America’s leading review of the arts and intellectual life
Tolstoy's prophecy: “What is art?” today
On Tolstoy's curmudgeonly book on art & morality
was right!Support The
As the nineteenth century was packing its bags in early 1898, Leo Tolstoy published the most outlandish book ever written on one of that century’s favorite subjects: art. Approaching his seventieth birthday, Tolstoy distilled in What Is Art? the moralistic bile that had been rising in him for two decades and spewed it over virtually the entire artistic culture of his century—and of modern times. He spared almost nothing, including his own great works. For he had come to believe most of it exemplified “false art,” perpetrating a variety of social evils and depriving Western civilization of the necessary virtues of true art. “Art is not a pleasure, a solace, or an amusement,” he cried, bent on awakening modernity from its complacency; “art is a great matter.”
Eccentric and lucid, cranky and brilliant, funny and fierce, What Is Art? resounds with the effusions of a moral conv ...
This article is available to subscribers and for individual purchase
This article originally appeared in The New Criterion, Volume 17 December 1998, on page 15
Copyright © 2015 The New Criterion | www.newcriterion.comhttp://www.newcriterion.com/articles.cfm/Tolstoy-s-prophecy---ldquo-What-is-art-rdquo--today-2956
E-mail to friend
A lecture delivered by Charles Murray after he received the third Edmund Burke Award for Service to Culture and Society.
by Bruce Bawer
A new collection of Henry James's letters reveals the early development of the writer.
A few reflections on To Kill a Mockingbird in anticipation of Harper Lee's new book releases.
The Walter Duranty Prize for Journalistic Mendacity
Introduction to The Kennedy Phenomenon
The Kennedy Phenomenon: "Watching the Kennedy Train-Wreck"
by James Bowman
Jun 26, 2015 10:13 AM