My Life

Edited by: Andrew Donskov

1192 Pages · February 21 2011

Cloth ISBN: 9780776630427

PDF ISBN: 9780776619224

ePub ISBN: 9780776619217

Availability: In stock

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My Life
Editor’s Note
Selected Genealogy
Introduction: “Sofia Andreevna Tolstaya: An Insider’s Perspective”
My Life
Part I (1840s–1862)
Part II (1862–1875)
Part III (1876–1883)
Part IV (1884–1888)
Part V (1889–1891)
Part VI (1892–1895)
Part VII (1896–1899)
Part VIII (1900–1901)
Appendix: Poems Cited
Outline of Chapters
Index of References to Tolstoy’s Works
Index of Names

Author Bio

Andrew Donskov is professor of Russian Literature and director of the Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa. He has authored and edited many books on Tolstoy, including Leo Tolstoy and the Canadian Doukhobors (Carleton University Centre for Research on Canadian-Russian Relations, 2005). 
John Woodsworth is a research associate with the Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa and a member of the Literary Translators' Association of Canada. He has been a professional translator for over forty-five years and has translated more than 20 books.
Arkadi Klioutchanski is a doctoral student of the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures at the University of Toronto. He is a research associate with the Slavic Research Group at the University of Ottawa, where he also teaches Russian.


AAUP Book, Jacket, and Journal Show, Scholarly Typographic, US, 2011


Sofia Andreevna’s My Life is a monumental
work in many ways (…) My Life exhibits such a wealth of vivid
impressions that reading it gives one a sense of what it was like to live in
Russia in the latter half of the nineteenth century. The volume is also a
monument of exacting and thoughtful research as well as lucid, eminently
readable translation. (…) My Life is priceless for its many candid
eyewitness portraits of personages important to historians and scholars of
Russia’s arts (…) (It is v)aluable for its uniquely down- to-earth vignettes of
life in their time: fighting a house fire with buckets, worrying about the
malign moral influence of neighboring peasant boys on their sons at Yasnaya
Polyana, sleeping under the stars at Samara, playing Haydn symphonies in piano
four-hands arrangements, and most haunting of all, breastfeeding their moribund
infants. (…) My Life is also a considerable achievement in that Sofia
Andreevna vividly conveys herself as an involved, indeed feisty, woman of her
times, yet also one willing to candidly share her sensuality and fantasies of
having an affair. The Tolstoy Museum and the translators are to be thanked for
this massive and extremely complicated labor of evident love. Andrew Donskov
introduces it with a disciplined account of both her life and their painstaking
Methods. (…) It is incredible that they managed to translate, edit, and
organize this massive text with such consistency in so little time in order to
be published simultaneously with the original.

Version of Record online: 3 SEP 2012, DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9434.2012.00674.x

Brett Cooke, Volume 71, Issue 4

“As the archives have opened up, the tide has turned. The Leo Tolstoy State Museum allowed Andrew Donskov, a Russian scholar at the University of Ottawa, to bring out an English translation of My Life, published in 2010 by the University of Ottawa Press, and to publish her collected literary works in Russian.”

William Grimes

“The demythologization is bracing; it expands our awareness of the complex internal life of the great writer. Sofia’s text will provide further stimulus for Tolstoy scholarship. Its rich real-life details provide material both for historians and literary scholars. The book is well translated and splendidly edited.”

Myroslav Shkandrij, University of Toronto Quarterly, 82:3, pp. 589-590

The story of how the University of Ottawa Press
acquired this essential document of Russian literature is as interesting as the
book itself, which is considerably. Married to a literary colossus for 48
years, and herself a woman of character and great intelligence, Tolstaya
provides, in this huge work, enormous insights not only into Tolstoy and their
marriage, but into Russian life. A real find. 

Jeremy Mesiano-Crookston

"...the memoirs detail Leo Tolstory's mannerisms, talents, and strengths in the roles he fulfilled as husband, father, and writer. (...) '[My Life] offers a rich opportunity for further investigation by both young and seasoned researchers (...) This is a truly remarkable piece of literature.'"

Charlotte Bailey