Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/149

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.



It is a singular fact that in speaking of Tolstoy’s ideas concerning science and art, the most important of the books in which these ideas are expressed—namely, What shall we do? (1884–86)—is commonly ignored. There, for the first time, Tolstoy fights the battle between art and science; and none of the following conflicts was to surpass the violence of their first encounter. It is a matter for surprise that no one, during the assaults which have been recently delivered in France upon the vanity of science and the intellectuals, has thought of referring to these pages. They constitute the most terrible attack ever penned against “the eunuchs of science” and “the corsairs of art”; against those intellectual castes which, having destroyed the old ruling castes of the Church, the State, and the Army, have installed themselves in their place, and, without being able or willing to perform any service of use to humanity, lay claim to a blind admiration and service, proclaiming as dogmas an impudent faith in science for the sake