The Diaries of Sofia Tolstoy

From The Guardian:

Leo-Tolstoy-Sitting-with--001 For Leo Tolstoy and his extended household, diaries were an early version of Facebook. Everyone had his or her own page, and most people were fanatical recorders of their own feelings. The great man himself kept voluminous diaries, making entries almost to the day of his death. His doctor, his secretary, his disciples, his children, and – most of all – his wife also kept journals. Of these, the greatest diarist of them all was Sofia, the Countess Tolstoy.

She began keeping diaries at 16 but did so avidly after 1862, when she married Tolstoy. She never stopped writing in her journal until her death in 1919, as the Bolshevik revolution threatened to overwhelm Yasnaya Polyana, the 4,000-acre estate where she had lived for more than half a century. “There was a meeting to decide how best to defend Yasnaya Polyana against looting,” she writes in her final entry. “Nothing has yet been decided. Carts, oxen and people are streaming down the highway to Tula.” History, as it were, threatened to destroy everything she loved. Tolstoy was of noble lineage, with a large estate and many celebrated books to his name. He had travelled widely in the west, and gambling and whoring were particular obsessions. Yet he seemed willing, even eager, to settle down with an innocent girl of 19, who eventually bore him 13 children, helped him in his work (she personally copied out War and Peace as well as Anna Karenina many times), and supervised a complex estate.

More here.