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Once the Russian lawyer, Anatoly Koni, told Lev Tolstoy about an incident he had witnessed in the course of his professional duties: during a trial for theft, one of the members of the jury, a young aristocrat, recognised the accused to be a woman he had once seduced and abandoned. His conscience shaken, he decided to marry her to atone for his guilt. Such was the true-life story which formed the stimulus for Resurrection, one of Tolstoy's major works. Tolstoy spent ten years (from 1889 to 1899) working on the novel, which contains the essence of his mature views on most of the fundamental questions of life. The story tells about Katyusha Maslova, her fall and regeneration, against the background of all of Russia, suffering and rebellious, at the end of the last century. Tolstoy portrays aristocrats and peasants, high society salons and gloomy prisons, the courthouse and the various stages of a convict's existence. "Tolstoy tells us almost as much about Russian life as all the rest of our literature put together" Maxim Gorky said.