Tolstoy Illustrated

Tolstoy Illustrated: Three Stories by Leo Tolstoy contains three illustrated fables adapted by Leo Tolstoy, then adapted once again by me for the purpose of fitting them with illustrations.Tolstoy adapted these and many other moral fables hoping to convert readers, especially young readers, to genuine Christianity. This was the motive behind most of his literary work from about the age of 50 until the age of 75. Of course, to be honest, as time has played out, he would doubtlessly be gravely disappointed to know how little affect his writing would have inspiring such conversion.

Much of his failure had to do with his singular view of what genuine Christianity would entail. It would require a complete rethinking of how we must change our lives to strictly conform to the teachings of Jesus Christ. Those are no small challenges, neither the rethinking itself nor the follow through. So probably because of the difficulty involved, Tolstoy has failed in his efforts to persuade his readers to undertake the process of such a conversion. Nevertheless, at last count, very few people have disputed his views on the absolute need to do it in order to achieve lasting peace and happiness in this life. Of course, people choose other means to attain those ends, but Leo Tolstoy’s view on the essential method to universally do so is virtually uncontested.

My motive in choosing these fables to collect is simply to honor the great author as a righteous man, who did all he could to further his vision of the kingdom of God on earth and what it would take to establish it. My motive for employing three young artists (Liam O'Neil, Molly Dekarski, Fina Mooney), all trained at The Art Academy in St Paul MN, is to promote art education in general and, in particular, educator Jim Robinson of The Art Academy, from whom they received their training.