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the book," and of the second he wrote, "Your article pleased me exceedingly, so clearly and strongly is the fundamental thought expressed."
It therefore happens that, though I had contributed no original ideas and had merely restated Tolstoy's views, my articles serve as a decisive reply to those who maintained that Tolstoy meant something he did not mean.
As evidence of his intention, therefore, these essays are worth reproducing. Had I let the book be published simply as a translation of Tolstoy, while including in it so much matter of my own, I should have been reproached for encumbering the translation with matter not written by Tolstoy. The objections to that course seem stronger than those to the course I have adopted; and no third way of dealing with the matter suggested itself to me.
The book is intended less for those who specialise in some particular sphere or art and are satisfied with the views held by their coterie, than for readers interested in the relation of art to life in general, and who wish to understand why art is of importance to mankind.
The illustrations consist chiefly of copies of Russian pictures mentioned by Tolstoy and which, since the Revolution, are not readily procurable. It has not in all cases been possible to procure first-rate reproductions but, such as they are, they show what Tolstoy was talking about and, as he was directing attention to the feelings they convey rather than to their technique, the quality of the reproduction is not of primary importance.
It is inconvenient that the name of a great writer should be spelt in more than one way; so I take this opportunity to mention that not only did Tolstoy write his name with a y, as did his wife and his literary executors, but that this is in accord with the plan laid down by the British Academy, in its
"Scheme for the Transliteration into English of words and names belonging to Russian and other Slavonic languages." On the Committee that dealt with this matter were Sir Paul Vinogradoff, Dr. Hagberg Wright, Dr. Seton Watson, Mr. Nevill Forbes, Mr. Minns, and other eminent authorities. The agreement of Tolstoy's own practice with the conclusions arrived at by such a Committee should suffice to set this vexed question finally at rest. It is indeed seldom wise to attempt to improve on a great modern writer's way of spelling his own name.
This volume presents, for the first time in English, a complete collection of Tolstoy's essays on art, and contains some that had not previously been translated.
What is Art?, which has appeared before, gives, I think, the most lucid statement of the nature of artistic activity and of its relation to the rest of life, that has ever been penned. The rest of the essays are chiefly valuable for the light they throw on the process by which Tolstoy-himself a great artist both in fiction and in the drama-arrived at the solution of this problem, which had occupied his mind from his youth upwards, but which he did not succeed in solving to his satisfaction until he had reached the age of three score years and
26th September, 1924