Count Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 on the family estate of Yasnaya Polyana, in the Tula province. He took part in the Crimean war and after the defence of Sevastopol wrote The Sevastopol Sketches (1855-6), which established his literary reputation. He is the author, among many other works, of War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877) and A Confession (1879-82).
Ronald Wilks has translated widely from the Russian, including for Penguin works by Gorky, Gogol and Chekhov.
Hugh McLean has published widely on Russian literature, including contributing an essay on "The Countryside" to the Cambridge Companion to the Classic Russian Novel and one on Tolstoy's Resurrection to the Cambridge Companion to Tolstoy.
Paul Foote was, until his retirement, a University Lecturer in Russian and Fellow of the Queen's College, Oxford.