Rollover Information
About the Series Schedule The Archive Learning Resources The American Collection Home Search Shop
Anna Karenina Links and Bibliography The Forum Teacher's Guide Novel to Film A Tolstoy Timeline Who's Who Essays + Interviews Masterpiece Theatre Anna Karenina
A Tolstoy Timeline [imagemap with 6 links]

Personal Events | Professional Events | World Events

Personal events

1814:Father's fortunes suffer
Count Nicolay Ilich Tolstoy, scion of a noble family, is freed from his French captors when the allied forces enter Paris. He returns home to find the family fortune has been squandered by his father.

1821:Mother inherits vast wealth
Princess Marya Nikolayevna Volkonsky, 31, a spinster with no plans to marry, inherits her father's vast estates at Yasnaya Polyana, 130 miles from Moscow.

1822:A "Marriage of Reason"
On July 9, Nicolay Tolstoy weds Marya Volkonsky. The bride's dowry includes 800 male serfs. The groom brings only his illustrious name and a distant female cousin, Toinette, his lifelong confidante.

1828:Tolstoy is born
Leo Nicolayevich Tolstoy is born on August 28 at Yasnaya Polyana.

1830:Leo's mother dies
In February, Leo's sister, Marya, is born. The Countess dies six months later, just before her 40th birthday. "Aunt" Toinette takes on the responsibility of rearing the children.

1835:Nicolai inspires little Leo
Older brother Nicolai tells Leo a magical green stick is buried near a ravine in the Zakaz forest where they play. On it, he says, are carved words that can destroy all evil in the hearts of men. Leo will remember this all his life.

1836:Toinette refuses an offer of marriage
Leo's father proposes to Toinette. She refuses, but promises to continue to rear the children.

1837:The Tolstoys go to Moscow
In January, the family moves to Moscow for the sake of the older boys' education.

Leo's father dies
On June 21, Leo's father drops dead of apoplexy. Their father's older sister, Aline, becomes the children's legal guardian; they are also cared for by Toinette and their grandmother.

1838:Family disruption
In May, Leo's grandmother dies, and the family splits up. Leo, now 10, returns to Yasnaya Polyana under Toinette's care, with Dmitry (11) and Marya (8).

1841:Another dislocation
Aunt Aline dies. Guardianship of the children now passes to another of their father's sisters, Pelagya, a lifelong enemy of Toinette's. The children go to her home in Kazan on the Volga River.

1844:Tolstoy's future wife is born
In August, Sofya Andreyevna Behrs ("Sonya") is born.

1845:Leo's formal education begins
Leo enters the University of Kazan to study Oriental languages. He is a poor and undisciplined student.

Loss of innocence
Dragged to a brothel by his brothers, Leo loses his virginity. Afterwards, he breaks down and cries. This is the start of a complex relationship with sex that Leo will explore personally and in his work through the rest of his life.

1846:Awakenings as a writer
On summer vacation at Yasnaya Polyana, Leo begins writing a philosophical and poetic Miscellany, a critique of Russian society, and a treatise on property management.

1847:Leo invents "Rules of Life"
In January, Leo begins to keep an extensive diary of thoughts, actions, and high-minded resolutions.

Back to the land
Leo takes possession of his portion of the inheritance: 4,000 acres and 350 serfs at Yasnaya Polyana. He invites Aunt Toinette to live with him. Later, Leo moves to Moscow, where he begins to gamble compulsively.

1849:A try at the law
In January, Tolstoy moves to St. Petersburg to take his law exams, but runs up huge gambling debts instead. He sells acreage and serfs to cover his debts, then returns to Yasnaya Polyana.

1850:A return to Moscow
Leo returns to Moscow hoping to find and marry a rich wife. Instead, his gambling losses mount, and he is forced to log his forests, mortgage acreage, and pawn his watch.

A wild lifestyle
Making and breaking resolution after resolution to lead a virtuous life, Leo spends long drunken evenings gambling and partying.

1851:Leo joins the army
Leo travels to the Caucasus with his brother Nicolai, an artillery lieutenant, and enlists as an artillery cadet. He begins work on an autobiographical novel, which will become Childhood.

1854:Transfer to Bucharest
Now an ensign, Leo is transferred to the army of the Danube. He talks his way into a comfortable assignment in Bucharest and finishes writing Boyhood.

Family home dismantled
To pay off mounting gambling debts, Leo orders the main house at Yasnaya Polyana taken down, sold, and removed from the land.

Tolstoy goes to the front
Shamed by the death in battle of a close friend, Leo requests a transfer to the Crimea. Now a second lieutenant in the artillery, he arrives at the fortress city of Sevastopol in November.

1855:Gambling losses
Leo gambles away all the money reaped from the sale of the family home.

Troubled by "fits of lust" and "criminal sloth," Tolstoy conceives "a new religion of Christ, divested of faith and mysteries," a "practical religion." The seeds of Tolstoyism are planted.

1856:Tuberculosis kills Dmitry
In January, Leo visits his dying brother. A religious ascetic who succumbed to vice in his 20s, Dmitry is nursed by Masha, a former prostitute whose freedom he bought. His death will become part of Anna Karenina.

Tolstoy attempts to free his serfs
Leo devises a plan to free his "muzhiks" and ultimately transfer to them the land they now farm for his profit. They refuse the plan, convinced he is trying to trick them.

Leo travels to Europe. In Paris, he resumes a friendship with Ivan Turgenev; in Switzerland, he renews his acquaintance with his aunt Alexandra Tolstoy.

Infidelity destroys a marriage
Leo's sister, Marya, leaves her husband, saying, "I do not intend to be the favorite sultana in his harem." Appalled by the scandal, Leo will explore marital infidelity famously in Anna Karenina.

1858:Bear attack
Leo is scarred for life by a bear who surprises him while hunting. Displaying strength and courage, he kills it at point-blank range.

1859:Educating the serfs
Leo's establishment of a school in his home to educate the children of his serfs creates considerable parental distrust.

Axinya Bazykin
Tolstoy begins a relationship with a married peasant, Axinya Bazykin. She is his mistress for three years and bears him a son, Timothy.

1861:Turgenev and Tolstoy sever relations
Leo and Turgenev argue over the education of Turgenev's daughter. They fight and do not speak to one another again for 17 years.

Leo falls in love with the 17-year-old Sonya Behrs.

In September, a week after his proposal, Leo and Sonya marry. Before the wedding, he asks her to read his personal diaries. She is devastated but forgiving. Many details of their courtship appear in Levin and Kitty's romance in Anna Karenina.

1863:A pattern of jealousy
Leo and Sonya agree to read each other's diaries. The activity provokes jealousies on both sides, and sets a pattern for the rest of their marriage.

Changes at Yasnaya Polyana
At Sonya's urging, Leo closes his schools, abandoning the task he had called "the supreme goal of his life." Though a teenager, Sonya proves adept at management and gradually assumes major responsibility for the estate.

Sergey is born
In June, the Tolstoys' first child, a son, is born. Leo and Sonya settle into a mutually fulfilling routine: Leo writes during the day, and Sonya recopies his drafts in the evening.

1864:Tanya is born
A daughter, Tanya, is born in the fall.

1866:Ilya is born
A son, Ilya, is born in May.

1869:Leo is born
In May, the Tolstoys' fourth child, Leo, is born. As an adult, Leo's relationship with his father will be embittered and adversarial.

Psychological crisis
Depleted and restless after completing War and Peace, Leo sets out to buy more land in a distant district. In Arzamas he is seized by a despair and terror he will struggle with throughout the rest of his life.

1870:Country life
Working in the fields with the peasants around the estate gives Leo deep satisfaction. He also takes up ancient Greek.

1871:Marya is born
The Tolstoys' fifth child, Marya, is born in February. Sonya falls ill after a difficult labor but recovers.

In the spring, Tolstoy sinks into depression. A journey to the steppes of Samara lifts his spirits; he buys 6,700 acres of land to raise horses. He returns to Samara every summer for seven years.

1872:Petya is born
Sonya gives birth to a sixth child, another son, in the spring.

1873:Return to Samara
Tolstoy brings his family to the new estate in Samara for the first time. A famine has gripped the region. Through letters published in the newspapers, he raises money for relief.

Son Petya dies
In November, 18-month-old Petya dies suddenly of croup.

1874:Nicholas born; Toinette dies
Sonya gives birth to their seventh child, Nicholas. In June, Aunt Toinette, Leo's emotional "mother" from the age of 2, dies.

1875:Nicholas dies
Leo and Sonya discover that infant Nicholas is afflicted with water on the brain. He dies in February.

A third child dies
Pregnant again, Sonya must nurse several of her children through croup. She falls seriously ill herself. In October she gives birth prematurely to their eighth child, a girl, who dies.

1877:Andrey is born
In December, Sonya gives birth to another son, Andrey, their ninth child.

1878:Tolstoy turns 50
At the peak of his literary success, Leo is obsessed by a feeling of futility and struggles against the impulse to commit suicide.

1881:Alexis is born
Another son, Alexis, is born while Sonya is with the children in Moscow and Leo is in Samara.

Drawn by his ideological essays, followers begin to embrace Tolstoyism.

1883:Sonya takes charge
After threatening to leave, Leo gives Sonya power of attorney to manage his property.

Tolstoy meets chertkov
Vladimir Chertkov, a wealthy army officer from St. Petersburg, is drawn to Leo's ideas. The two form a bond, and Chertkov becomes Leo's lead disciple, agent, and Sonya's chief rival.

1884:Tolstoy the shoemaker
At 56, Leo apprentices himself to learn the trade of a bootmaker. He is also reading Chinese philosophy.

Alexandra is born
40-year-old Sonya secretly tries to induce an abortion, knowing Leo will think it against God's law. But in June, she gives birth to Alexandra ("Sasha").

1886:Alexis dies.
In January, Alexis falls ill and dies at age 4 1/2. The Tolstoys have now buried four children.

1888:Ivan born; Ilya marries
After 25 years of marriage, Leo and Sonya's last child, Ivan ("Vanichka") is born. Their son Ilya, 22, becomes the first of the children to marry.

Beethoven's inspiration
After hearing Beethoven's Kreutzer Sonata a second time (the first was said to have inspired son Ivan's conception), Leo is inspired to create a work of art.

Tolstoy preaches abstinence
Having given up hunting, meat, tobacco, and liquor, Leo is increasingly obsessed with chastity. He now publicly preaches sexual abstinence, although he does not practice it.

1890:Marya ("Masha") displaces Sonya
As Leo and Sonya become more estranged, their daughter Masha, 19, eagerly becomes his copyist; the bond between father and daughter deepens. Sonya is fiercely jealous.

1891:Tolstoy renounces his possessions
Leo announces that he will give away all his property to the peasants, although Sonya and their sons object. Finally, Leo agrees to bequeath everything to the family. Months of bitter bargaining begin.

1892:Property is divided
Honoring her father's values, Masha refuses her share of Tolstoy's property. Predicting a change of heart in her daughter, Sonya sets Masha's portion aside.

1893:Relief effort
As Russia's famine persists for a second year, the Tolstoys work in the provinces. United in service to others, their relationship improves.

A propaganda effort to discredit Leo as a dangerous revolutionary is launched by the Russian government.

Alexandra Tolstoy averts Leo's exile
Aware that Leo's arrest or deportation may be imminent, his Aunt Alexandra, a member of the Tsar's court, pleads with Alexander III to spare "the greatest genius in all Russia." To avoid creating a martyr, he agrees.

1895:Vanichka dies
In March, little Ivan dies of scarlet fever. Sonya is shattered.

Tolstoy the survivor
Leo takes refuge in his spiritual life, his work, and, at 67, learns to ride a bicycle. Among the summer's visitors is 35-year-old Anton Chekhov, who becomes a trusted friend.

Tolstoy drafts a will
Leo writes a letter bequeathing all copyright to his works to the public at his death, but does not sign the document.

Chertkov arrives
Tolstoy's publishing partner and closest disciple, Chertkov, moves near Yasnaya Polyana.

1897:Sonya's affair
Sonya falls in love with a musician, 40-year-old Sergey Tanayev. Although it is platonic, 13-year-old Sasha is acutely aware of her mother's attachment and joins her father in objecting to the relationship.

Both Masha and Tanya marry
When Leo's two loyal daughters find love, he unsuccessfully tries to dissuade them from marriage. As her mother had predicted, Masha reclaims her inheritance for her dowry.

Persecution of Tolstoyians
Because Leo is revered by the public, the imperial government exiles his two closest disciples, Chertkov and Paul Biryukov, for their work on behalf of the Dukhobors in the Caucasus.

1901:The church exiles Tolstoy.
Resurrection's attacks on the Russian Orthodox Church prompt the Holy Synod to excommunicate Leo. He publishes his own credo; the public rallies behind him.

Return to the Crimea
Forty-six years after the fall of Sevastopol, Leo returns to the Black Sea to convalesce from an illness. He spends time with Chekhov, Maxim Gorky, and the Tsar's uncle, Grand Duke Nicolai.

1902:An appeal to Tsar Nicholas
Leo sends a letter to the Tsar, warning that autocracy is doomed and pleading that he give the nation its freedom to avoid a civil war. The Tsar does not reply, and police surveillance increases.

Return to Yasnaya Polyana
In June, Leo returns to his birthplace. He now lives there year round.

1905:Tolstoy speaks against the revolts
As revolutionary violence spreads through Russia, Leo condemns Marxist materialism and Imperial repression. He feels spiritual reform must precede political action.

1906:Sonya falls ill
When Sonya is diagnosed with a tumor, Leo hesitates to allow surgery, sensing that she is spiritually ready to die. Finally he relents. The surgery is successful, and Sonya recovers.

Masha dies
In November, the daughter who has been closest to Leo falls ill with pneumonia and dies.

1907:Chertkov returns
After 10 years in exile, Leo's chief disciple returns to Russia. The struggle with Sonya intensifies, but Leo grants Chertkov increasing editorial and financial control.

Armed guards
Vandalism by peasants at Yasnaya Polyana prompts Sonya to ask the governor for armed guards. Leo objects, but no longer controls the estate.

1908:A will
Bedridden, Leo drafts a will. It specifies that upon his death all copyrights to his books are to become public property and he is to be buried in the Zakaz forest.

Secretary arrested
In August, Leo's private secretary, Gusev, is arrested and deported for circulating revolutionary propaganda.

1909:A secret will
Chertkov draws up a new will for Leo, giving him control of all Leo's manuscripts, including the private diaries. Sonya is not told.

Leaving Moscow, Leo and Sonya are mobbed by thousands of enthusiastic citizens. Hours later, a stroke leaves Leo paralyzed and delirious.

1910:War over the diaries
Fearful of Chertkov's designs, Sonya now becomes obsessed with gaining possession of Leo's private diaries.

Death and burial
Fleeing to the Caucasus by train, Leo falls ill and dies in Astapovo. The Orthodox church bans memorial services. Leo is buried near the mythical stick his brother told him about as a child.

Professional events

1851:Tolstoy begins to write
While an artillery cadet in the Caucasus, Leo begins work on an autobiographical novel which will become Childhood, his first published work.

Leo anonymously sends the manuscript of Childhood to the editor of the famed St. Petersburg journal The Contemporary. Serialized under the initials L.N., Childhood is a popular and critical success.

1853:"The Raid"
Still stationed in the Caucasus, Leo publishes the short story "The Raid." The story, about his experiences in Chechnya, is heavily censored by the government.

Along with several of his short stories, The Contemporary publishes Boyhood. Like Childhood, this sequel is also written in the first person and is deeply autobiographical.

1855:Sevastopol Sketches
In May, the first installment of Sevastopol Sketches is published in The Contemporary, bringing the reality of the soldier's war home to the public. Even the new Tsar, Alexander II, reads it. The second of the Sketches is heavily censored.

1856:Authorship revealed
In January, the third of the Sevastopol Sketches is published, describing the fall of the city. Leo's name is revealed for the first time. Fiction follows, including A Landlord's Morning, based on his failed effort to free his serfs.

Youth, the third installment of Leo's autobiographical trilogy, is published.

1859:"Family Happiness"
Based on the emotional aftermath -- humiliation and alienation -- of Leo's ambivalent relationship with Valerya Arsenyev, "Happiness" is well received. In an atmosphere of increasingly politicized literature, Leo rejects a political role for the arts.

1863:The Cossacks is published
Six years after starting it, Leo publishes The Cossacks, a novel which grew out of his army experiences in the Caucasus during the 1850s. It garners mixed success.

1865:The Year 1805
An historical novel, The Year 1805, begins publication in the Russian Herald in February, but excites little interest. Leo's friends are disappointed; Turgenev finds it boring. Its serialization is discontinued.

1867:War and Peace
After an intensive year of research and writing, three volumes of War and Peace are published, with a fourth due the following spring. There will be six in all. The final title is borrowed from a tract of anarchist Pierre-Joseph Proudhon.

1869:War and Peace completed
In early December, the sixth and final volume of the novel reaches booksellers. Acclaim for the novel is rivaled by the controversy and debate it arouses.

1870:Two new ideas
Leo makes plans for a novel set in the time of Peter the Great. He also has an idea for a novel about an adulterous woman of the upper class.

1871:Literacy, not literature
Abandoning literature, Leo embraces education again, authoring a series of Primers to help new students learn to read. Rejecting the phonetic approach, he encounters much criticism, but nearly a million Primers will be sold during his lifetime.

1873:Work begins on Anna Karenina
In March, Leo abandons his novel about Peter the Great and instead begins a novel about private life in contemporary Russia. His subject is the adultery of an unfaithful wife.

1875:Anna Karenina, Part I
The first chapters of Anna Karenina are published in the Russian Herald. The response is overwhelmingly positive; Leo is under great pressure to meet deadlines despite tragedy in his personal life.

1877:Serbian war
Greatly upset by Russia's new war fever on behalf of Serbia, Leo introduces his sentiments into the final chapters of Anna Karenina. The Russian Herald refuses to publish the novel's conclusion.

1878:Anna Karenina, the book
Early in the year, Leo's enormously successful novel is published in book form for the first time, with the original ending intact.

1880:A Criticism of Dogmatic Theology
The imperial government, a close ally of the Orthodox faith, censors publication of A Criticism of Dogmatic Theology, which attacks the church for distorting Christ's message. Still, the essay is widely circulated.

1882:The Census of Moscow
A volunteer census-taker, Leo goes door to door in the most impoverished district of Moscow and then publishes an article describing the suffering he encountered there.

Confession and The Gospels
Leo's autobiographical Confession is seized by the police upon publication. In Union and Translation of the Four Gospels, he rearranges the Christian New Testament gospels into a single narrative, which he reinterprets.

1884:What I Believe
Leo's credo contains six precepts drawn from the Sermon on the Mount: love God and thy neighbor as thyself, avoid anger, adultery, profanity, naming anyone an enemy, and resisting evil with evil. The censor destroys all printed copies.

Leo wants mankind rather than his family to benefit from his labor, but finally grants Sonya the rights to all works published before 1881, his most lucrative titles.

Tolstoy and Chertkov become partners
Leo starts the Intermediary Publishing Company with Vladimir Chertkov as a means of producing good, inexpensive books for the people. Thousands of texts will be sold.

1886:"The Death of Ivan Ilich"
Leo publishes a powerful story about a government official who must come to terms with the fact that he is dying. He continues to write moral essays, stories for his publishing house, and plays.

1890:The Kreutzer Sonata
The Kreutzer Sonata, a portrait of the agony of marriage that draws heavily on details from his own life, is censored, although widely read via private circulation.

On Life
In a 35-chapter essay originally titled On Life and Death, Leo asserts that death does not really exist for those who are spiritually awake.

1892:A struggle over royalties
In late July, Sonya attempts suicide as Leo prepares to announce publicly that any of his works written since 1881 may be published without payment.

1893:The Kingdom of Heaven Is Within You
The Kingdom's message of nonviolent resistance will profoundly influence the young Mohandas K. Gandhi, an Indian lawyer then living in South Africa.

1895:The Power of Darkness
Leo's play about incest and murder among the serfs, written nine years earlier and banned, is finally produced by the Moscow Art Theatre. The production is a triumph.

1897:What Is Art?
Having once rejected any social or political role for art, Leo now publishes a long essay asserting that art must be useful to the people. The type of fiction he wrote previously, he now asserts, is worthless.

The true story of a juryman who realizes he is responsible for the downfall of the woman on trial is transformed by Leo into an indictment of Russia's Imperial society on the verge of collapse.

1900:Free Thought
A Tolstoyan journal, Free Thought, is established in London by the exiled disciples Chertkov and Paul Biryukov. As Leo's censored essays are smuggled out of Russia and published, he assumes the status of an international sage.

1903:Tolstoy writes prolifically
At 75, Leo works steadily, completing two plays, The Living Corpse and Light Shines in the Darkness, and working on a novel set in Chechnya a half century earlier.

1904:Tolstoy's last novel
Leo completes Hadji Murad, a novel about Tsar Nicholas I's war against the Chechen rebel Shamir. Knowing it will be censored, he simply puts it away after eight years of work.

World events

1812:Napoléon invades Russia
After reaching Moscow, France's Grand Armée is all but destroyed in a disastrous winter retreat.

1815:The Battle of Waterloo
Outfought by the Duke of Wellington's army, Napoléon's forces meet final defeat at Waterloo.

1825:The Decembrist Revolution
Upon the death of Tsar Alexander I, reform-minded soldiers demand a constitution and support the ascension of Alexander's son Constantine to the throne. Constantine's brother Nicholas crushes the revolution.

1825:Tsar Nicholas I
Tsar Nicholas I becomes Emperor of All Russia. His 30-year reign will be marked by the flourishing of absolute monarchy and centralized bureaucracy, and the suppression of personal freedoms.

1830:Polish revolt
Following an insurrection in Warsaw against Russian rule, the Polish Diet declares independence. Russia defeats Polish forces at Ostroleka; the revolt collapses.

1837:Queen Victoria
Victoria (1819 - 1901) becomes Queen of Great Britian.

1843:Literary landmarks
Dickens publishes Martin Chuzzlewit and A Christmas Carol; Henry James is born.

1848:A year of revolution in Europe
As food shortages and economic depression spread throughout Europe, democratic revolution breaks out in France. Uprisings follow in Hungary, Germany, Austria, and Italy.

1848:Communist Manifesto
Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels publish the "Manifesto of the Communist Party." In their manifesto, they lay out the platform that will be embraced by the European socialist and communist parties of the 19th and early 20th centuries.

1853:The Crimean War
In October, Tsar Nicholas I declares war on Turkey's Ottoman Empire, sending troops to occupy the Danube Principalities (modern-day Romania). Fearing Russian territorial ambitions, France and England soon come to the Sultan's aid.

1855:The fall of Sevastopol
After months under siege, ill-supplied and -equipped Russian forces are defeated at the Black Sea fortress city of Sevastopol by French, British, and Turkish troops.

Tsar Nicholas I dies
In February, the despotic tyrant who initiated the Crimean War and expanded Russia's secret police is succeeded by Alexander II, a sovereign the Russian people hope will be more humane.

1856:War ends; reform begins
The Treaty of Paris ends Russia's control of the Black Sea and the mouth of the Danube. Convinced by the defeat that Russia must modernize, Tsar Alexander II promises greater legal rights for citizens and opens debate on freeing the serfs.

1859:The Origin of Species
British naturalist Charles Darwin publishes his theory of evolutionary selection in On the Origin of the Species by Means of Natural Selection.

1861:Emancipation for Russia's serfs
In March, Tsar Alexander II issues a complex proclamation laying out the process by which serfs can gain freedom and acquire property. A great transformation of the Russian economy begins.

1861:The American Civil War begins
With the abolition of slavery a key dispute, war erupts between the North and South in the United States.

1865:Lincoln assassinated
Abraham Lincoln is assassinated on April 14; Andrew Johnson succeeds him as president of the United States.

1870:The Franco-Prussian War
To regain diplomatic and military prestige, France declares war on Prussia but is defeated. The following year, Prussia's King William I will be proclaimed German emperor Kaiser Wilhelm I at Versailles.

Siege of Paris
Revolting against France and Germany's peace agreement, Parisians seize their city and create the Commune of Paris. Adolphe Thiers defeats the uprising and becomes president of the Third French Republic.

1873:Russian opera
Rimsky-Korsakov's opera Ivan the Terrible premieres in St. Petersburg.

1876:Custer's Last Stand
On June 25, Lt. Col. George Armstrong Custer spearheads an attack on the Sioux in Montana Territory. Unaware that the Sioux outnumber his troops by the thousands, Custer leads himself and 264 men to their death at the Battle of the Little Big Horn.

1877:Russia declares war on Turkey
In April, Russia declares war on Turkey once again, siding with Serbia against the Islamic population in the Balkans. Turkey will be defeated the following year.

1877:Swan Lake
Swan Lake, a ballet with music by Russian Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky, premieres at Moscow's Bolshoi Theatre to unreceptive audiences. The music is considered too complex to play or choreograph.

1881:Fyodor Dostoyevsky dies
The Russian novelist Dostoyevsky dies of a hemorrhage at age 59.

1883:Ivan Turgenev dies
Russia's great novelist, author of A Month in the Country, Fathers and Sons, and Smoke, dies.

1884:Huckleberry Finn
Mark Twain publishes The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn. The controversial, often-censored story of a runaway white boy and an escaped black slave becomes a classic of American literature.

1886:Haymarket Square
A bomb kills seven officers in Chicago's Haymarket Square at an anarchist rally protesting the police shooting deaths of four striking workers. Eight anarchists are convicted of conspiracy. The incident heightens fears of unions, immigrants, and radicals.

1892:Famine strikes Russia
Summer drought brings on a severe famine that spreads across the central and southwestern provinces of Russia.

1894:The Dreyfus Affair
A victim of French anti-Semitism, Jewish Captain Alfred Dreyfus receives a life sentence after being falsely accused of spying for Germany. Though the evidence against him is proven a forgery, a second trial upholds his conviction. He is exonerated in 1906.

1894:Tsar Alexander III dies
Alexander III falls victim to nephritis and is succeeded by Nicholas II, a weak ruler who resorts to increasingly autocratic measures to appear strong.

1897:Zionist movement
Following the first wave of Russian immigration to Palestine, Theodore Herzl launches the Zionist movement, arguing for the establishment of a Jewish state. Tolstoy's teachings inform the growing kibbutz movement, central to Israel's founding.

1898:Spanish-American War
The United States and Spain go to war after Cuba revolts against Spain's colonial policy. After U.S. victory, the Treaty of Paris is signed in September: Cuba gains independence, and Spain must cede Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines to America.

1900:The Interpretation of Dreams
Asserting that in dreams he found the "royal road to a knowledge of the unconscious activities of the mind," Sigmund Freud publishes The Interpretation of Dreams. The book is key to Freud's creation of the still-controversial psychoanalysis.

1901:Queen Victoria dies
On January 22, Queen Victoria dies, marking the longest reign (64 years) in the history of the British monarchy. Her reign is marked by the vast expansion of the British Empire.

1903:The Souls of Black Folk
W.E.B. Du Bois publishes The Souls of Black Folk, in which he criticizes theories of accommodation to whites advanced by other black leaders of the time and advocates academic education, equal rights, and racial pride.

1904:Russo-Japanese War erupts
A surprise attack on Port Arthur by the Japanese cripples Russia's Asiatic fleet. Inferior weapons, weak infrastructure, and low morale bring a string of Russian defeats that culminate in the destruction of her Baltic fleet.

1905:The Russian Revolution awakens
Workers march on the Winter Palace in Moscow in January. After "Bloody Sunday," strikes, rural insurrections, and reactionary pogroms follow. In June, the battleship Potemkin mutinies and steams into Odessa to support striking factory workers.

1905:Russia and Japan make peace
At the instigation of President Theodore Roosevelt, the adversaries sign a treaty in September. Russia cedes Port Arthur and southern Sakhalin Island, and quits all claim to Manchuria and Korea.

1905:Nicholas II announces reforms
In October, after a general strike, the Tsar grants the Russian people freedom of assembly, the press, conscience, and speech. He also promises a parliament elected by universal suffrage, but his concessions fail to stem the revolutionary tide.

1909:Birth of the NAACP
In New York, a group of black and white intellectuals and activists found the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), originally called the National Negro Committee.

1912:Titanic sinks
On her maiden voyage, the H.M.S. Titanic sinks after colliding with an iceberg in the North Atlantic; 1,513 lives are lost.

Essays + Interviews | Who's Who | A Tolstoy Timeline
Novel to Film | Teacher's Guide | The Forum | Links and Bibliography

Home | About The Series | The American Collection | The Archive
Schedule & Season | Feature Library | eNewsletter | Book Club
Learning Resources | Forum | Search | Shop | Feedback

WGBH Logo PBS logo


Masterpiece is sponsored by: