Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy (1828-1910) was a Russian writer of novels and short stories. His two most famous works, WAR AND PEACE and ANNA KARENINA, are considered to be two of the greatest novels of all time; many consider Tolstoy to be one of the world's greatest writers. Born to an old noble family, Tolstoy studied briefly at university before running up gambling debts and joining the army where he began writing. In his later years Tolstoy became an anarchist and devout Christian, eventually resolving to become a wandering ascetic. He perished of pneumonia at age 82, having left home in the winter to begin his journeys.