After marrying a Canadian journalist in 1992, she settled in Saskatchewan. Incidentally, this province was the place of original migration and settlement of the Russian Doukhobors, her husband’s ancestors. Tolstoy, who shared their pacifism, had sponsored their emigration to Canada at the end of the nineteenth century.

Popoff has taught at the University of Saskatchewan and written articles for scholarly journals. Her graduate degrees in literature were earned in Moscow, Toronto, and Saskatchewan.



Excerpt from the prelude of the book

“In 1906, when Sophia had emergency surgery at the family estate, Yasnaya Polyana, to remove a fibroid tumor from her womb, Tolstoy awaited the outcome in the woods. He asked to have the bell rung once if the surgery was successful and several times if it was not. He told her while she was convalescing: “You are in bed; I cannot hear your steps through the house, and I find it difficult to read or write.” While researching War and Peace in 1867, he wrote to Sophia from Moscow, “I am sitting alone in my room upstairs, having just read your letter… For God’s sake, don’t stop writing daily to me… I am a dead man without you…”

Tolstoy admired Sophia’s inexhaustible energy—he called it “the force of life.” She charged him with the emotion essential to his writing. During his brilliant literary period, when he created War and Peace and Anna Karenina, she was his muse, assistant, and first reader.

Upon marrying him at eighteen, Sophia began assisting Tolstoy in all his undertakings, even farming and social work. And there were her own duties: nursing and home schooling their thirteen children, running a large household, and managing all financial and business affairs. Like her husband, she loved work “of every kind – intellectual, artistic and physical.” Tolstoy is photographed in blouses she had sewn; her family and visitors slept under blankets she knitted.

Tolstoy’s expectation that she could handle anything inspired her energy and boldness. She copied out his voluminous novels, along with his corrections, in the days when only she could read his scrawl and they lived a solitary life, without secretaries. During the Russian famine of 1890s, she participated in a relief effort with Tolstoy and their older children. She organized fundraising, writing a passionate appeal to the nation that was carried by newspapers across the country and the world, personally received donations, purchased supplies, and hired volunteers.

Sophia was as multifaceted as her genius husband. Unlike other noble women of her day, she transcended class boundaries: she met with the Tsar on publishing business and assisted peasant women in labor. Living in the country without a doctor in the district, she practiced medicine with skills learned from her father, a court physician. She also treated her family and servants, and nursed Tolstoy through several life-threatening illnesses.

Becoming Tolstoy’s publisher in 1886, she produced eight editions of his collected works as well as individual volumes, herself handling all stages of the process. She began to collect his archive right after their marriage: the priceless drafts and manuscripts of War and Peace would not have survived without her. To this day, scholars can thank her for recording Tolstoy’s pronouncements when he intimated to her his intentions for his novels. Now these are quoted by every literary critic.

Clearly, Sophia’s contribution was great but it’s been consistently denied. It’s been written that she had published Tolstoy’s works against his will, managed their estate, hired servants, and also summoned doctors to treat him against his will. She has become known for opposing her husband, not for supporting him. Tolstoy’s marriage is still believed one of the unhappiest in literary history. She was even accused of “murdering” her husband.

To this last charge she retorted, it took her a long time to “murder” him. Tolstoy lived to eight-two, producing 90 volumes of writings, almost all of it written during the marriage. It is unlikely that the genius could have created more and that someone else would have guarded Tolstoy’s peace of mind better.

A century ago, Tolstoy’s religious followers branded Sophia evil. Their accounts depict Tolstoy as a saint whose martyrdom was suffered at home. The idea was devised by his disciple Vladimir Chertkov. In The Last Days of Tolstoy (1922) he compared Sophia’s treatment of her husband with tortures practiced during the Spanish Inquisition. Portraying Tolstoy as a martyr required making Sophia cruel. But despite the absurdity of the accusations, Chertkov’s biased book and similar biographies from the time have not been dismissed, leaving Sophia’s name to be publicly cleared.

Misconceptions about Sophia have penetrated most biographies, shaping our knowledge of Tolstoy. These all have one source: for decades, Chertkov suppressed favorable information about Sophia. He led a smear campaign against her, claiming she was responsible for Tolstoy’s flight from home at eighty two and his death. He created so much controversy around her name that even today her memoir My Life remains unpublished. Everyone who met Tolstoy, even briefly, published a book about him. His wife’s memoir is still confined to the archives.

Sophia handled more than the complexities of marriage to a genius writer. Tolstoy’s unique spiritual path led him to reject the Church and establish his own brand of religion. In the early 1880s, after his religious conversion, Tolstoy made sweeping renunciations, rejecting the entire social order. His contradictions were equally unfathomable: while he renounced marriage and sex, he continued to live with the family. All of this created unique challenges in the family’s life, making Sophia’s role with Tolstoy enormously difficult.”

From conversations with my perceptive agent, Susan Arellano:

One of the questions I have is why Sophia was so hated and maligned. I understand that the acolytes maligned her in part as a way to take control over Tolstoy’s image…. How could someone who did so much for others be treated so badly?

The acolytes, like Chertkov, needed Tolstoy as a saint and martyr. To facilitate their account Sophia had to be portrayed as evil.

She worked tirelessly as mother, wife, publisher, nurse, estate manager, secretary…
But despite all her efforts, or possibly because of her efforts, she came to be demonized by the acolytes and, at least to some extent, by Tolstoy himself – Yes? No?

Yes – Sophia is still not credited for her accomplishments. But we need to appreciate the complexity of her role beside Tolstoy to understand why he criticized her. After his religious conversion, Tolstoy renounced property and money, along with everything else he and she had believed in previously. So the harder Sophia worked as a publisher, mother, and estate manager, the more she contradicted his new beliefs.

The idea that comes through most strongly is your statement in the prelude of the book: “Tolstoy lived by choice, while her life was ruled by necessity.”  It’s a statement that could be made about the life of many women but seems particularly true in Sophia’s case…

The statement, by the way, comes from Sophia’s memoir My Life. She had read parts of it to Tolstoy and earned his approval. For me, this memoir was a starting point to understand her life and to connect with it.

She had only two brief moments, it seems, in which she could live by choice – the year before her marriage and late in the marriage and these were moments in which her own creativity came to the fore…

She had a great desire to explore her own talents but never had the time. I tell about her achievement as a publisher; she was also a writer and artist. So far, she has only been recognized for her photography: it was difficult to ignore because she took pictures of Tolstoy.

Alexandra Popoff – Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography

Alexandra Popoff – Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography
New York Free Press, 2010

Based on previously unavailable archival materials, this biography changes the negative perception of Leo Tolstoy’s wife, Sophia. Her life has been long misinterpreted, so my goal was to provide accurate
information and tell her true story.

In 2002, when I began my research for Sophia Tolstoy: A Biography, I discovered that a memoir by Leo Tolstoy‘s wife remained unpublished. It was almost unbelievable — and I wanted to understand why this happened. I was fortunate to receive access to Sophia’s file and spent six years researching and writing her biography. What I learned from Sophia’s memoir, letters, and other prose, changed my perspective of this woman and her marriage.

The popular view of Sophia Tolstoy
The myth of Sophia as a shrew, perennially at war with Tolstoy, is a century old. She is still perceived mainly as a spoilt aristocrat and mercenary. When I watched The Last Station I thought that Helen Mirren created an interesting character, but it’s strikingly different from what Sophia was like.

Ironically, the marriage that yielded such great works as War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and The Kreutzer Sonata became known as one of the unhappiest in literary history.

Why was Sophia maligned?
Sophia was judged by her final year with Tolstoy and by people hostile to her — the great man’s disciples, particularly Vladimir Chertkov, a vain man who wanted to establish himself as the person closest to Tolstoy. He led a smear campaign against Sophia and described Tolstoy’s marriage as martyrdom.

To understand why there are still many misconceptions about Sophia and her role we need to know that for most of the twentieth century it was impossible to publish essential documents in her favor.

What’s the most surprising thing about Sophia that you discovered?
The character of this remarkable woman was unlike the portrayals. She handled Tolstoy’s publishing affairs and their family’s business affairs, while also raising a large family. I was impressed with her capacity for hard work: a mother of 13, who herself nursed and educated their children, she was also a successful publisher, translator, and photographer. A lot of her labor went into Tolstoy’s novels, which she copied and produced. She also worked alongside Tolstoy during the famine relief.

What impact did Sophia have on Tolstoy’s writing?
Sophia loved Tolstoy’s art and inspired his best achievement. When using her as a model in War and Peace and Anna Karenina, Tolstoy projected his ideal of family happiness. He continued to model his heroines on Sophia in his late fiction, most memorably in The Kreutzer Sonata, but then his ideal changed to another extreme.

As Sophia remarked, Tolstoy put her at the center of all his fantasies. She was central to his creativity and it is impossible to imagine his life and works without her.

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Laundry as well as dry your hands entirely. This will remove any type of excess polish remover and also appropriately get ready for the application procedure.

Nail Acrylic Powder

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Malaysian Body Wave

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Lamp for Epson Projector

In terms of multimedia presentations, LCD projectors have proven to offer outstanding image quality and high resolutions. However, if your projector all of a sudden cannot work and you need to present a proposition with potential customers, it could cause your business to lose money, or worse, it might trigger your task.

The most typical issue of projectors is the unexpected stress out of LCD projector lamps. Fortunately, these LCD projector lamps can be quickly changed. Although anybody can replace the lamps for your LCD projector, picking the lamp for Epson projector can be a frustrating task. You need to ensure that the kind of light you buy works with your projector.

A high-quality lamp for Epson projector should have the ability to run for over 4,000 hours. However, the measurements of light life are not trusted due to the fact that the light can still work, even if it ends up being dimmer. For this factor, you have to check the “peak lamp life” noted in many makers of LCD projector lamps, which provides users with information of the overall brightness a particular lamp could offer.

Picking a top quality light for your LCD projector must be your very first concern, rather of rate. Compared to the inexpensive halogen lamps that last about 70 hours, metal halide lamps can work up to 500 hours. Significance, the more pricey lamp for Epson projector you pick, the longer-lasting life it would offer.

Ways to Choose an lamp for Epson projector

There are just two types of lamps utilized in LCD projectors – metal halide and tungsten halogen. In order to select a quality lamp for Epson projector, you need to understand how every one works.

A metal-halide light offers better brightness, but lower consumption of power. Know that lamp wattages do not show the brightness. Metal-halide LCD projector lamps are more effective due to the fact that it could supply your projector with a really white light up until the end of its life.

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Lamp for Epson Projector

Although metal-halide LCD projector lights are more expensive, they might supply over 2,000 hours compared with the tungsten-halogen lights’ 70 hours of operation. Understand that lights of your projectors might last longer when you run them in “economy mode”, which immediately cools off when the projector becomes idle.

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Cooling Tower Fill

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Cooling Tower Fill

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