Video: "Why do I need you?": Sophia and the evil love of Leo Tolstoy
2023 Author: Richard Flannagan | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-26 05:58
Leo Tolstoy, whom everyone knows from the school curriculum, is a mighty mind and a wide-hearted old man. He is sorry for everyone, he cares for everyone and generously shares his deep thoughts about everything in the world. But the records of Tolstoy himself, and his wife Sophia, and their children, denounce him as a petty tyrant of the home. If it seemed to you while reading "Karenina" or "War and Peace" that he was heartless and cruel to people, then it did not seem to you. It's just that this ruthlessness is usually passed off as a struggle for morality.
The beginning of their romance was like a fairy tale. A wise man who has seen a lot in his life, who does not even think to take the views of a young girl to heart. And the girl who manages to convince him of the seriousness of her feelings by writing a story about their still unfulfilled love.
Sophia Bers was, almost like in a fairy tale, one of the three daughters of a doctor at the Moscow palace office. The girls were spoiled. They received the best upbringing and education that was generally possible for a girl at that time. Sophia Bers wrote good stories, had a diploma that allowed her to teach at home, and was very nice on the outside. No one could have imagined that by marrying a representative of a respected noble family, she would immediately find herself in the position of a servant. And this is not a figure of speech.
First of all, having brought a young wife to the house, he fired the manager. Now the wife had to look after the estate, keep the bookkeeping, prepare the groceries going to the kitchen, and replace the cook when he was drunk. And before going to bed (and usually after the evening, sorry, marital duties) she sat down to work as a secretary - she copied in legible handwriting what Tolstoy had written in a day. And the next day I copied the same thing plus a new portion again. Tolstoy was not in the habit of letting the text sit and give the corrected one for correspondence, but he made corrections all at once, one by two, and Sophia had to write down each version.
No payment or gratitude, even in the form of buying the notorious outfits as a gift, was not expected for her dedication. Sophia performed the duties of several different servants, moreover, giving birth and caring for children. After the sixth child, doctors warned that the mother's body was so worn out that babies would be born dead or die at a very early age. She was advised to wait with the next pregnancy.
In response to this news, Tolstoy told the mother of his five (surviving) children, the permanent secretary, the manager and the accountant: “If you won't give birth anymore, why do I need you at all?” As a result, Tolstaya carried children to watch later as they die: two lost in infancy, one miscarriage, and all this one after another. Tolstoy himself, by the way, could not stand small children up close, never hugged or kissed, preferred to admire from afar, like a picture.
In the deaths of children, Lev Nikolaevich was not only happy with everything - he was pleased. The fact is that in life Tolstoy was very fond of experiencing sympathy, pity for someone suffering. Sofya Andreevna wrote in her diary that when she is cheerful, communicates with people, flourishes, her husband becomes gloomy. When it is hard for her, on the contrary, he becomes sweet, caring and happy. It is not clear whether Tolstoy was aware of his feelings, but the highest bliss for him was to watch someone die. This can be seen from his diaries.
Once Sofya Andreevna fell seriously ill. To survive, she needed a surgical operation: removal of a purulent cyst. Otherwise, it was not just death that awaited her, but a painful death. The doctor was called. He spoke to Tolstoy, and the writer's reaction struck him unpleasantly. At first, Tolstoy responded with a resolute refusal, and only under pressure from relatives and the doctor said, they say, do what you want. The operation was successful, Sofya Andreevna survived.
The Tolstoy's daughter, Alexandra, recalled that before the arrival of the doctor, her father enthusiastically watched her mother's illness, catching all her painful sighs and being moved by how steadfastly she met death. The operation literally deprived him of this pleasure. In order for Lev Nikolaevich to feel the seriousness of the situation, the doctors showed him an excised tumor the size of a child's head. The writer looked at her indifferently. He was disappointed, according to his daughter's definition - he felt cheated.
However, he soon managed to enjoy the spectacle of someone else's death in full. Two months later, daughter Maria burned out from pneumonia. Father again caught her every breath, watched the process of dying very carefully, as if reveling in it. The same strange drunkenness, delight from his own affection at the sight of a dying loved one is seen in his notes about the death of his son Vanya.
Later, Tolstoy wrote about his wife's illness: “I looked at her all the time, as she was dying: surprisingly calm. For me - she was a being unfolding before my opening. I watched its opening, and it was joyful to me. " Surprisingly, he describes someone else's death in the same way as the killer maniac from the movie "Red Dragon" (to create an image of which, they say, the author of the book and the screenwriters studied the psychology of real maniacs). One can only be glad that Tolstoy patiently waited for the suffering of others, and did not try to torture people himself. Well, except for the cruel demands on his wife.
After his daughter Maria had already died, he did not even really say goodbye to the body, completely losing interest in the deceased.
A typical example of how Tolstoy communicated and treated his wife is the scene around the birth of his daughter Alexandra. Sofya Andreevna felt ill: the pregnancy was not the first, the woman was severely emaciated. Lev Nikolaevich, as usual, went to her to talk about his guilt before humanity. But it was probably not the first time that the wife felt hurt that the husband readily feels guilt before humanity, but never before her. She expressed her resentment to him, a quarrel broke out, Tolstoy proudly walked off into the night. In the meantime, Sofia Andreevna's contractions began. Son Ilya brought her home.
Tolstoy returned around midnight. Childbirth was very difficult, mortality among women in childbirth at that time was high, so Sophia came to her husband's room to say goodbye: "I may die." Lev Nikolaevich, as if nothing had happened, continued his speech from the moment where her wife cut short in the garden. Yes, I started talking further about my guilt and humanity.
Probably, this is all that we need to know about the great human being and the luminary of humanism Leo Tolstoy in order to adequately assess his personality and his prose.
Fortunately, not all writers are like that. the love story of Gabriel Marquez and Mercedes Barga. - a clear proof of this. She did not leave him in poverty and obscurity - he did not leave her in fame and wealth.
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