Tolstoy's Diaries Volume 1: 1847-1894 (Leo Tolstoy, diaries and letters Book 3)
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'An important and long-overdue contribution to our knowledge of Tolstoy.' D. M. Thomas, Sunday Times
Volume 1 of Tolstoy's Diaries covers the years 1847-1894 and was meticulously edited by R.F. Christian so as to reflect Tolstoy's preoccupations as a writer (his views on his own work and that of others), his development as a person and as a thinker, and his attitudes to contemporary social problems, rural life, industrialisation, education, and later, to religious and spiritual questions.
Christian introduces each period with a brief and informative summary of the main biographical details of Tolstoy's life. The result is a unique portrait of a great writer in the variegation of his everyday existence.
'As a picture of the turbulent Russian world which Tolstoy inhabited these diaries are incomparable - the raw stuff not yet processed into art.' Anthony Burgess
'A model of scholarship, one of the most important books to be published in recent years.' A. N. Wilson, Spectator
Russian author. They are usually divided into two categories. The diaries proper are written for the most part in exercise books, and are dated chronologically. The so-called ‘notebooks’ consist of various kinds of scribbling pads, desk calendars and loose sheets of paper, some dated, some not. Some notebooks are virtually identical with diaries in the normal sense and contain entries, usually dated, for periods when Tolstoy did not keep a regular diary. Others contain random notes and
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13 December, Moscow Worked a little; but the estate rut which I’ve been drawn into has been distracting me too much. Today, the 13th, I am in Moscow. Literature, which I had a sniff of yesterday at Fet’s, disgusts me: i.e., I think that since I began my literary career in the most flattering conditions of general praise, sustained for two years during which I occupied almost the first place – without such conditions I don’t want to know literature, i.e., literature for the
casual reflection of the mental activity which rescued mankind from darkness. Luther, with all his wars and St Bartholomew’s Nights, has no place among men like Erasmus, Boethius, Rousseau, etc. […] 6 March, Moscow I’ve been translating Lao-Tzu.2 The result is not what I expected. Ozmidov3 came. He lives in the country with his family, poor but cheerful. I organised a collection in the village for a poor paralysed man and his family. […] 7 March Read about Confucius. Got up very late. Rode
honey from the camomile, cornflowers, and silence in the woods, only the incessant hum of bees and insects in the treetops. Did some mowing today, Good. My writing is going badly. I’m thrashing about on the spot. But there are plenty of artistic impressions. A letter today from Chertkov with notes of ideas – some very good ones. (1) There are two ways of not feeling material need: one is to moderate one’s demands, the other – to increase one’s income. The first, in itself, is always moral;
my concepts. The concept of eternity is a disease of the mind. […] 15 July Got up at 6. Was rude to Buyemsky. Usual routine – health and state of mind. A Letter from the Caucasus is lying on the table, and I’m not getting down to it. I’m reading Rousseau and feel how much higher he is than me in education and talent, but lower in self-respect, firmness and good judgement. […] 18 July Couldn’t get to sleep last night for a long time because of rheumatism and the moonlight; sat by the window