Through never-before-seen photographs and intriguing personal diaries, this beautiful book provides an intimate glimpse into the lives of Countess Sophia Tolstoy and her husband, Leo Tolstoyone of the greatest authors of all timeset against the grand and terrifying backdrop of aristocratic Russia on the brink of its demise. Autobiographical in nature, yet global in its true scope, Song Without Words brings to light the gifts of a major figure whose previously unknown works enrich our knowledge of literature, photography, and history.
Between 1885 and 1910, Countess Tolstoy made more than a thousand photographs representing her entire worldfrom artists to aristocrats to peasants to family, from the Crimea to Moscow to the family estate 100 kilometers to the south. She also kept detailed diaries, which sweep us into fashionable balls and local gossip, magical scenes of winter in Russia, and devastating famine in the countryside. Sophia's works deepen our understanding of the era as well as of this amazing woman, who had thirteen children, battled a troubled marriage, and, though blessed with a creative life of her own, was so devoted to her husband's career that she hand-copied his great works Anna Karenina and War and Peace many times over.
"...portrays the glamorous world of the countess and her famous author husband."Publishers Weekly
"Bendavid-Val's beautifully presented book elegantly exposes&Sonya's considerable skills as a diarist and, at a time when cameras were rare in Russia, as a wonderfully naturalistic photographer of prerevolutionary estate life."Vogue
"Not only are the photographs masterful...but the diary entries, the observations, and the mere facts of this remarkable woman's life loom large. "Culturecatch.com
"This elegantly designed book beautifully reproduces 180 never-before published photographs of Sophia Andreyevna Tolstoy... The author of two books on Russian photography, Bendavid-Val's informed commentary weaves among the accompanying excerpts from Sophia's and her famous husband's deeply personal diaries to present a rich portrait of two extraordinary people living amid the dramatic changes in late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century Russia. Song Without Words serves to move her indomitable spirit to its rightful place alongside that of her famous husband." Visual Resources