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Most of the essays here collected have appeared before, and when first published were sent to Count Leo Tolstoy, who on four different occasions wrote expressing his approval of them.
Of the first essay in this book, he wrote :
" I very much approve of it. It is admirably
constructed, and what is most important
“I have read your Introduction with great
Of Tolstoy's Theory of Art, he wrote :
“ Your article . pleased me exceedingly,
so clearly and strongly is the fundamental
“ The Epilogue to Maude's book is excellent
...firm and radical, going to the last
It is still difficult for English readers to discover Tolstoy's opinions, or, at any rate, to understand clearly how his vien's on different subjects fit together. Some of his works have never been translated; others have been translated from sense into
Even in Russian several of his most important philosophic works are only obtainable in the badly edited Geneva edition which is full of mistakes.
Besides these external difficulties, there are difficulties inherent in the subjects he discusses, nor is it always easy for the reader to understand from which side Tolstoy approaches his subject, and to make due allowance for the “personal equation." So that most readers, however open-minded and willing to understand, on reading books that contain so much that runs counter both to the established beliefs of our day and to the hopes of our various “advanced” groups, must have felt, as I did, a desire to cross-examine Tolstoy personally.
Being the only Englishman who, in recent years, has had the advantage of intimate personal intercourse, continued over a period of some years, with Tolstoy, I hardly need an excuse for trying to share with others some of the results he helped me to reach.
Each essay in this volume expresses, in one form or other, Tolstoy's view of life; and the main object of the book is not
to praise his views, but to explain them. His positions, not o being final revelations of the truth attainable by man, may
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