Leo Tolstoy was a Russian writer widely regarded as one of the greatest novelists of all time. His masterpieces, War and Peace and Anna Karenina, represent in the breadth and vivid depiction of 19th-century Russian life and attitudes - the peak of realist fiction. Tolstoy’s further talents as an essayist, dramatist, and educational reformer have made him the most influential member of the aristocratic Tolstoy family. His literal interpretation of the ethical teachings of Jesus, centring on the Sermon on the Mount, caused him in later life to become a fervent Christian anarchist and pacifist. His ideas on nonviolent resistance, expressed in such works as The Kingdom of God Is Within You, were to have a profound impact on such pivotal twentieth-century figures as Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.