Thomas Hardy was an English author who lived at approximately the same time as Tolstoy. One of the crowning achievements of his later life was a long poem, The Dynasts, written between 1903 and 1908. It is an epic drama with nineteen acts and 135 scenes that are impossible to produce for the stage. The work focuses on England’s role in the Napoleonic Wars.
Tolstoy’s other great masterpiece is Anna Karenina, his 1877 novel about an aristocratic woman’s illicit affair with a count.
Crime and Punishment is considered to be the masterpiece of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s literary career. It was published in 1866, the same year as the first installment of War and Peace.
Russian writer Ivan Turgenev was a friend of Tolstoy. Contemporary critics consider his 1862 novel Fathers and Sons to be his greatest work.
Patient readers who can work their way through this novel’s mass may be ready for Moby Dick, Herman Melville’s 1851 opus about a whaling ship captain and the object of his obsession, the great white whale of the title.
Henri Troyat’s biography, Tolstoy, was published in 1967 by Doubleday and Co. It chronicles the life and times of this intriguing author.