Aylmer Maude The Life of Tolstoy (Volume 1)

ISBN 13: 9780217013826

The Life of Tolstoy (Volume 1)

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9780217013826: The Life of Tolstoy (Volume 1)

This historic book may have numerous typos, missing text or index. Purchasers can download a free scanned copy of the original book (without typos) from the publisher. 1910. Not illustrated. Excerpt: ... I received your letter a week ago, but have not answered because from morning to night I am learning Greek. I am writing nothing, only learning; and to judge by information reaching me through Borisof, your skin (to be used as parchment for my diploma in Greek) is in some danger. Improbable and astounding as it may seem, I have read Xenophon, and can now read him at sight. For Homer, a dictionary and some effort is still necessary. I eagerly await a chance of showing this new trick to some one. But how glad I am that God sent this folly upon me! In the first place I enjoy it; and secondly, I have become convinced that of all that human language has produced truly beautiful and simply beautiful, I knew nothing (like all the others who know but do not understand); and thirdly, because I have ceased to write, and never more will write, wordy rubbish. I am guilty of having done so; but by God I won't do it any more! Explain to me, for Heaven's sake, why no one knows Esop's fables, or even delightful Xenophon, not to mention Plato and Homer, whom I still have before me? In so far as I can as yet judge, our translations, made on German models, only spoil Homer. To use a banal but involuntary comparison: they are like boiled and distilled water, while he is like water fresh from the spring, striking the teeth with its sun-lit sparkle: even its specks only making it seem still clearer and fresher.... You may triumph: without a knowledge of Greek, there is no education. But what kind of knowledge? How is it to be got? What is the use of it? To this I have replies clear as daylight. S. A. Behrs tells us, 'I know for a fact that he learnt the language and read Herodotus in three months.' While in Moscow that winter, he visited Ledntief, then 1871 Professor of Greek at the ...

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