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He studied at Kazan.[1] He was not a notable student. It used to be said of the three brothers[2]: "Sergius wants to, and can; Dmitri wants to, and can't; Leo can't, and doesn't want to."

He passed through the period which he terms "the desert of adolescence"; a desert of sterile sands, blown upon by gales of the burning winds of folly. The pages of Boyhood, and in especial those of Youth,[3] are rich in intimate confessions relating to these years.

He was a solitary. His brain was in a condition

  1. From 1842 to 1847. [Science was as yet unorganised; and its teachers, even in Western Europe, had not the courage of the facts they taught. Men still sought for an anchor in the philosophic systems of the ancients. The theory of evolution, put forward at the beginning of the century, had fallen into obscurity. Science was dry, dogmatic, uncoordinated, insignificant. Hence, perhaps, the contempt for science which distinguised Tolstoy throughout his life, and which made the later Tolstoy possible.—Trans.]
  2. Nikolas, five years older than Leo, had completed his studies in 1844.
  3. The English translation is entitled Childhood, Boyhood, Youth.