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Count Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (/ˈtoʊlstɔɪ, ˈtɒl-/; Russian: Лев Никола́евич Толсто́й, tr. Lev Nikoláyevich Tolstóy, IPA: [lʲef nʲɪkɐˈlaɪvʲɪtɕ tɐlˈstoj] 9 September [O.S. 28 August] 1828 – 20 November [O.S. 7 November] 1910), usually referred to in English as Leo Tolstoy, was a Russian writer who is regarded as one of the greatest authors of all time.
Born to an aristocratic Russian family in 1828, he is best known for the novels War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877), often cited as pinnacles of realist fiction. He first achieved literary acclaim in his twenties with his semi-autobiographical trilogy, Childhood, Boyhood, and Youth (1852–1856), and Sevastopol Sketches (1855), based upon his experiences in the Crimean War. Tolstoy’s fiction includes dozens of short stories and several novellas such as The Death of Ivan Ilyich, Family Happiness, and Hadji Murad. He also wrote plays and numerous philosophical essays.