By Knowles, Antony Vere; Tolstoy, Leo
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But the poet Tyutchev was terse (see No. 14) and the critics were dubious. Polonsky praised Tolstoy for capturing the very breath of the Caucasus but thought Olenin only a pale copy of characters of Pushkin’s day and complained that several of the episodes were just stories within a story. (57) Golovachov in the ‘Contemporary’ thought he was a good storyteller but no thinker at all;(58) Evgeniya Tur (see No. 16) expressed her indignation at Tolstoy for daring to romanticize drunkenness, piracy, theft and blood lust and allowing Olenin ‘the representative of civilized society’ to be debased, degraded and defeated; but on the other hand what could be expected from a character like Olenin?
This meant, though, that the journals were subject to stricter control than books, but at least authors and publishers could use their own judgment and risk punishment if it proved faulty. Tolstoy and his critics Tolstoy’s attitude to his critics varied from complete indifference to an almost manic contempt. His wife, Sonya, wrote in her diary on 24 February 1870: ‘We receive no papers or journals. Lyovochka [affectionate form of Lev] says he does not want to read any critics. ’ (15) Tolstoy’s son, Ilya, commented: ‘Papa was in general not fond of the critics and would say that such things occupied only those who could not do anything else.
Christian (University of St Andrews) for the initial suggestion that I should undertake this book; Professor Miriam Allott (University of Liverpool) for her kind encouragement; the staff of the Harold Cohen Library (University of Liverpool) for their assistance on many matters, and especially Miss Joan M. Davison, for his help and understanding; and Mrs Doris Haughton who typed much of the manuscript. Every effort has been made to obtain permission from the copyright holders to reprint material, and for such permission I wish to thank the following: the Estate of Maurice Baring for an extract from his book ‘Landmarks in Russian Literature’ (No.