The Good in the Teaching of Tolstoy and Nietzsche : Philosophy and Preaching


     Of the change in Tolstoy's work it is said that he went from art over to philosophy. The change is greatly deplored, for it is believed that Tolstoy, a genius as an artist, is only a very mediocre philosopher and thinker. The proof, and apparently decisive proof, of such a supposition is found in his postscript to War and Peace. It is unclear, confused. Tolstoy marks time in vague and meaningless phrases.

     It is true that the postscript is badly written. But War and Peace? Is not War and Peace a genuine philosophical work written by an artist? Is not the postscript simply the bad plan for a marvelous edifice? But how is it possible that the architect who, in building his edifice showed such great art, was not capable of designing the plan? The fault obviously does not lie in the architect, but in the undertaking itself. The postscript is bad not because Tolstoy does not know how to use compass and rule, but because compass and rule are not suitable instruments for this undertaking. Foregoing the right to use colors, Tolstoy by that very fact delivered himself over to unproductive work, for the whole philosophy of War and Peace comes down to this: the sum of abstract concepts available in our language does not suffice to render human life. It is clear that the attempts Tolstoy made to clarify and enlarge War and Peace through explanations could only make things worse. With the first part of his epilogue, he had succeeded in saying all he could say: in the four books of this novel his entire philosophy found an expression so clear and so full that it was no longer possible to go beyond it. Do not Prince Andrey, Pierre, Natasha, the old Bolkonsky, Princess Marya, the Rostovs, Berg, Dolokhov, Karataev, Kutuzov tell us all that Tolstoy saw in life and how he saw it? Pierre's life as a prisoner of war, the mature wisdom of Kutuzov, the tragic death of Prince Andrey, the sorrows and joys of Natasha, the resignation of Karataev, the stoic courage of the Russian soldiers, the quiet and modest heroism of unknown officers, the flight en masse of the inhabitants from the cities - do not all these things described by Tolstoy with such plasticity and perfection include all the questions of free will, of God, of morality, of historical laws? Not only are these questions contained here, but even more: to speak of them otherwise than in the form of a work of art is impossible. Every other means would have no other result than the postscript, especially if it is a question of an artist, i.e., a man who knows how much there is to say and who feels how little can be said directly. Therefore he tries over and over again to repeat what he has already said. Naturally, he makes nothing clearer and thus brings us to the conviction that he is not a philosopher.

     But, of course, we are mistaken. Tolstoy in War and Peace is a philosopher in the best and noblest sense of the word, for he speaks in it of life and portrays life in its most enigmatic and mysterious sides. If his postscript did not succeed, this was only because he sought the impossible. Any critic at all would have written a better conclusion to War and Peace than Tolstoy, for the critic, unlike the artist who felt all the breadth of the task, would have remained within the limits of ordinary ideas and thus have arrived at a definite, very relative, logical conclusion that would have satisfied the reader. But the critic would be not at all a better but rather a worse philosopher than Tolstoy, for he does not have the impulse to present his full impression of life, is able only to handle the compass and rule competently, is satisfied with his work, and thereby also gives satisfaction to his readers.

     To say of Count Tolstoy that he is not a philosopher is to deprive philosophy of one of its greatest representatives. On the contrary, philosophy must reckon with Tolstoy as with one of its truly great figures, even if his works do not have the form of treatises and do not follow any of the existing schools. As has already been shown, all his creative work was the result of his desire to understand life, i.e., the very desire which gives birth to philosophy. It is true that he does not touch on certain theoretical questions that we are accustomed to encounter among professional philosophers. He does not speak of space and time, of monism and dualism, of the theory of knowledge. But it is not this that finally gives one the right to be called a philosopher. All these questions must be separated into an independent discipline which serves only as the foundation of philosophy. True philosophy must begin with the questions of man's place and destiny in the world, of his rights and his role in the universe - that is to say, precisely the questions to which War and Peace is devoted.

     War and Peace is a truly philosophical work. In it Tolstoy questions nature about each individual man; in it still rules a Homeric or Shakespearean "naïveté," that is, the absence of all desire to reward and punish men for "good" and "evil"; in it lives the consciousness that responsibility for human life is to be sought in the higher outside ourselves. Tolstoy departs from the general tone that characterizes War and Peace only in speaking of Napoleon. Napoleon for him remains from beginning to end an enemy, a morally reprehensible enemy. Not because of the misfortunes that he brought upon Russia and Europe; these are forgiven him. Tolstoy is indignant only at the arrogance of the emperor, the self-assurance with which for fifteen years he made history. "My human dignity tells me that each of us is, if not more, in any case not less a man than a Napoleon." Consequently it is impossible that he be given the power to determine the fate of peoples. He is only "the most insignificant instrument in the hands of fate." Because of Sonia’s empty and insipid life, Tolstoy could not be reconciled with her. At that period insipid people, who meant nothing either to themselves or to others, oppressed him with the senselessness of their existence. But later he no longer wished to accuse anyone and did not believe it necessary to do so. When Natasha says to Pierre that she wishes only to live through everything again (that is, the death of Prince Andrey), "and nothing else," Pierre interrupts her passionately: "That is not true, not true! It is not my fault that I live and wish to live, and not yours either." It was thus that Tolstoy then resolved tormenting questions of conscience, the eternal "I am guilty" that barred the way to life for the best of his heroes. "I live and wish to live" was the answer that resolved even such difficult situations as the fact that Natasha had been the fiancée of Pierre's friend, that friend who had died in her arms only a few months before. And whoever lives, no matter how he lives - even if it be in an immoral or trivial or crude fashion - did not at all provoke Tolstoy's indignation. Toward Berg, Drubetzkoy, Prince Vassil, his reaction was one of benevolent and gay irony. For the scoundrel Dolokhov and for the old defender of serfdom, Bolkonsky, he showed esteem; in Ellen he saw only a superbe animal and almost the same thing in her brother Anatole, so entirely like her. Every living creature lives in its way and has the right to live. Some are better, some worse, some are small, some great; but none can be stigmatized or separated from God. One must fight only against Napoleon, who wishes to deprive us of human dignity, and against the Sonias and their like, who enter a rich and full life so disturbingly with their useless virtues. With what love Tolstoy describes Nikolay Rostov! I do not know any other novel where a man so hopelessly mediocre is painted with such poetic colors. Even when he breaks the stone in his ring when striking a peasant on the face, he does not at all fall in Tolstoy's eyes. If this Nikolay now came before Tolstoy's eyes, what a terrible accusation he would pronounce against him! I do not even speak of Pierre or Prince Andrey. These, beside the fact that they do not themselves work, allowed themselves clevernesses and considered themselves superior men!

     Certainly Tolstoy had to free himself from his earlier works, especially War and Peace. The question is only whether this is possible, whether it is enough to recognize his past philosophy, his past life, as bad for him to break with it once and for all. A whole life cannot be annulled by a few books. Tolstoy will never be able to undo his past which is embodied in his two great novels with such brilliance. They will always testify against him, and in the most annihilating way. No matter how much he preaches about "moral enlightenment," he will always hear his own voice which cried out thirty years earlier with such passion and sincerity: "It is not my fault that I live and wish to live, and that you now, after having enjoyed all the good which you described so eloquently in War and Peace, seek something else, which is perhaps just as good and necessary for you but for me is strange and incomprehensible. Have you forgotten the sterile blossom, Sonia?"

     To put it differently: if Tolstoy thirty years ago had been shown his own most recent works, he would have repudiated them, as he now repudiates War and Peace, though then as today he has wanted one thing only - to regulate his life by the "good." A repudiation against another repudiation. Which shall we accept? And, most important of all, would he have disavowed his What Is Art?

     We have already said that the question of art plays only a subsidiary role in this book, as is apparent from the beginning.

     Tolstoy tells us how he was one day present at the rehearsal of a bad opera. He takes this occasion to calculate what the cost of this ridiculous undertaking might have been. It turns out that it was a great deal. Then he tells us that the choirmaster crudely insulted the singers and actors, that the singers were dressed in indecent fashion, and that the dancers made lewd movements. The great expenditures for the production of inferior works of art and the crude way in which superiors treat inferiors, fellow-workers deprived of all rights, are elevated into a rule by Tolstoy; he uses these as the first and most serious point of accusation against art. What can composers of dramas and symphonies reply to this? "It would still be well if artists did their work themselves. They need the help of workers, not only for the realization of their works of art but also for the largest part of their luxurious existence, and they receive this help either under the form of contributions from the rich or subsidies from the government, which spends millions to maintain theaters, conservatories and academies. But the expense is levied on the people, who never enjoy the aesthetic pleasures that art gives."

     This is Tolstoy's point of departure: art costs a tremendous amount of money; this is taken from the people, who do not participate in the pleasures that art brings. Furthermore, we are served, under the name of art, a multitude of stupidities and mediocrities, such as that opera at the rehearsal of which Tolstoy was present. In the name of art, men offend the human dignity of other men. The question arises: is art really so important that such sacrifices must be made for it? Would it not be better to renounce art generally and use the powers and means that could thus be saved for something else - for example, public instruction, for which so little concern is manifested? So Tolstoy raised the question. It is probable that there were hardly any readers who had any doubt about what answer he would give. The people pay such a high price for art and do not profit from it. Is there any doubt that such a state of things is gross, scandalous, contrary to all justice? The rich, who abound in everything, go to the poor and take away from them what is necessary not only for their instruction but even for their naked existence in order to have theaters, concerts, exhibitions. During the famine, were the theatrical presentations interrupted in the great cities? Did the rich renounce their aesthetic pleasures in order to help their neighbors in distress?

     As to the justice of Tolstoy's question, there cannot be any doubt. Nevertheless, another circumstance is interesting: in Russian literature opinions similar to those of Count Tolstoy are not a novelty. In the 1860's, all self-styled "thinking realists" thought and felt thus. In all his articles Dobroliubov spoke only of the necessity of forgetting everything and setting everything else aside in order to concentrate all the powers of society and the state on the elevation of the people sunk in misery and ignorance. It was necessary to break the chains of serfdom, to give the peasants all the rights which we ourselves enjoy. Tolstoy obviously still remembers the happy excitement of that stormy period. After the great act of liberating the serfs, the best men in Russia thought that nothing was any longer impossible for us, that, in the shortest possible time we could, through social reform and literary preaching, destroy the disgraceful inequality that ruled among us in ancient times. It is true that these hopes were not expressed openly. On the contrary: many hid them demonstratively under crude names, such as "positivism" and "egoism." They proclaimed that it was necessary to dissect frogs and to think only of one's personal happiness. But behind these appearances the great and noble plan of the young was obvious to the eyes, at least, of every impartial man: they hoped to save the fatherland and, with Russia's help, even the whole world.

     After the premature death of Dobroliubov, Pissarev appeared. In him the ideas of his predecessors manifested themselves in still sharper form. Even more than others he believed in the saving of his people. But he chose to express his ideas in still cruder words, words that concealed the meaning of his aspirations even more. And following him, the youth of this period began to repeat all kinds of nihilistic slogans, but at the same time to cherish hopes of the speedy coming of better times and to dream of the imminent fulfillment of great tasks. And at that time arose, precisely under the same form as it appears to Tolstoy now, the question of the meaning of art. What does art accomplish? they asked themselves. Does it save the people from ignorance? Does it nourish them, does it heal them, does it advance them morally, does it save them from drunkenness? All these questions received a negative answer. No, art does nothing but furnish aesthetic pleasure to the rich, who are already sufficiently warm and well-fed without it. But if this is so, why save it? As a result of such considerations, there appeared the famous attack by Pissarev on Pushkin, in which Pushkin's poetry is characterized as the worthless, useless play of an idler. Nekrassov: here is the man who writes as one should. In him we find the poem: "When at night I go through the dark streets..." Here is a summons to justice, to compassion, to humanity. But Eugene Onegin, Mozart and Salieri, and similar things are l’art pour l’art, useless to the people, not only alien but completely hostile to the great goals that the younger generation set itself. Pissarev praises even the first works of Tolstoy only because he finds them useful for the realization of social projects.

     It was in this way that the question of the nature of art was raised and resolved in the sixties by the young leaders of the rising generation. It is hardly necessary to say that their opinions and preaching present, for the historian of Russian cultural development, one of the most gratifying expressions of awakening thought. Their youthful honesty, their ardor, with its outwardly crude but inwardly bashful aspect, their enthusiasm for unrealizable ideas, their childish and naïve faith in the omnipotence of the printed word remain highly attractive, even to those who have long since outgrown the realm of their "convictions" and their "principles."

     How strange it is, then, now to meet in Tolstoy's latest works the same discussions which recall to us so vividly our faraway youth when, following our teacher Pissarev, we thought that above all we must decide which art is most useful for society and that only after doing this could we permit ourselves to give anyone the title of poet or artist, and when we attacked Pushkin with the entire puritanical energy of people strictly educated in morality because he sang in his verses of the little hands and little feet of beautiful girls, because he meditated on eternity in his Faust, because he wrote Boris Godunov, which is necessary to no one, because he paid as much attention to the good-for-nothing Onegin and shed tears over the sentimental Tatiana, instead of calling men to earnest deeds. We reproached him even for his duel, and were outraged when a monument was erected to him. "Why?" we asked ourselves, precisely as Tolstoy now does. Is he - we did not say as Tolstoy does, a holy man, for we forbade ourselves this word, but it was what we meant - is he, then, we asked ourselves, a useful fighter for society? We demanded that a monument be erected to Nekrassov, in tribute to his love for the people, i.e., for the humiliated, the suffering, the unfortunate - to Nekrassov, whose verse we sang with enthusiasm:
Lead me to those who die
For the great cause of love!
     How remarkable it is to meet now in Tolstoy this way of envisaging art and its representatives that is so familiar to us from that time. It is true that Tolstoy is more daring than we. We did not, for example, dare touch Shakespeare and Goethe. Actually we understood very well that these writers had no value from our point of view, for there is not in them that immediate and passionate appeal to love for the needy people which inspired Nekrassov’s poetry. But Pissarev himself did not dare attack them, and we preferred to pass over them in silence; we even permitted ourselves to read them in the vague hope that we would once for all be done with them. But if Tolstoy's book What Is Art? had then appeared, and if it had not contained so many virtuous words (such words then offended our modesty; we wished the good only because it was "very advantageous" to us), it would have been for us a true revelation.

     What we sought was the right to deny all art, Raphael as well as Beethoven, Shakespeare as well as Dante, because all these did not believe themselves called to sing "the sufferings of the people, wonderful in its patience," as Nekrassov put it, or because they did not have "the religious consciousness of true Christianity, the consciousness of the brotherhood of all men," to borrow Tolstoy's words. How Tolstoy hurt us then with his Anna Karenina, his Levin, who, from the time he ceased thinking about the salvation of Russia and of mankind, "sank himself into the ground like a plow." We could not forgive Tolstoy for not following the way of the public accuser, the way for which he would have been praised by Pissarev, and for speaking to us in his novels of things that had no relationship to the amelioration of the conditions of the people. War and Peace, Anna Karenina appeared to us characteristic works of l’art pour l’art - attractive, captivating, but thereby all the more irritating. We regretted that Pissarev was no longer with us and that no one could reprimand Tolstoy as he should have been reprimanded.

     Now Tolstoy himself fulfills that task for which we wished a new Pissarev. He assigns his novels to the category of bad art and dreams of creating a new art which would serve only the people and its needs. How does it come that Tolstoy has returned to the ideals he had fled in his youth? We can understand Pissarev, who fought against l'art pour l'art and annihilated Pushkin. It was permissible for one at the age of twenty-seven to think that too great an admiration for aesthetics can hamper the realization of great ideals, and that it is possible with a few articles, in a moment, seriously to advance the solution of economic and other social problems. It seemed to Pissarev that, in this sense, each of his articles was an event, and preaching had to inspire him. But Count Tolstoy knows only too well that his books can change nothing. He himself says: "I cherish little hope of seeing my proofs for the corruption of art and ,taste in our society accepted or even seriously discussed." it is obviously not modesty that speaks out of these words. He knows, indeed, very well that his "Caucasian Prisoner" or "God Sees the Truth but Does Not Express It" (he considers only these two stories, among all his writings, as belonging to good art) will never have for the reader the meaning that his great novels have, or even "The Death of Ivan Ilych". Why and for whom, then, does he write? Why, instead of What Is Art?, did he not write two or three more stories for the people, according to the rules elaborated by him for talented writers? Obviously because he himself wished to raise certain questions, not in the hope of being useful to the peasant by solving them, but because he could not help thinking about them. If he has given the recipe for all artistic work, it appears not to apply to himself but to others.

     In Nietzsche's Thus Spake Zarathustra there is a very significant passage. After his conversation with the cripples, Zarathustra addresses himself in a sermon to his disciples. One of the cripples, a hunchback, listens with astonishment to the new words and ask the master: "But why does Zarathustra speak to us otherwise than to his disciples?" Zarathustra answered: "What is surprising in this? With hunchbacks one may certainly speak in hunchback fashion." "Very good," said the hunchback, "and with pupils one may well tell tales out of school. But why does Zarathustra speak otherwise to his pupils than to himself?" ["Redemption"]

     One will never hear such words from Tolstoy. He never permits the reader to go beyond what is proclaimed to him officially as doctrine. He does not allow us to come near to himself but only to his "school." Nietzsche also wears a "mask," and puts it on only too often. But he does not protect the sanctuary of his creativity from the looks of others with as much care as Tolstoy, though he had more reason to hide himself than the latter and had several times expressed the opinion that the whole task of the writer was to embellish himself and life. Doubtless, not only Nietzsche but Tolstoy also does not speak with his disciples outside of school; he imparts to them only "conclusions" and hides from them that anguished and painful travail of his soul which he considers exclusively "the affair of the master." Hence this, at first glance, genuinely Pissarev-like, i.e., juvenile assurance that it is enough for men to wish it for l’art pour l’art to be replaced by a new and better art. Count Tolstoy knows what is hidden behind this "it is enough for men to wish it." In these words lies not the youthful faith of a Pissarev but the disenchantment of an old man who has fought long and obstinately and has decided to give up the unequal struggle. It is not for himself that he has coined these words but for his disciples, for others, in order to overcome the doubts that haunt him and to pass from a task that has become unbearable and crushing, philosophizing, to a simpler, easier and more consoling occupation, preaching.

     Tolstoy ended where Pissarev had begun. When we realize this puzzling phenomenon it will become clear to us why Tolstoy in his articles thunderingly attacks us as well as our art. He could not, any more than anyone before him, tear from truth its veil, and now he wishes to forget the fateful enigma of life, to forget it at all costs. He wrote War and Peace and came out for a time as conqueror of the doubts of unbelief. All the horrors of the year 1812 appeared to him as a definite and meaningful picture. The marching of men from east to west and from west to east, accompanied by mass-murder, the lives of the most diverse kinds of men, from Karataev and Anatole to Kutuzov and Prince Andrey, all appeared to him as a harmonious whole; he could see in all things the hand of Providence, which cares for weak and ignorant man. War and Peace is the supreme ideal of the spiritual equilibrium to which man can attain.

     Belinsky writes in a private letter: "Even if I were able to arrive at the highest degree on the ladder of culture, I should not cease to demand of you account for all of the victims of the conditions of life and of history, for all the victims of chance, superstition, the inquisition of Philip II, etc.; else I would throw myself head first down the ladder. I do not wish to have happiness for nothing, so long as I am not set at rest about each of those who are my brothers in blood." In these few simple words the essence of a philosophic problem is expressed. They also describe the program of War and Peace: Tolstoy demanded of fate an account of each of his brothers in blood. And he received, as it appeared to him, complete satisfaction. He saw in all events the hand of the Creator; he humbled himself and his soul found rest. He did not wish to teach anyone, because he assumed that everyone learns from life and that everyone receives his own. Here is how he depicts this mood in Pierre: "A new trait of character, which drew to him the sympathy of all, manifested itself in Pierre; this was the recognition granted to everyone to think, feel and see things in his own way; the realization of the impossibility of making a man change his opinion by means of words. This legitimate uniqueness of every man, which had previously annoyed and irritated Pierre, served him now as the foundation-stone of the sympathy and interest that he bore toward men. The difference, often the absolute contradiction, between the opinions and lives of others and his own now gave Pierre pleasure and drew from him an ironic and soft smile."

     But, as has already been indicated, Tolstoy did not long preserve his serenity of soul and lost, by that very fact, the possibility of remaining at the philosophical height of War and Peace. In him, as in Dostoevsky, there began to develop a tendency to intolerance, the consciousness that his interests were opposed not only to those of Napoleon and of Sonia but also of a very great number of men; and he seized upon the poor of the house of Liapine and upon the people in order to defend, in their name, the "good" against the "evil." This is why he sees nothing good in contemporary society, in the people of his circle. He does not need this good; he needs something else, an object on which he can place the heaped-up bitterness of his heart at the enigmatic and brittle insolubility of the tormenting problems of life. Even though he always refers to the gospel, there is very little that is Christian in his doctrine. If we wanted to compare his works with Scripture, we could only think of the Old Testament, of the prophets, whom he resembles in the character of his preaching and the strictness of his demands. He does not wish to persuade men but to intimidate them. "Do what I tell you, or you will be immoral, perverse, corrupt creatures." I tried to underline words of this kind in Tolstoy's book: entire pages turned out to be pencil-marked. Obviously Tolstoy wishes above everything else to wound and insult our society, in order thus to have someone upon whom he can let out his pain. And he attained this goal to perfection with his book. He wishes to take away from us what we most need and to force us to accept what we do not need at all. The method is quite simple: what we need is the evil, and those who are not willing to renounce it are unhappy, wicked men; but what we do not need is the good, and those who refuse to accept it refuse the good. But the good is God. Here are his own words from What Is Art?: "The good is the eternal, highest goal of our life. In whatever way we understand the good, our life is still nothing other than striving toward the good, i.e., toward God." The good is God! - this means: outside the good there is no goal for man.

     If Count Tolstoy understood now, as he did formerly, by the "good" the totality of things that a man experiences, such a definition would have more than a polemical significance. But even then it would be incorrect, and could not under any circumstances be accepted. The Bible teaches us that God created man in His own image; in the gospel God is called our Heavenly Father. But it is nowhere said in these books that the good is God. But Tolstoy goes even further. He declares, "The religious consciousness of our time is, in its general meaning, nothing other than the consciousness that our welfare, both material and spiritual, individual and communal, temporal and eternal, is grounded in the brotherly living together of all men, in the love of all for one another." The goal of this definition is also a purely polemical one, for it gives Tolstoy the right to brand all those who dare to think that there are other goods in life besides brotherly living together, and especially those who can see in mutual love not the goal but only the result of men's closer living with each other. But Tolstoy needs his definition in order to draw from it the right to demand of men love for their neighbor as the fulfillment of a duty. It is on this that the whole book is based. It is this that provides him the occasion to rebel, to be indignant, to preach - entirely independently of the question whether this brings the slightest benefit to the poor and the people, in whose name he speaks.

     In Dostoevsky the women murdered by Raskolnikov give the author the possibility of crushing the murderer; so in Tolstoy the exploited people appear on the scene not to receive any help whatsoever but to make possible for Tolstoy his accusations and sermons. Tolstoy knows that his preaching cannot help the poor and the disinherited and that, in this respect, it must necessarily be only a voice crying in the wilderness. If he nevertheless speaks, it is only for a small number of intellectuals who listen to him. These can do nothing, but their consciences, when they read Tolstoy's articles, strike up a sad and fruitless song. These intellectuals read Shakespeare and Dante, listen to Beethoven and Wagner, look at the works of famous painters. They obviously need all this - and how very much they need it! But Tolstoy will not allow it. Go to your neighbors and love them! This is - your duty. This must be your supreme good. As for the works of art that you admire, not only are they not beautiful, they are completely bad and immoral. Because of them the people are plundered, and they do not speak of brotherly love. They must therefore be set aside.

     These are the fundamental ideas of What Is Art? And these are, it seems to me, the true motives of Tolstoy's preaching of the "good." I shall not stop to analyze in detailed fashion the different considerations with which Tolstoy surrounds his fundamental affirmation. This is only of external literary interest. What interests us here is not what Tolstoy says to his disciples, but what he says to himself. It is not the formal "proofs" of his ideas that are important to us, but rather the source from which flowed his preaching, his ferocious hatred for the educated classes, for art, for science. I repeat: it is neither faith nor Christianity that led Tolstoy to his negative attitude; he does not say a word about faith in all his works. God is deliberately replaced by the "good," and the "good" by fraternal love among men. Such a faith does not really exclude absolute atheism, complete unbelief, and it leads inevitably to the desire to destroy, to choke, to crush others, in the name of a principle recognized as obligatory. And yet the principle is by itself more or less strange and useless, both to its defenders and to other men. The love and compassion of which Tolstoy speaks endlessly he does not and cannot have, as the many quotations from his works have shown. Not because he is a less "good" man than all those who love and show compassion in life and in books, not because he is a "hard, heartless, iron" man, as the admirers of Dickens and Turgenev say. Tolstoy doubtless has no less love for men than Dickens or Turgenev and knows how to react to the misery of his neighbor. The difference is only that for him this "reaction" is not, as for the others, the end but a beginning. The difference is that it is not enough for him to react to the sight of need and to throw alms to the poor, even though he speaks of the pleasure of giving and raises compassion to the level of a principle. He understands only too well how little help comes through the means that he has proposed; he seeks something greater, and since he does not find it, he devotes himself to preaching and, for the sake of his preaching, destroys Anna Karenina, Vronsky, Koznyshov, all the intelligentsia, art, and science.

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