Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya and The Last Station: Fact or Fiction?

Have you seen the movie The Last Station? The movie is nominated for two Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards. One is for best actress; Helen Mirren has been selected for her portrayal of Countess Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya. The University of Ottawa Press will be publishing Tolstaya’s memoirs, titled My Life later this spring.

Who is Countess Tolstaya? If you haven’t already seen The Last Station or read Jay Parini’s 1990 novel of the same name, Tolstaya was the wife of Leo Tolstoy, one of the most influential writers of all time. Towards the end of his life, Tolstoy argued for pacifism and a mystical Christian communism. He renounced his noble title and his property in favor of poverty, vegetarianism and celibacy. These radical beliefs, and the conflict they created in the Tolstoys’ marriage, are the context in which The Last Station takes place.

The movie follows the last year of Tolstoy’s life, 1910. In My Life, Tolstaya reflects on her life from her early childhood until 1901. She paints an entirely different portrait of her life with Tolstoy, and deals directly with many of the issues raised in The Last Station, such as their conflict over Tolstoy’s spiritual beliefs and the constant presence of the media.

For more information about My Life, visit our website.

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