• What is Art? See large image

    What is Art? (Paperback) By (author) Leo Tolstoy, Volume editor W. Gareth Jones, Translated by G. Jones, Translated by Aylmer Maude

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    DescriptionBoth critics and admirers of Tolstoy's great novel were shocked by the savage iconoclasm of his "What is Art?" when it appeared in 1898. How was it that this great artist could condemn the works of Shakespeare, Raphael, Beethoven and even his own "Anna Karenina" as 'false art'? Today's reader still has to grapple with that paradox. The essay still has power to challenge and provoke, for it was written by a giant who took art seriously while western civilisation toyed with it as a mere pastime. For Tolstoy, art was as natural and as necessary for humankind as speech. In his introduction to this translation, W. Gareth Jones shows how vitally Tolstoy's personality and experience of life were engaged in creating What is Art?, how integral the essay was to his art and teaching, and why it continues to demand a response from us.


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