I now think that there is a finer and truer method than his, but in its way, Tourguenief's method is as far as art can go. That is to say, his fiction is to the last degree dramatic. The persons are sparely described, and briefly accounted for, and then they are left to transact their affair, whatever it is, with the least possible comment or explanation from the author. The effect flows naturally from their characters, and when they have done or said a thing you conjecture why as unerringly as you would if they were people whom you knew outside of a book. I had already conceived of the possibility of this from Bjornson, who practises the same method, but I was still too sunken in the gross darkness of English fiction to rise to a full consciousness of its excellence. When I remembered the deliberate and impertinent moralizing of Thackeray, the clumsy exegesis of George Eliot, the knowing nods and winks of Charles Reade, the stage-carpentering and limelighting of Dickens, even the fine and important analysis of Hawthorne, it was with a joyful astonishment that I realized the great art of Tourguenief.
Here was a master who was apparently not trying to work out a plot, who was not even trying to work out a character, but was standing aside from the whole affair, and letting the characters work the plot out. The method was revealed perfectly in 'Smoke,' but each successive book of his that I read was a fresh proof of its truth, a revelation of its transcendent superiority. I think now that I exaggerated its value somewhat; but this was inevitable in the first surprise. The sane aesthetics of the first Russian author I read, however, have seemed more and more an essential part of the sane ethics of all the Russians I have read. It was not only that Tourguenief had painted life truly, but that he had painted it conscientiously.
Tourguenief was of that great race which has more than any other fully and freely uttered human nature, without either false pride or false shame in its nakedness. His themes were oftenest those of the French novelist, but how far he was from handling them in the French manner and with the French spirit! In his hands sin suffered no dramatic punishment; it did not always show itself as unhappiness, in the personal sense, but it was always unrest, and without the hope of peace. If the end did not appear, the fact that it must be miserable always appeared. Life showed itself to me in different colors after I had once read Tourguenief; it became more serious, more awful, and with mystical responsibilities I had not known before. My gay American horizons were bathed in the vast melancholy of the Slav, patient, agnostic, trustful. At the same time nature revealed herself to me through him with an intimacy she had not hitherto shown me. There are passages in this wonderful writer alive with a truth that seems drawn from the reader's own knowledge; who else but Tourguenief and one's own most secret self ever felt all the rich, sad meaning of the night air drawing in at the open window, of the fires burning in the darkness on the distant fields? I try in vain to give some notion of the subtle sympathy with nature which scarcely put itself into words with him. As for the people of his fiction, though they were of orders and civilizations so remote from my experience, they were of the eternal human types whose origin and potentialities every one may find in his own heart, and I felt their verity in every touch.
I cannot describe the satisfaction his work gave me; I can only impart some sense of it, perhaps, by saying that it was like a happiness I had been waiting for all my life, and now that it had come, I was richly content forever. I do not mean to say that the art of Tourguenief surpasses the art of Bjornson; I think Bjornson is quite as fine and true. But the Norwegian deals with simple and primitive circumstances for the most part, and always with a small world; and the Russian has to do with human nature inside of its conventional shells, and his scene is often as large as Europe. Even when it is as remote as Norway, it is still related to the great capitals by the history if not the actuality of the characters. Most of Tourguenief's books I have read many times over, all of them I have read more than twice. For a number of years I read them again and again without much caring for other fiction. It was only the other day that I read Smoke through once more, with no diminished sense of its truth, but with somewhat less than my first satisfaction in its art. Perhaps this was because I had reached the point through my acquaintance with Tolstoy where I was impatient even of the artifice that hid itself. In 'Smoke' I was now aware of an artifice that kept out of sight, but was still always present somewhere, invisibly operating the story.
I must not fail to own the great pleasure that I have had in some of the stories of Auerbach. It is true that I have never cared greatly for 'On the Heights,' which in its dealing with royalties seems too far aloof from the ordinary human life, and which on the moral side finally fades out into a German mistiness. But I speak of it with the imperfect knowledge of one who was never able to read it quite through, and I have really no right to speak of it. The book of his that pleased me most was 'Edelweiss,' which, though the story was somewhat too catastrophical, seemed to me admirably good and true. I still think it very delicately done, and with a deep insight; but there is something in all Auerbach's work which in the retrospect affects me as if it dealt with pigmies.
XXXIII. CERTAIN PREFERENCES AND EXPERIENCES
I have always loved history, whether in the annals of peoples or in the lives of persons, and I have at all times read it. I am not sure but I rather prefer it to fiction, though I am aware that in looking back over this record of my literary passions I must seem to have cared for very little besides fiction. I read at the time I have just been speaking of, nearly all the new poetry as it came out, and I constantly recurred to it in its mossier sources, where it sprang from the green English ground, or trickled from the antique urns of Italy.
I do not think that I have ever cared much for metaphysics, or to read much in that way, but from time to time I have done something of it.
Travels, of course, I have read as part of the great human story, and autobiography has at times appeared to me the most delightful reading in the world; I have a taste in it that rejects nothing, though I have never enjoyed any autobiographies so much as those of such Italians as have reasoned of themselves.
I suppose I have not been a great reader of the drama, and I do not know that I have ever greatly relished any plays but those of Shakespeare and Goldoni, and two or three of Beaumont and Fletcher, and one or so of Marlow's, and all of Ibsen's and Maeterlinck's. The taste for the old English dramatists I believe I have never formed.
Criticism, ever since I filled myself so full of it in my boyhood, I have not cared for, and often I have found it repulsive.
I have a fondness for books of popular science, perhaps because they too are part of the human story.
I have read somewhat of the theology of the Swedenborgian faith I was brought up in, but I have not read other theological works; and I do not apologize for not liking any. The Bible itself was not much known to me at an age when most children have been obliged to read it several times over; the gospels were indeed familiar, and they have always been to me the supreme human story; but the rest of the New Testament I had not read when a man grown, and only passages of the Old Testament, like the story of the Creation, and the story of Joseph, and the poems of Job and Ecclesiastes, with occasional Psalms. I therefore came to the Scriptures with a sense at once fresh and mature, and I can never be too glad that I learned to see them under the vaster horizon and in the truer perspectives of experience.
Again as lights on the human story I have liked to read such books of medicine as have fallen in my way, and I seldom take up a medical periodical without reading of all the cases it describes, and in fact every article in it.
But I did not mean to make even this slight departure from the main business of these papers, which is to confide my literary passions to the reader; he probably has had a great many of his own. I think I may class the "Ring and the Book" among them, though I have never been otherwise a devotee of Browning. But I was still newly home from Italy, or away from home, when that poem appeared, and whether or not it was because it took me so with the old enchantment of that land, I gave my heart promptly to it. Of course, there are terrible longueurs in it, and you do get tired of the same story told over and over from the different points of view, and yet it is such a great story, and unfolded with such a magnificent breadth and noble fulness, that one who blames it lightly blames himself heavily. There are certain books of it—"Caponsacchi's story," "Pompilia's story," and "Count Guido's story"—that I think ought to rank with the greatest poetry ever written, and that have a direct, dramatic expression of the fact and character, which is without rival. There is a noble and lofty pathos in the close of Caponsacchi's statement, an artless and manly break from his self-control throughout, that seems to me the last possible effect in its kind; and Pompilia's story holds all of womanhood in it, the purity, the passion, the tenderness, the helplessness. But if I begin to praise this or any of the things I have liked, I do not know when I should stop. Yes, as I think it over, the "Ring and the Book" appears to me one of the great few poems whose splendor can never suffer lasting eclipse, however it may have presently fallen into abeyance. If it had impossibly come down to us from some elder time, or had not been so perfectly modern in its recognition of feeling and motives ignored by the less conscious poetry of the past, it might be ranked with the great epics.
Of other modern poets I have read some things of William Morris, like the "Life and Death of Jason," the "Story of Gudrun," and the "Trial of Guinevere," with a pleasure little less than passionate, and I have equally liked certain pieces of Dante Rossetti. I have had a high joy in some of the great minor poems of Emerson, where the goddess moves over Concord meadows with a gait that is Greek, and her sandalled tread expresses a high scorn of the india-rubber boots that the American muse so often gets about in.
The "Commemoration Ode" of Lowell has also been a source from which I drank something of the divine ecstasy of the poet's own exalted mood, and I would set this level with the 'Biglow Papers,' high above all his other work, and chief of the things this age of our country shall be remembered by. Holmes I always loved, and not for his wit alone, which is so obvious to liking, but for those rarer and richer strains of his in which he shows himself the lover of nature and the brother of men. The deep spiritual insight, the celestial music, and the brooding tenderness of Whittier have always taken me more than his fierier appeals and his civic virtues, though I do not underrate the value of these in his verse.
My acquaintance with these modern poets, and many I do not name because they are so many, has been continuous with their work, and my pleasure in it not inconstant if not equal. I have spoken before of Longfellow as one of my first passions, and I have never ceased to delight in him; but some of the very newest and youngest of our poets have given me thrills of happiness, for which life has become lastingly sweeter.
Long after I had thought never to read it—in fact when I was 'nel mezzo del cammin di nostra vita'—I read Milton's "Paradise Lost," and found in it a majestic beauty that justified to me the fame it wears, and eclipsed the worth of those lesser poems which I had ignorantly accounted his worthiest. In fact, it was one of the literary passions of the time I speak of, and it shared my devotion for the novels of Tourguenief and (shall I own it?) the romances of Cherbuliez. After all, it is best to be honest, and if it is not best, it is at least easiest; it involves the fewest embarrassing consequences; and if I confess the spell that the Revenge of Joseph Noirel cast upon me for a time, perhaps I shall be able to whisper the reader behind my hand that I have never yet read the "AEneid" of Virgil; the "Georgics," yes; but the "AEneid," no. Some time, however, I expect to read it and to like it immensely. That is often the case with things that I have held aloof from indefinitely.
One fact of my experience which the reader may, find interesting is that when I am writing steadily I have little relish for reading. I fancy, that reading is not merely a pastime when it is apparently the merest pastime, but that a certain measure of mind-stuff is used up in it, and that if you are using up all the mind stuff you have, much or little, in some other way, you do not read because you have not the mind-stuff for it. At any rate it is in this sort only that I can account for my failure to read a great deal during four years of the amplest quiet that I spent in the country at Belmont, whither we removed from Cambridge. I had promised myself that in this quiet, now that I had given up reviewing, and wrote little or nothing in the magazine but my stories, I should again read purely for the pleasure of it, as I had in the early days before the critical purpose had qualified it with a bitter alloy. But I found that not being forced to read a number of books each month, so that I might write about them, I did not read at all, comparatively speaking. To be sure I dawdled over a great many books that I had read before, and a number of memoirs and biographies, but I had no intense pleasure from reading in that time, and have no passions to record of it. It may have been a period when no new thing happened in literature deeply to stir one's interest; I only state the fact concerning myself, and suggest the most plausible theory I can think of.
I wish also to note another incident, which may or may not have its psychological value. An important event of these years was a long sickness which kept me helpless some seven or eight weeks, when I was forced to read in order to pass the intolerable time. But in this misery I found that I could not read anything of a dramatic cast, whether in the form of plays or of novels. The mere sight of the printed page, broken up in dialogue, was anguish. Yet it was not the excitement of the fiction that I dreaded, for I consumed great numbers of narratives of travel, and was not in the least troubled by hairbreadth escapes, or shipwrecks, or perils from wild beasts or deadly serpents; it was the dramatic effect contrived by the playwright or novelist, and worked up to in the speech of his characters that I could not bear. I found a like impossible stress from the Sunday newspaper which a mistaken friend sent in to me, and which with its scare-headings, and artfully wrought sensations, had the effect of fiction, as in fact it largely was.
At the end of four years we went abroad again, and travel took away the appetite for reading as completely as writing did. I recall nothing read in that year in Europe which moved me, and I think I read very little, except the local histories of the Tuscan cities which I afterwards wrote of.
XXXIV. VALDES, GALDOS, VERGA, ZOLA, TROLLOPE, HARDY
In fact, it was not till I returned, and took up my life again in Boston, in the old atmosphere of work, that I turned once more to books. Even then I had to wait for the time when I undertook a critical department in one of the magazines, before I felt the rise of the old enthusiasm for an author. That is to say, I had to begin reading for business again before I began reading for pleasure. One of the first great pleasures which I had upon these terms was in the book of a contemporary Spanish author. This was the 'Marta y Maria' of Armando Palacio Valdes, a novelist who delights me beyond words by his friendly and abundant humor, his feeling for character, and his subtle insight. I like every one of his books that I have read, and I believe that I have read nearly every one that he has written. As I mention 'Riverito, Maximina, Un Idilio de un Inferno, La Hermana de San Sulpizio, El Cuarto Poder, Espuma,' the mere names conjure up the scenes and events that have moved me to tears and laughter, and filled me with a vivid sense of the life portrayed in them. I think the 'Marta y Maria' one of the most truthful and profound fictions I have read, and 'Maximina' one of the most pathetic, and 'La Hermana de San Sulpizio' one of the most amusing. Fortunately, these books of Valdes's have nearly all been translated, and the reader may test the matter in English; though it necessarily halts somewhat behind the Spanish.
I do not know whether the Spaniards themselves rank Valdes with Galdos or not, and I have no wish to decide upon their relative merits. They are both present passions of mine, and I may say of the 'Dona Perfecta' of Galdos that no book, if I except those of the greatest Russians, has given me a keener and deeper impression; it is infinitely pathetic, and is full of humor, which, if more caustic than that of Valdes, is not less delicious. But I like all the books of Galdos that I have read, and though he seems to have worked more tardily out of his romanticism than Valdes, since be has worked finally into such realism as that of Leon Roch, his greatness leaves nothing to be desired.
I have read one of the books of Emilia Pardo-Bazan, called 'Morrina,' which must rank her with the great realists of her country and age; she, too, has that humor of her race, which brings us nearer the Spanish than any other non-Anglo-Saxon people.
A contemporary Italian, whom I like hardly less than these noble Spaniards, is Giovanni Verga, who wrote 'I Malavoglia,' or, as we call it in English, 'The House by the Medlar Tree': a story of infinite beauty, tenderness and truth. As I have said before, I think with Zola that Giacometti, the Italian author of "La Morte Civile," has written almost the greatest play, all round, of modern times.
But what shall I say of Zola himself, and my admiration of his epic greatness? About his material there is no disputing among people of our Puritanic tradition. It is simply abhorrent, but when you have once granted him his material for his own use, it is idle and foolish to deny his power. Every literary theory of mine was contrary to him when I took up 'L'Assommoir,' though unconsciously I had always been as much of a realist as I could, but the book possessed me with the same fascination that I felt the other day in reading his 'L'Argent.' The critics know now that Zola is not the realist he used to fancy himself, and he is full of the best qualities of the romanticism he has hated so much; but for what he is, there is but one novelist of our time, or of any, that outmasters him, and that is Tolstoy. For my own part, I think that the books of Zola are not immoral, but they are indecent through the facts that they nakedly represent; they are infinitely more moral than the books of any other French novelist. This may not be saying a great deal, but it is saying the truth, and I do not mind owning that he has been one of my great literary passions, almost as great as Flaubert, and greater than Daudet or Maupassant, though I have profoundly appreciated the exquisite artistry of both these. No French writer, however, has moved me so much as the Spanish, for the French are wanting in the humor which endears these, and is the quintessence of their charm.
You cannot be at perfect ease with a friend who does not joke, and I suppose this is what deprived me of a final satisfaction in the company of Anthony Trollope, who jokes heavily or not at all, and whom I should otherwise make bold to declare the greatest of English novelists; as it is, I must put before him Jane Austen, whose books, late in life, have been a youthful rapture with me. Even without, much humor Trollope's books have been a vast pleasure to me through their simple truthfulness. Perhaps if they were more humorous they would not be so true to the British life and character present in them in the whole length and breadth of its expansive commonplaceness. It is their serious fidelity which gives them a value unique in literature, and which if it were carefully analyzed would afford a principle of the same quality in an author who was undoubtedly one of the finest of artists as well as the most Philistine of men.
I came rather late, but I came with all the ardor of what seems my perennial literary youth, to the love of Thomas Hardy, whom I first knew in his story 'A Pair of Blue Eyes.' As usual, after I had read this book and felt the new charm in it, I wished to read the books of no other author, and to read his books over and over. I love even the faults of Hardy; I will let him play me any trick he chooses (and he is not above playing tricks, when he seems to get tired of his story or perplexed with it), if only he will go on making his peasants talk, and his rather uncertain ladies get in and out of love, and serve themselves of every chance that fortune offers them of having their own way. We shrink from the unmorality of the Latin races, but Hardy has divined in the heart of our own race a lingering heathenism, which, if not Greek, has certainly been no more baptized than the neo-hellenism of the Parisians. His heroines especially exemplify it, and I should be safe in saying that his Ethelbertas, his Eustacias, his Elfridas, his Bathshebas, his Fancies, are wholly pagan. I should not dare to ask how much of their charm came from that fact; and the author does not fail to show you how much harm, so that it is not on my conscience. His people live very close to the heart of nature, and no one, unless it is Tourguenief, gives you a richer and sweeter sense of her unity with human nature. Hardy is a great poet as well as a great humorist, and if he were not a great artist also his humor would be enough to endear him to me.
I come now, though not quite in the order of time, to the noblest of all these enthusiasms—namely, my devotion for the writings of Lyof Tolstoy. I should wish to speak of him with his own incomparable truth, yet I do not know how to give a notion of his influence without the effect of exaggeration. As much as one merely human being can help another I believe that he has helped me; he has not influenced me in aesthetics only, but in ethics, too, so that I can never again see life in the way I saw it before I knew him. Tolstoy awakens in his reader the will to be a man; not effectively, not spectacularly, but simply, really. He leads you back to the only true ideal, away from that false standard of the gentleman, to the Man who sought not to be distinguished from other men, but identified with them, to that Presence in which the finest gentleman shows his alloy of vanity, and the greatest genius shrinks to the measure of his miserable egotism. I learned from Tolstoy to try character and motive by no other test, and though I am perpetually false to that sublime ideal myself, still the ideal remains with me, to make me ashamed that I am not true to it. Tolstoy gave me heart to hope that the world may yet be made over in the image of Him who died for it, when all Caesars things shall be finally rendered unto Caesar, and men shall come into their own, into the right to labor and the right to enjoy the fruits of their labor, each one master of himself and servant to every other. He taught me to see life not as a chase of a forever impossible personal happiness, but as a field for endeavor towards the happiness of the whole human family; and I can never lose this vision, however I close my eyes, and strive to see my own interest as the highest good. He gave me new criterions, new principles, which, after all, were those that are taught us in our earliest childhood, before we have come to the evil wisdom of the world. As I read his different ethical books, 'What to Do,' 'My Confession,' and 'My Religion,' I recognized their truth with a rapture such as I have known in no other reading, and I rendered them my allegiance, heart and soul, with whatever sickness of the one and despair of the other. They have it yet, and I believe they will have it while I live. It is with inexpressible astonishment that I bear them attainted of pessimism, as if the teaching of a man whose ideal was simple goodness must mean the prevalence of evil. The way he showed me seemed indeed impossible to my will, but to my conscience it was and is the only possible way. If there, is any point on which he has not convinced my reason it is that of our ability to walk this narrow way alone. Even there he is logical, but as Zola subtly distinguishes in speaking of Tolstoy's essay on "Money," he is not reasonable. Solitude enfeebles and palsies, and it is as comrades and brothers that men must save the world from itself, rather than themselves from the world. It was so the earliest Christians, who had all things common, understood the life of Christ, and I believe that the latest will understand it so.
I have spoken first of the ethical works of Tolstoy, because they are of the first importance to me, but I think that his aesthetical works are as perfect. To my thinking they transcend in truth, which is the highest beauty, all other works of fiction that have been written, and I believe that they do this because they obey the law of the author's own life. His conscience is one ethically and one aesthetically; with his will to be true to himself he cannot be false to his knowledge of others. I thought the last word in literary art had been said to me by the novels of Tourguenief, but it seemed like the first, merely, when I began to acquaint myself with the simpler method of Tolstoy. I came to it by accident, and without any manner, of preoccupation in The Cossacks, one of his early books, which had been on my shelves unread for five or six years. I did not know even Tolstoy's name when I opened it, and it was with a kind of amaze that I read it, and felt word by word, and line by line, the truth of a new art in it.
I do not know how it is that the great Russians have the secret of simplicity. Some say it is because they have not a long literary past and are not conventionalized by the usage of many generations of other writers, but this will hardly account for the brotherly directness of their dealing with human nature; the absence of experience elsewhere characterizes the artist with crudeness, and simplicity is the last effect of knowledge. Tolstoy is, of course, the first of them in this supreme grace. He has not only Tourguenief's transparency of style, unclouded by any mist of the personality which we mistakenly value in style, and which ought no more to be there than the artist's personality should be in a portrait; but he has a method which not only seems without artifice, but is so. I can get at the manner of most writers, and tell what it is, but I should be baffled to tell what Tolstoy's manner is; perhaps he has no manner. This appears to me true of his novels, which, with their vast variety of character and incident, are alike in their single endeavor to get the persons living before you, both in their action and in the peculiarly dramatic interpretation of their emotion and cogitation. There are plenty of novelists to tell you that their characters felt and thought so and so, but you have to take it on trust; Tolstoy alone makes you know how and why it was so with them and not otherwise. If there is anything in him which can be copied or burlesqued it is this ability of his to show men inwardly as well as outwardly; it is the only trait of his which I can put my hand on.
After 'The Cossacks' I read 'Anna Karenina' with a deepening sense of the author's unrivalled greatness. I thought that I saw through his eyes a human affair of that most sorrowful sort as it must appear to the Infinite Compassion; the book is a sort of revelation of human nature in circumstances that have been so perpetually lied about that we have almost lost the faculty of perceiving the truth concerning an illicit love. When you have once read 'Anna Karenina' you know how fatally miserable and essentially unhappy such a love must be. But the character of Karenin himself is quite as important as the intrigue of Anna and Vronsky. It is wonderful how such a man, cold, Philistine and even mean in certain ways, towers into a sublimity unknown (to me, at least), in fiction when he forgives, and yet knows that he cannot forgive with dignity. There is something crucial, and something triumphant, not beyond the power, but hitherto beyond the imagination of men in this effect, which is not solicited, not forced, not in the least romantic, but comes naturally, almost inevitably, from the make of man.
The vast prospects, the far-reaching perspectives of 'War and Peace' made it as great a surprise for me in the historical novel as 'Anna Karenina' had been in the study of contemporary life; and its people and interests did not seem more remote, since they are of a civilization always as strange and of a humanity always as known.
I read some shorter stories of Tolstoy's before I came to this greatest work of his: I read 'Scenes of the Siege of Sebastopol,' which is so much of the same quality as 'War and Peace;' and I read 'Policoushka' and most of his short stories with a sense of my unity with their people such as I had never felt with the people of other fiction.
His didactic stories, like all stories of the sort, dwindle into allegories; perhaps they do their work the better for this, with the simple intelligences they address; but I think that where Tolstoy becomes impatient of his office of artist, and prefers to be directly a teacher, he robs himself of more than half his strength with those he can move only through the realization of themselves in others. The simple pathos, and the apparent indirectness of such a tale as that of 'Poticoushka,' the peasant conscript, is of vastly more value to the world at large than all his parables; and 'The Death of Ivan Ilyitch,' the Philistine worldling, will turn the hearts of many more from the love of the world than such pale fables of the early Christian life as "Work while ye have the Light." A man's gifts are not given him for nothing, and the man who has the great gift of dramatic fiction has no right to cast it away or to let it rust out in disuse.
Terrible as the 'Kreutzer Sonata' was, it had a moral effect dramatically which it lost altogether when the author descended to exegesis, and applied to marriage the lesson of one evil marriage. In fine, Tolstoy is certainly not to be held up as infallible. He is very, distinctly fallible, but I think his life is not less instructive because in certain things it seems a failure. There was but one life ever lived upon the earth which was without failure, and that was Christ's, whose erring and stumbling follower Tolstoy is. There is no other example, no other ideal, and the chief use of Tolstoy is to enforce this fact in our age, after nineteen centuries of hopeless endeavor to substitute ceremony for character, and the creed for the life. I recognize the truth of this without pretending to have been changed in anything but my point of view of it. What I feel sure is that I can never look at life in the mean and sordid way that I did before I read Tolstoy.
Artistically, he has shown me a greatness that he can never teach me. I am long past the age when I could wish to form myself upon another writer, and I do not think I could now insensibly take on the likeness of another; but his work has been a revelation and a delight to me, such as I am sure I can never know again. I do not believe that in the whole course of my reading, and not even in the early moment of my literary enthusiasms, I have known such utter satisfaction in any writer, and this supreme joy has come to me at a time of life when new friendships, not to say new passions, are rare and reluctant. It is as if the best wine at this high feast where I have sat so long had been kept for the last, and I need not deny a miracle in it in order to attest my skill in judging vintages. In fact, I prefer to believe that my life has been full of miracles, and that the good has always come to me at the right time, so that I could profit most by it. I believe if I had not turned the corner of my fiftieth year, when I first knew Tolstoy, I should not have been able to know him as fully as I did. He has been to me that final consciousness, which he speaks of so wisely in his essay on "Life." I came in it to the knowledge of myself in ways I had not dreamt of before, and began at least to discern my relations to the race, without which we are each nothing. The supreme art in literature had its highest effect in making me set art forever below humanity, and it is with the wish to offer the greatest homage to his heart and mind, which any man can pay another, that I close this record with the name of Lyof Tolstoy.
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Account of one's reading is an account of one's life Adam Bede Affections will not be bidden Air of looking down on the highest Alliance of the tragic and the comic Anthony Trollope Authors I must call my masters Capriciousness of memory: what it will hold and what lose Celebration of the monkey and the goat in us Conquest of Granada Contemptible he found our pseudo-equality Criticism still remains behind all the other literary arts Dickens is purely democratic Escaped at night and got into the boy's dreams Fictions subtle effect for good and for evil on the young Finer sort myself to be able to enjoy such a fine sort Had the sense that in her eyes I was a queer boy Hardly any sort of bloodshed which I would not pardon Hazlitt He undid my hands Hospitable gift of making you at home with him In school there was as little literature then as there is now Inexperience takes this effect (literary lewdness) for realit Jews are still the chosen people Kindness and gentleness are never out of fashion Kissing goes by favor, in literature as in life Lamb Lewd literature seems to give a sanction to lewdness in the life Life of Goldsmith Live it slowly into the past Lubricity of literature Made many of my acquaintances very tired of my favorite authors Men who bully and truckle Mustache, which in those days devoted a man to wickedness My own youth now seems to me rather more alien My reading gave me no standing among the boys Neither worse nor better because of the theatre Never appeals to the principle which sniffs, in his reader None of the passions are reasoned, Not very distinctly know their dreams from their experiences Now little notion what it was about, but I love its memory Our horrible sham of a slave-based freedom Pendennis Prejudice against certain words that I cannot overcome President Garfield Probably no dramatist ever needed the stage less Rape of the Lock Rapture of the new convert could not last Reservations as to the times when he is not a master Responsibility of finding him all we have been told he is Secretly admires the splendors he affects to despise Self-flattered scorn, his showy sighs, his facile satire Self-satisfied, intolerant, and hypocritical provinciality Should probably have wasted the time if I had not read them Slave-based freedom So long as we have social inequality we shall have snobs Society, as we have it, was necessarily a sham Somehow expressed the feelings of his day Somewhat too studied grace Speaks it is not with words and blood, but with words and ink Spit some hapless victim: make him suffer and the reader laugh Style is the man, and he cannot hide himself in any garb Surcharge all imitations of life and character Surcharged in the serious moods, and caricatured in the comic Swedenborg Tales of the Alhambra The great doctor's orotundity and ronderosity To be for good or evil whatsoever I really was Toiled, and I suppose no work is wasted Trace no discrepancy between reading his plays and seeing them Tried to like whatever they bade me like Truth is beyond invention Unmeet for ladies Vicar of Wakefield Vices and foibles which are inherent in the system of things We did not know that we were poor We see nothing whole, neither life nor art What I had not I could hope for without unreason What we thought ruin, but what was really release When was love ever reasoned? Wide leisure of a country village Women who snub and crawl Words of learned length and thundering sound World's memory is equally bad for failure and success Worst came it was not half so bad as what had gone before You cannot be at perfect ease with a friend who does not joke You may do a great deal(of work), and not get on