Page:Rolland Life of Tolstoy.djvu/203

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CHAPTER XVI

RELIGION AND POLITICS

Tolstoy never renounced his art. A great artist cannot, even if he would, abandon the reason of his existence. He can, for religious reasons, cease to

publish, but he cannot cease to write. Tolstoy never interrupted his work of artistic creation. M. Paul Boyer, who saw him, during the last few years, at Yasnaya Polyana, says that he would now give prominence to his evangelistic works, now to his works of imagination; he would work at the one as a relaxation from the other. When he had finished some social pamphlet, some Appeal to the Rulers or to the Ruled, he would allow himself to resume one of the charming tales which he was, so to speak, in process of recounting to himself; such as his Hadji-Mourad, a military epic, which celebrated an episode of the wars of the Caucasus and the resistance of the mountaineers under Schamyl.[1] Art was still his relaxation, his pleasure; but he would have thought it a piece of vanity to make a parade of it. With the exception of his Cycle of

  1. Le Temps, November 2, 1902.