Letter to Aylmer Maude

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Letter to Aylmer Maude
by Leo Tolstoy, translated by Aylmer Maude

Dear friend Maude,

Of course I much regret that you and Tchertkof have not come to agreement about translating and publishing, but I am distressed most of all that such people as you and he, both living not for your personal ends but to accomplish the work we are sent to do, have not found the common principle which would unite you on the present question. The considerations which you advance against the Free Age Press, and in favour of copyright, are just; but so is the consideration that the manner of publishing should accord with the bases which are preached in the editions. And I think that the latter argument is more important than the former. I think that if you do not agree to that, then your and your wife's beautiful translations of works that have been already published in bad translations, deserve to find a publisher. If not, still what you have in view to do is very pleasant to me.

My relation to that business is this; Tchertkof has spent, and continues to spend, so much loving work on the correct reproduction and dissemination of my thoughts, which he fully and very sensitively understands, that I can only rejoice at having such an intermediary between myself and my readers. And the chief thing for me is, that after all the labour he has spent, I cannot disappoint his expectations and, instead of aiding him, hinder his work. My help in his work is limited to the fact that all my new writings (if there are any more) I issue first of all through him, letting everybody, if they care to, make use of them afterwards as they please.

I am very sorry that I and Tchertkof should lose your and your wife's help, which is very valuable - both on account of your knowledge of the languages, your conscientious work, and the unity of our understanding of life; but what most of all grieves me is that perhaps I, by my inaccuracy and alterations, have been the cause of the dislike you have taken to this work. Please forgive me for that. Above all, do not attribute importance to this affair, and do not let dead business impair living intercourse with living people. I press your and your wife's hands in friendship.