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: oscillations of feeling." Tolstoy himself admitted that he had at times rather sacrificed the individual character to the historical design.
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.
- Letter of February 2, 1868, cited by Birukov.
- Notably, he said, that of Prince Andrei in the first part.