John Stewart Collis
With immense skill and subtlety, John Stewart Collis examines the intricacies of Tolstoy’s character. Count Leo Tolstoy was a man of great complexity whose life was dogged by spiritual crises. Collis explores the genius of Tolstoy’s masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, and examines Tolstoy’s reasons for becoming an extreme rationalist and moralist in later life. This finely worked account is an enlightening and compelling study of a world-famous Russian novelist.
Author biography:John Stewart Collis The son of a prosperous Dublin solicitor, John Stewart Collis (1900-1984) was educated at Rugby School and Balliol, Oxford. After a short time at theological college, he became a writer. His first book – a critical study of George Bernard Shaw – was published to wide acclaim. Unable to repeat this success, he spent the pre-war years living in poverty. His fortunes changed in 1940 when he became a farm labourer working on the land in Dorset and Sussex. These experiences were published as the classic 'The Worm Forgives the Plough'.
In 1947, Collis’ talents were officially recognised when he won the Heinemann Foundation Award for Literature. He wrote biographies of Christopher Columbus, Havelock Ellis and Leo Tolstoy and is also celebrated for his works on natural phenomena in which he took a scientific subject and described it from the layperson’s point of view. Full of curiosity for the things most of us take for granted, these are the works of which Collis was most proud.
His imaginative autobiography, 'Bound Upon a Course', also reawakened interest in his earlier works and brought him belated recognition as a pioneer in the ecological movement.