Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/99

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.


oscillate perpetually, rather than evolve ; they run from one extreme to the other, yet never advance. One may, of course, reply that in this they are thoroughly Russian. I find, however, that Russians have criticised them in similar terms. Tourgenev doubtless had them in mind when he complained that Tolstoy's psychology was a stationary matter. " No real development. Eternal hesitations : oscil- lations of feeling." x Tolstoy himself admitted that he had at times rather sacrificed the individual

It is true, in fact, that the glory of War and Peace resides in the resurrection of a complete historical period, with its national migrations, its warfare of peoples. Its true heroes are these peoples; and behind them, as behind the heroes of Homer, the gods who lead them ; the forces, invisible, " infinitely small, which direct the masses," the breath of the Infinite. These gigantic conflicts, in which a hidden destiny hurls the blind nations together, have a mythical grandeur. Our thoughts go beyond the Iliad: we are reminded of the Hindu epics.

1 Letter of February 2, 1868, cited by Birukov.

9 Notably, he said, that of Prince Andrei in the first part.

�� �