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BY SMALL, MAYNARD & COMPANY
Printed in the United States of America
Printed by Geo. H. Ellis Co. Inc., Boston, Mass, U. S. A.
The title of this book calls for some explanation. What is of value in it all belongs to, or derives from, Tolstoy. Why then is it not issued simply as a translation of Tolstoy's essays on art?
The case is this: When Tolstoy's What is Art? (his chief work on the subject) appeared in 1898, it gave rise to extensive controversy. Several critics maintained that his propositions were incomprehensible or ridiculous.
It happened that I had translated the book into English in personal consultation with Tolstoy, besides exchanging a score of letters with him discussing every point in the book that was not perfectly plain to me. When my translation was completed and he had read it carefully, he wrote a preface for it, in which he appealed to "all who are interested in my views on art only to judge of them by the work in its present shape." He also said, "This book of mine, What is Art? appears now for the first time in its true form. More than one edition has already been issued in Russia, but in each case it has been mutilated by the censor."
I wrote a thirty-page Introduction to the book, in which I set out, as clearly as I could, what I understood to be Tolstoy's essential meaning, and in reply to an attack on Tolstoy in the Quarterly Review, I wrote another articlewhich appeared in the Contemporary Review-recapitulating my understanding of the matter. Both these essays received Tolstoy's emphatic approval. Of the first he wrote, "I have read your Introduction with great pleasure. You have admirably and strongly expressed the fundamental thought of