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Title: The Journal of Leo Tolstoi (First Volume--1895-1899)

Author: Leo Tolstoi

Annotator: Vladimir Chertkov

Contributor: Constantine Shokor-Trotsky

Translator: Rose Strunsky

Release Date: July 13, 2014 [EBook #46272]

Language: English

Character set encoding: UTF-8


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Book cover


(First Volume—1895–1899)















(First Volume—1895–1899)






The ultimate meaning of the Russian Revolution which took place in March, 1917, can be best understood through the pages of the Journal of Leo Tolstoi which is here printed. The spiritual qualities which make up the mind and personality of Tolstoi are the spiritual qualities which make up the new era among men which is being waged so painfully and so uncompromisingly at the present moment on the soil of Russia. One holds the key to the other, for no land but Russia could have produced a Tolstoi, and in no land but Russia could Tolstoi have been so embraced and so absorbed.

They are both flesh of each other’s flesh, and I place them equally in greatness against each other. Great and wonderful as is the Russian people, so Tolstoi was as great and wonderful as the Russian people. I say this knowing well the pain and impatience both felt for each other in the long eighty-two years of Tolstoi’s life here, but it was the pain and the impatience of great love and infinite understanding, of feeling and knowing each other’s pulse-beats, and not the misunderstanding of strangers. It was the wise father doubting[vi] the impatient methods of his children; it was the ardent children desiring and struggling to accomplish the wishes of the father and being lost in the maelstrom of an insistent reality.

The youth went faster than the father, and yet so infinite and universal were the words of the latter that when the last summings-up are made both stand together in total harmony and agreement. Tolstoi at thirty took no part in the great educational agrarian movement of the latter Fifties, and even had a fine scorn for their exponents which did not leave him in his later years—witness the phrase against Herzen and Chernishevsky, “raised to great men,” he said, “and who ought to be grateful to the government and the censorship, without which they would have been the most unnoticed of sketch-writers.” And yet it was Herzen and Chernishevsky and Dobrolubov, these “sketch-writers,” who kept up the fire of agrarian reform and who practically forced the issue upon Alexander II. Tolstoi ignored the whole revolutionary movement of that time; even more than ignored it; threw himself seemingly into the opposite camp, leading the life of a gay fêted hero returned from the Crimean War. But his Morning of a Landed Proprietor shows that he was thinking deeply even at that time of the social problems around him, only he was thinking more slowly than the rest. He was just waking[vii] up to the fact that the peasant conditions needed improvement, at the time when all around him the youth had passed to the idea that it was not an improvement that they needed, but an absolute change in the fundamental ideas of property. It took him forty years to say, that you might as well ask him how to make use of the ownership, or the labour or the rent of a bonded slave as to ask him for advice as to the problem of owning of land. Here was no reformer speaking, but one who was united with the revolutionary thought around him.

But when the men of the Sixties were making that answer for themselves, and had won the first great step toward the change—the abolition of serfdom—Tolstoi was away altogether from his native land writing that great epoch of the War of 1812—War and Peace. It was because this great soul was undogmatic, and reached out into the world not by mass thinking, but marvellously enough entirely by himself, laying his roots far and deep, that he seemed so slow moving. Yet it was the direction and the end that counted, and the end finds him, like the race between the tortoise and the hare—that he is still ahead.

Even Russia will have far and long to travel to come to that kingdom of God on earth, to that conception of the manifestation of the will of God on earth, which is the spiritual ideal of Tolstoi,[viii] and toward which, express it in any materialistic or naturalistic terms it may, the Russian nation has with one mind been working with such marvellous self-consciousness.

Again, after the emancipation of the serfs, Tolstoi seemed to fail the New Russia, interesting himself only at this moment with the education of the youth and the need of reform—ever the need of reform, when already for over a decade the cry of Russia was for new forms entirely, new land arrangements, new relations between man and man, and man and his property. The time had come, they said, for the Will of the People to be made manifest.

But before Tolstoi could decide on that, he had to decide on a more fundamental problem of what his relation was to God, as well as what his relation was to man. In other words, what were the true spiritual relations between man and man, not only the economic, political and social ones. And it is this attempt to solve the real fundamental meaning to all relationship, the very reason for the youth’s outbursts against the economic, political and social injustices that existed, that kept him moving forward so slowly. For he moved whole worlds at a step.

The only reason for life, he said, is the universal desire for well being, which in man, whose reason has awakened, is expanded into a desire[ix] for universal welfare; in other words, for love. For he knows that he is not a separate being, but a part of a whole, and therefore it is meaningless to think that he can obtain anything for himself alone. It is only in struggling and attaining for the Whole that he can find his true life.

The Russian youth agreed with him entirely. To their logic, the struggle for universal welfare led to terrorism; to Tolstoi, to the absolute non-resistance to evil by violence. The youth said the will of God is being thwarted by a band of oppressors. If we do away with the oppressors we can get together in mutual love. Tolstoi said that he who thinks he can violate the will of God for an immediate good is only short-sighted. Never at any moment can the will of God be thwarted and the good attained.

For a while the Russian Government rather approved of the Tolstoyan attitude of non-resistance to evil. The one who used the greatest amount of violence and evil of all, was pleased to meet the philosophy which advised non-resistance to it. But Tolstoi grew and travelled in his long years and he had to change his conclusions, so that his logic led him to that most self-conscious and difficult of all revolutionary movements, passive-resistance. Take no part in violence, he said; therefore, pay no taxes that support a government which violates, and do not serve in the army[x] which is an act of violence in itself. It was then that Tolstoi was looked upon with askance by the Russian authorities and formerly anathematised from the church. It was to his followers that the more drastic punishment of imprisonment and exile was meted out.

Toward the latter years of his life, his great human heart could not remain quite closed to the violence around him, and religious thinker that he was, he had to stop his meditations to cry out against the Kishineff massacres of the Jews and against the raising of the scaffolds and the tying of the “Stolypine’s neck-ties,” that most telling nick-name of the Russian people for the noose, which was tied even for school children on the crossroads of Russia after the bitter failure of the revolution of 1905.

It was only in What Is Art? that the Russian people and Tolstoi were unanimously at one. Art is to serve the people, to be of the people, to be something understandable by all people. There were to be no dogmas for art, no German metaphysics for art. It was merely the means of expressing to his neighbour the mysteries that went on in the soul of the artist. There was no quarrel here between his fellow countrymen and the great thinker. Everything was to be for the people; the spiritual manifestations of life as well as the material.


How to make clear that for all this seeming lack of harmony, there existed the greatest bond of all between this teacher and his children. Thousands in Russia took his life as an example and left the vainglories of the city with all its false standards and went to live among the people. They went not only to serve them but to be one of them, to live by the sweat of their brow as the masses did, because it was the only moral thing to do, and because the greatest happiness lay in the spiritual values of life, and because, as Tolstoi himself says, “It is good with them, but with us it is shameful.”

I remember so well the deep-set eyes and the long shaggy eyebrows of that all-knowing seer, as he sat on the veranda of his home in Yasnaya Polyana one May afternoon in 1906, and told us that he was a religious thinker and not a political one but that to his mind the revolution in Russia would take fifty years to develop. And with that fine scorn for parliamentarism which would have rejoiced the heart of any syndicalist, he added that that which we were witnessing now, the assembling of the first Duma, was only the first scene of the first act of a five act drama and it was high comedy!

The second scene followed soon and turned out to be bitter tragedy, and before it was quite over Tolstoi wandered off on that last pilgrimage which ended in the little railway station of Ostopova.[xii] He succumbed at last to that “temptation” he speaks of so freely in his Journal, to leave his home conditions, negate himself entirely, and find himself again, merged and at one with the Whole. And the Great Deliverer came and offered him even a greater fusion with all, giving him that “other post,” the “new appointment” he so ardently prayed for in life. When that happened he became at once clear and lucid even to those nearest him—who had criticised him the most. The Russian youth was disconsolate. Our spiritual guide is gone, they cried. Who will hold up the candle for us now? What black night is there in the world, and how to grope our way in it alone!

How lonely it was without that spiritual guide!

The first act of the March Revolution was to redecorate the grave of Tolstoi in the forest of Zakaz, to make the sacred pilgrimage to his resting place and tell the father of the good news—the will of God is being established, reason is awakened in man. Love toward neighbour; nay, the greatest of all, love toward enemies, is being accomplished.

It is with a feeling of reverence that I bring this gift of the inner soul of Tolstoi to the English-speaking public. The very formlessness of the phrases of this Journal helps toward a sincerity of thought which shows itself pure by its[xiii] nakedness. Tolstoi himself knew the value of these documents, for one man was to him as another, and the sincere gropings of a man’s reason toward the understanding of the meaning of life was of value even if they were his own, and especially if they were of one who had lived much and thought much as he did. “It is especially disagreeable to me,” he writes, “when people who have lived little and thought little do not believe me, and, not understanding me, argue with me about moral problems. It would be the same for which a veterinary surgeon would be hurt if people who were not familiar with his art would argue with him.” And Tolstoi knew that he knew his art, he knew consciously, since the spiritual awakening that came to him in the Eighties, the great mission to which he dedicated his life—to find a moral justification of living—and it is therefore that he laid special stress in the disposal of these documents for the public after his death. The volume here printed is only four years of over sixty years of Journal which he kept since his early twenties. They are published first, because it is only with the Journal beginning 1890 that his editor and friend, V. G. Chertkov, has the copied manuscripts in their entirety—from that date up to Tolstoi’s death in 1910.

Over and over again in his life, Tolstoi attempted to make special and legal provision for[xiv] his journals and notebooks, as he calls them, that they be given and spread free to the public, and he designated his friend and follower, who has edited and published this volume in Russian, as the practical inheritor and executor of these manuscripts. He was to publish them in their entirety, except for certain revisions so that there should be preserved, as Tolstoi expressed it, that which ought to be preserved and there should be thrown out that which ought to be thrown out.

“I know,” he wrote to Chertkov, February 8, 1900, “that no one bears such an esteem, respect and love for my spiritual life and its expression as you do. I always said it and now I write it in my notes which express my wishes after my death, asking you especially, and only you, to undertake the revision of my papers.”

This Chertkov has done exceedingly well in the original Russian edition, giving in double brackets the number of the words he left out, which seemed to him necessary on account of their too intimate character. These places I have merely indicated by three points. Unfortunately the Russian volume was printed under the old régime and deletions had to be made on account of the censor, which, because of the difficulty of communication during the war, it was impossible to fill in. These places are also designated in this volume by three points, but in the Russian[xv] edition they are given in double parenthesis, also enclosing the number of the words left out. So that a record of all omissions have been kept.

The problem of disposing of these documents after his death according to his principles against copyrights, occupied Tolstoi for many years. The Russian law nullified any such disposal of property, for legally the inheritor had to be a fixed person “and works to be disposed of free to all” meant nothing. He therefore wrote many wills, defining and modifying his position in all possible ways so that his ideas might be carried out, and in such a form that they could not be frustrated by any one.

His plans were threefold:

1. That all his works written after 1881 as well as all his writings written before that year (the year that marks his spiritual regeneration) but not published until later or not published at all up to his death, should be no one’s property, but be given free to the public for printing and translation.

2. That all his manuscripts and documents (among that number the journals, first drafts of books, letters, etc.,) which would remain after his death should be given over to V. G. Chertkov, who was to revise them and arrange them in suitable form for publication.


3. That the estate of Yasnaya Polyana should be given over to the peasants.

Tolstoi’s first idea was that Chertkov should be one of the legal inheritors, together with the Countess Tolstoi, his wife. But Chertkov refused for various personal reasons, he says, but mainly because he thought that the arrangement for the transfer of property could be best facilitated and could be more delicately managed if some one member of the Tolstoi family was designated instead of an outsider. Tolstoi, therefore, designated as his legal inheritor his youngest daughter Alexandra, who stood in close sympathy with him in his spiritual ideas, and, in case of her death before his own, his eldest daughter Tatiana. He hoped that his daughters, together with the Countess Tolstoi, would fulfil his requests concerning the disposal of his posthumous documents and the gift of the estate according to his wishes.

After Tolstoi’s death the estate was given to the peasants by means of the sale of most of the posthumous documents which enabled his daughter Alexandra to buy back the estate from the family and give it to the peasants as directed by Tolstoi, but in the matter of the journals it was more difficult to arrange from the fact that the Countess Tolstoi placed all these journals and notebooks in the Moscow Historical Museum on the ground that they were a gift of Tolstoi to[xvii] her during his lifetime and that therefore she had a right to dispose of them as she thought best. The matter would have taken only a legal process in the court to disentangle, a thing which the Countess Alexandra Tolstoi did not wish to undertake as being against the spirit of her father to use legal force to come to an agreement.

Chertkov, therefore, was forced to use only such copies of the original journals and notebooks which he happened to have in his possession. The present volume is made from a copy done by the hands of the Prince and Princess Obolensky, the son-in-law and daughter of Tolstoi, who also stood very near to Tolstoi spiritually, were conscientious in their fulfilment of such tasks for him, and who knew his handwriting very well. The original documents are still in the Moscow Historical Museum, but Chertkov has promised to publish the volumes and journals which he has from the years 1900 to 1910, and has already brought out a second volume of this series, which dates from Tolstoi’s early years in the twenties.

Whatever value this volume has as a historical and exact transcript of Tolstoi’s original jottings-down as they came to him, it has much more value as a transcript of the thoughts of a great Russian which have so permeated his people that they are now being rewritten on the pages of Russian[xviii] history. It is because the blood of his brother calls to him from under the ground, that the Russian has undertaken to advance one step nearer to the fulfilment of the great law—to live together in harmony, to serve his brother and to do the one work—which is the one work for all, to love.

The hundred-years readiness for sacrifice for the common good, the willingness to go to exile and death of four generations of men and women, the red flag now flying over the Winter Palace in Petrograd with the letters of gold, “Proletarians of all Nation Unite,” the insistent call to the peoples of the world to overthrow all oppressors and live together in mutual harmony, the trumpet calls of a democracy whose tones are so strange and new, that we across the borders seem not to hear or understand them, all have their spiritual counterpart in the pages of this book. It is Russia that speaks here.

I must give my thanks to Mr. Alexander Gourevich who so carefully compared the original text and English translation, and to Mr. Joseph Peroshnikoff who patiently revised the notes and assisted in the compilation of the index.

Rose Strunsky.

New York, May, 1917.




October–December 1895



I continue[1][A] October 28. Yasnaya Polyana.

Have been thinking:

Have been thinking one thing: that this life which we see around us is a movement of matter according to fixed, well-known laws; but that in us we feel the presence of an altogether different law, having nothing in common with the others and requiring from us the fulfilment of its demands. It can be said that we see and recognise all the other laws only because we have in us this law. If we did not recognise this law, we would not recognise the others.

This law is different from all the rest, principally in this, that those other laws are outside of us and forces us to obey them; but this law is in us—and more than in us; it is our very selves and therefore it does not force us when we obey it, but on the contrary frees us, because in following it we become ourselves. And for this reason we are[4] drawn to fulfil this law and we sooner or later will inevitably fulfil it. In this then consists the freedom of the will. This freedom consists in this, that we should recognise that which is—namely that this inner law is ourselves.

This inner law is what we call reason, conscience, love, the good, God. These words have different meanings, but all from different angles mean one and the same thing. In our understanding of this inner law, the son of God, consists indeed the essence of the Christian doctrine.

The world can be looked upon in this way: a world exists governed by certain, well-known laws, and within this world are beings subject to the same laws, but who at the same time bear in themselves another law not in accord with the former laws of the world, a higher law, and this law must inevitably triumph within these beings and defeat the lower law. And in this struggle and in the gradual victory of the higher law over the lower, in this only is life for man and the whole world.

Oct. 29. Yasnaya Polyana. If I live.[2]

[A] These superior figures refer to the editor’s notes which begin on page 299.

Nov. 5. Y. P.

I have skipped 6 days. It seems to me, I thought little during this time: I wrote a little, chopped wood and was indisposed—but lived through much. I lived through much, because in[5] fulfilling a promise to S.[3], I read through all my journals for the past seven years.

It seems to me, I am approaching a simple and clear expression of that by which I live. How good that I didn’t finish the Catechism![4] I think I shall write it differently and better, if the Father wishes it. I understand why it is impossible to say it quickly. If it could be said all at once, by what then would we live in the realm of thought? It will never be given me to go farther than this task.

I just took a walk and understood clearly why I can’t make Resurrection go better: it was begun falsely. I understood this in thinking over again the story: Who is Right?[5] (about children). I understood that one must begin with the life of the peasants, that they are the subject, they are positive, but that the other thing is shadow, the other thing is negative. And I understood the same thing about Resurrection. One must begin with her.[6] I want to begin immediately.

During this time there were letters: from Kenworthy,[7] a beautiful one from Shkarvan,[8] and from a Dukhobor in Tiflis.[9]

Have written to no one for a long time. General indisposition and no energy. The stage manager and the decorator[10] were here, students from Kharkov against whom I think I did not sin, Ivan Ivanovich Bochkarev,[11] Kolasha.[12]...


Nov. 6. Y. P. If I live.

November 7. Y. P.

I wrote a little these two days on the new Resurrection. My conscience hurts when I remember how trivially I began it. So far, I rejoice when I think of the work as I am beginning it.

I chopped a little. I went to Ovsiannikovo, had a good talk with Maria Alexandrovna[13] and Ivan Ivanovich.[14] Waltz’s assistant was here and a Frenchman with a poem....

November 8, 9. Y. P.

Have written little on Resurrection. I was not disappointed, but I was weak.

Yesterday Dunaev[15] came. Chopped much yesterday, overtired myself. To-day I walked. I went to Constantine Bieli’s.[16] He is very much to be pitied. Then I walked in the village. It is good with them, but with us it is shameful. Wrote letters. Wrote to Bazhenov[17] and three others. Thought:

1) The confirmation of the fact, that reason liberates the latent love in man for justice is the proverb, “Comprendre c’est tout pardoner.” If you forgive a man, you will love him. To forgive means to cease to condemn and to hate.

2) If a man believes something at the word of another, he will lose his belief in that which[7] he would have inevitably believed in, had he not trusted the other one. He who believes in ... etc., ceases to believe in reason. They even say straight out, one ought not to believe in reason.

3) ...

A very interesting letter from Holland, about what a youth is to do who is called to military service, when he is the sole supporter of his mother.[18]

November 10. Y. P.

Slept with difficulty. Weakness both physical and intellectual and—for which I am at fault—also moral. Rode horseback. Posha[19] arrived.... A wonderful French pamphlet about war.[20] Yes, 20 years are needed for that thought to become a general one. My head aches and seems to crackle and rumble. Father, help me when I am most weak that I may not fall morally. It is possible.

Nov. 11. Y. P. If I live.

I write and think: it is possible that I won’t be. Every day I make attempts, and I get more accustomed to it.

To-day November 15.

I have been so weak all the time I could write nothing except a few letters. A letter to Shkarvan.[8] There have been here, Dunaiev, Posha, Maria Vasilievna.[21] They left yesterday. Yesterday also I went to see Maria Alexandrovna; she is ill. To-day Aunt Tanya[22] and Sonya came.

I didn’t sleep at night and therefore didn’t work. But I wrote on the girl Konefsky[23] and a little in my journal. I am reading Schopenhauer’s[24] “Aphorisms.” Very good. Only put “The service of God” instead of “The recognition of the vanity of life,” and we agree.

Now 2 o’clock, I shall write out later what I have noted down.[25]

December 7. Moscow.

Almost a month since I have made any entries. During this time we moved to Moscow. The weakness has passed a little, and I am working earnestly, though with little success, on the Declaration of Faith.[26] Yesterday I wrote a little article on whipping.[27] I lay down to sleep in the day and had just dozed off—I felt as if some one jerked me; I got up, began to think about whipping, and wrote it out.

During this time, I went to the theatre[28] for the rehearsals of the Power of Darkness. Art, beginning as a game, has continued to be the toy of adults. This is also proved by music, of which I have heard much. It is ineffectual. On the contrary, it detracts when there is ascribed to it[9] the unsuitable meaning which is ascribed to it. Realism, moreover, weakens its significance ...

N. refused to serve in the military. I called on him.[29] Philosophov[30] died.... Wrote several worthless letters.

I have thought during this time much—in meaning. Much of it I could not understand and have forgotten.

1) I have often wanted to suffer, wanted persecution. That means that I was lazy and didn’t want to work, so that others should work for me, torturing me, and I should only suffer.

2) It is terrible, the perversions ... of the mind to which men expose children for their own purposes during the time of their education. The rule of conscious materialism is only explained by this. The child is instilled with such nonsense that afterwards the materialistic, limited, false conception, which is not developed to the conclusions which would show its falsity, appears like an enormous conquest of the intellect.

3) I made a note, “Violence frees,” and it was something very clear and important, and now I don’t remember what it was at all.

I have remembered. December 23. Violence is a temptation because it frees us from the strain of attention, from the work of reasoning: one must labour to undo a knot; to cut it, is shorter.


4) A usual perversion of reason, which is made through a violently enforced faith, is to make men satisfied either with idolatry or with materialism, which at bottom is one and the same thing. Faith in the reality of our conceptions is faith in an idol, and the consequences are the same; one must bring sacrifices to it.

5) I can imagine consciousness transferred to the life of the spirit to such a degree that the sufferings of the body would be met gladly.

6) A beautiful woman smiles, and we think that because she smiles she says something good and true when she smiles. But often the smile seasons something entirely foul.

7) Education. It is worth while occupying oneself with education, in order to find out all one’s shortcomings. Seeing them, you will begin to correct them. But to correct oneself is indeed the best method of education for one’s children and for others’ and for grown-up people.

Just now I read a letter from Shkarvan[31] that medical help does not appear to him like a boon, that the lengthening of many empty lives for many hundred years is much less important to him than the weakest blowing, as he writes, (a puff) on the spark of divine love in the heart of another. Here then in this blowing, lies the whole art of education. But to kindle it in others, one must kindle it in oneself.


8) To love means to desire that which the beloved object desires. The objects of love desire opposing things, and therefore, we can only love that which desires one and the same thing. But that which desires one and the same thing is God.

9) Man beginning to live, loves only himself, and separates himself from other beings in that he constantly loves that which alone constitutes his being. But as soon as he recognises himself as a separate being, he recognises also his own love, and he is no longer content with this love for himself and he begins to love other beings. And the more he lives a conscious life, the greater and greater number of beings he will begin to love, though not with such a stable and unceasing love as that with which he loves himself, but nevertheless, in such a way that he wishes good to everything he loves, and he rejoices at this good, and suffers at the evil which tries the beloved beings, and he unites into one all that he loves.

As life is love, why not suppose that my “self,” that which I consider to be myself and love with a special love, is perhaps the union I made in a former life of things which I loved, just as I am making a union of things now. The other has already taken place and this one is taking place.

Life is the enlargement of love, the widening of its borders, and this widening is going on in[12] various lives. In the present life, this widening appears to me in the form of love. This widening is necessary for my inner life and it is also necessary for the life of this world. But my life can manifest itself not only in this form. It manifests itself in an innumerable quantity of forms. Only this one is apparent to me.

But in the meantime, the movement of life understood by me in this world, through the enlargement of love in myself and through the union of beings through love, produces at the same time other effects, one or many, unseen by me. As for instance, I put together 8 toy cubes to make a picture on one side of them, not seeing the other sides of the constructed cubes, but on the other sides are being formed pictures just as regular, though unseen by me.

(All this was very clear when it came into my head, and now I have forgotten everything and the result is nonsense.)

10) I have thought much about God, about the essence of my life, and it seemed I only doubted one and the other and believed in my own conclusions; and then, one time, not long ago, I simply had the desire to lean upon my faith in God and in the indestructibility of my soul, and to my astonishment I felt so firm and calm a confidence, as I have never felt before. So that all my doubts and scrutinisings have evidently, not only[13] not weakened my faith, but have strengthened it to an enormous degree.

11) Reason is not given that we should recognise what we ought to love; this it won’t disclose; but only for this: to show what we ought not to love.

12) As in each piece of handiwork, the principal art lies not in the regular making of certain things anew, but in the ever bettering of the inevitable faults of a wrong and ruined work, so even in the business of life, the principal wisdom is not how to begin to act and how to lead life correctly, but how to better faults, how to liberate oneself from errors and seductions.

13) Happiness is the satisfaction of the requirements of a man’s being living from birth to death in this world only; but the good is the satisfaction of the requirements of the eternal essence living in man.

14) The essence of the teachings of Christ consists in this, that man ought to know who he is; that he should understand, like a bird which does not use its wings and runs on the land, that he is not a mortal animal, dependent on the conditions of the world, but like a bird which has understood that it has wings and has faith in them, he should understand that he himself was never born and never died and always is, and passes through this world in one of the innumerable forms of[14] life to fulfil the will of Him who sent him into this life.

Dec. 8. Moscow. If I live.

Mascha[32] is with Ilia,[33] a loving letter from her to-day.

To-day December 23. Moscow.

It is long since I have made an entry. On the 30th, the Chertkovs[34] came. It is two days since Kenworthy arrived. He is very pleasant....

Have continued to write the Declaration—am progressing. Off and on, I think out the drama,[35] and yesterday I raved about it all night. I am not well; a bad cold in the head, influenza. Because of the letter to the Englishman, I began also a letter on the collision between England and America.[36]

Have been thinking during this time:

1) I have been thinking especially clearly of that which I have already said many times; that all the evil in the world comes only from this, that people look upon themselves, upon their own personality, as a worthy object of their conscious life—upon themselves or upon a group of personalities, it is all the same.

As long as a man lives for himself unconsciously, he does no harm. If there is a struggle, then the struggle is an unconscious one which is ended at[15] once when the struggle with surroundings is ended; man adjusts himself to it or he goes under, and this struggle is neither cruel nor is it an evil one. The struggle begins to be cruel only when man directs his consciousness upon it, prepares it, strengthens and multiplies its energy tenfold and hundredfold.

As Pascal says: there are three kinds of people; one kind know nothing and sit quietly, and just as quiet are those who know; but there are a middle kind who don’t know but believe they do; from them comes all the evil in the world. They are the people in whom consciousness has awakened, but they don’t know how to use it.

2) The whole thing lies in this—that you should always remember who you are. There is no situation so difficult, from which the way out would not immediately offer itself, if you only would remember that you are not a temporary, material manifestation, but an eternal omnipresent being. “I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in me shall never die, and though he were dead yet shall he live. Believest thou this?”

I walked on the street. A wretched beggar approached me. I forgot who I was and passed by. And then suddenly I remembered, and just as naturally as the hungry begin to eat and the tired[16] sit down, I turned back and handed him something. It is the same with the temptation to quarrel, to insult, to be vain.

3) One can not voluntarily cease to remain awake, i. e. to fall asleep. Just as little can one voluntarily cease to live. Life is more important than the will, than desire. (Unclear.)

4) Receive with thankfulness the enjoyments of the flesh—all that you meet on the way, if they are not sinful—in short, if they do not go against your consciousness, if they do not make it suffer. But use the efforts of your will, your liberty, only to serve God.

I just wrote a letter to Crosby.[37] He is working in America.

Dec. 24. Moscow. If I live.

Yesterday I received the “Open Letter” of Spielhagen, the Socialist, which appeared in the newspapers with regard to Drozhin.[38]




January 23. Moscow.

Just a month that I made no entries. During this time I wrote a letter about patriotism[39] and a letter to Crosby[40] and here now for two weeks I have been writing the drama. I wrote three acts abominably. I thought to make an outline so as to form a charpente. I have little hope of success.

Chertkov and Kenworthy went away the 7th. Sonya went to Tver to Andrusha.[41] To-day Nagornov[42] died. I am again a little indisposed.

I jotted down during this time:

1) A true work of art—a contagious one—is produced only when the artist seeks, strives. In poetry this passion for representing that which is, comes from the fact that the artist hopes that having seen clearly and having fixed that which is, he will understand the meaning of that which is.

2) In every art there are two departures from the way, vulgarity and artificiality. Between them both there is only a narrow path. And this narrow path is outlined by impulse. If you have impulse and direction, you pass by both dangers. Of the two, the more terrible is artificiality.


3) It is impossible to compel reason to examine and clarify that which the heart does not wish.

4) It is bad when reason wishes to give the meaning of virtue to selfish efforts.

Kudinenko[43] was here. A remarkable man. N. took the oath and is serving.[44] A letter from Makovitsky[45] with an article on the Nazarenes.[46]

Jan. 24. Moscow. If I live.

Jan. 25. Moscow.

During these two days the chief event was the death of Nagornov. Always new and full of meaning is death. It occurred to me: they represent death in the theatre. Does it produce 1/1,000,000 of that impression which the nearness of a real death produces?

I continue writing the drama. I have written four acts. All bad. But it is beginning to resemble a real thing.

Jan. 26. Mosc. If I live.

January 26. Moscow.

I am alive, but I don’t live. Strakhov—to-day I heard of his death.[47] To-day they buried Nagornov—and that is news. I lay down to sleep, but could not sleep, and there appeared before me so clearly and brightly, an understanding of life whereby we would feel[21] ourselves to be travellers. Before us lies a stage of the road with the same well-known conditions. How can one walk along that road otherwise than eagerly, gaily, friendly, and actively together, not grieving over the fact that you yourself are going away or that others are going ahead of you thither, where we shall again be still more together.

To-day I wrote a postscript to the letter to Crosby. A good letter from Kenworthy. Unpleasantness with N. He is a journalist.

Jan. 26 [27?]. Moscow. If I live.

Almost a month that I have made no entries. To-day, Feb. 13, Moscow.

I wanted to go to the Olsuphievs.[48].... There is much bustle here and it takes up much time. I sit down late to my work and therefore write little. I finished somehow the fifth act of the drama and took up Resurrection. I read over eleven chapters and am gradually advancing. I corrected the letter to Crosby.

An event—an important one—Strakhov’s death, and something else—Davydov’s conversation with the Emperor.[49]......

The article by Ertel[50] that the efforts of the liberals are useful, and also the letter by Spielhagen on the same theme,[51] provoke me. But I can not, I must not write. I have no time. The letters[22] from Sopotsko[52] and Zdziekhovsky[53] on the Orthodox Church and on the Catholic, provoke me on the other hand. However, I shall hardly write. But here yesterday I received a letter from Grinevich’s[54] mother on the religious bringing up of children. That I must do. At least I must use all my strength to do this.

Very much music—it is useless.... As regards religion, I am very cool at present.

Thought during this time (much I have forgotten and have not written down):

1) Oh, not to forget death for a moment, into which at any moment you can fall! If we would only remember that we are not standing upon an even plain (if you think we are standing so, then you are only imagining that those who have gone away have fallen overboard and you yourself are afraid that you will fall overboard), but that we are rolling on, without stopping, running into each other, getting ahead and being got ahead of, yonder behind the curtain which hides from us those who are going away, and will hide us from those who remain. If we remember that always, then, how easy and joyous it is to live and roll together, yonder down the same incline, in the power of God, with Whom we have been and in Whose power we are now and will be afterwards and forever. I have been feeling this very keenly.


2) There is no more convincing proof of the existence of God, than the faculty of the soul by which we can transport ourselves into other beings. Out of this faculty flows both love and reason, but neither one nor the other is in us, but they are outside of us and we only coincide with them. (Unclear.)

3) The power to kill oneself is free play given to people. God did not want slaves in this life, but free workers. If you remain in this life, then it means that its conditions are advantageous to you. If advantageous—then work. If you go away from the conditions here, if you kill yourself, then the same thing will be put before you again there. So there is nowhere to go.

It would be good to write the history of what a man lives through in this life who committed suicide in a past life; how, coming up against the same requirements which were placed before him in the other life, he comes to the realisation that he must fulfil them. And in this life he is more intelligent than in the others, remembering the lesson given him.

4) How does it happen that a clever, educated man believes in the nonsensical? Man thinks that which his heart desires. Only if his heart desires the truth, and only if it does, will he think the truth. But if his heart desires earthly pleasures and peace, he will think of that which will bring[24] him earthly pleasures and peace or still something else. But as it is not an attribute of man to have earthly pleasures and peace, he will think falsely; and to be able to think falsely he will hypnotise himself.

(Unclear, not good.)

Feb. 14. M. If I live.

To-day February 22. Nicholskoe, at the Olsuphievs.[55]

It is already more than a week that I feel depressed in spirit. No life; I can not work on anything. Father of my life and of all life! If my work is already finished here, as I am beginning to think, and the ending of my spiritual life, which I am beginning to feel, means a transfer into that other life—that I am already beginning to live there and that here these remnants are being taken away little by little—then show it to me more clearly that I may not seek and weary myself. Otherwise it seems to me that I have many well-thought plans, yet I have no means, not only for carrying them through—this I know, I ought not to think of—but even to do something good, something pleasing to Thee as long as I live here. Or give me strength to work with the consciousness of serving Thee. Still, Thy will be done. If only I always felt that life consisted only in the fulfilment[25] of Thy will, I would not doubt. But doubt comes because I bite the bit and don’t feel the reins.

It is now 2 o’clock. I am going to dinner. I took a walk, slept in the morning, read Trilby. And I want to sleep all the time.

During this time, what has happened? Almost nothing. I thought on the Declaration of Faith.

If I live. February 23. Nicholskoe.

To-day February 27. Nicholskoe.

Am writing the drama, it moves very stiffly. Indeed I don’t even know if I am progressing or not.... I am very comfortable here; the important thing—it is quiet.

Read Trilby—poor. Wrote letters to Chertkov, Schmidt,[56] Kenworthy. Read Corneille—instructive.

Have been thinking:

1) I made a note that there are two arts. Now thinking it over, I don’t find a clear expression of my thought. Then I thought that there was an art, as they rightly characterise it, which grew from play, from the need of every creature to play. The play of the calf is jumping, the play of man is a symphony, a picture, a poem, a novel.

This is one kind of art, the art of play, of[26] thinking out new plays, producing old ones and inventing new. That is a good thing, useful and valuable because it increases man’s joys. But it is clear that it is possible to occupy oneself with play only when sated. Thus society can only occupy itself with art, when all its members are sated. But as long as all its members are not sated, there can not be real art, there will be an art of the overfed, a deformed one, and an art of the hungry ones—rough and poor, just as it is now. And therefore, in the first kind of art—of play—only that part is of value which is attainable to all, which increases the joys of all.

If it is like this, then it is not a bad thing, especially if it does not demand an increase of toil on the part of the oppressed, as happens now.

(This could and should be expressed better.)

But there is yet another art which calls forth in man better and higher feelings. I wrote this just now—something I have said many times—and I think it isn’t true. Art is only one and consists in this: to increase the sinless general joys accessible to all—the good of man. A nice building, a gay picture, a song, a story give a little good; the awakening of religious feelings, of the love of good brought forth by a drama, a picture, a song—give great good.

The 2nd thing that I have been thinking about art, is that nowhere is conservatism so harmful[27] as in art. Art is one of the manifestations of the spiritual life of man, and therefore, as when an animal is alive, it breathes and discharges the products of its breathing, so when humanity is alive, it manifests activity in art. And therefore, at every given moment it must be contemporaneous—the art of our time. One ought only to know where it is (not in the decadence of music, poetry, or the novel); and one must seek it not in the past, but in the present. People who wish to show themselves connoisseurs of art and who therefore praise the past classic art and insult the present, only show by this, that they have no feeling for art.

3) Rachinsky[57] says: “Notice that contemporaneous with the spread of the use of narcotics, since the 17th century, the astounding progress of science began, and especially of the natural ones.” Is it not because of this, I say to him, that the false direction of science has come, the studying of that which is not necessary to man, but is only an object for idle curiosity, or when useful, is not the only thing really necessary? Is it not because of this that from that time on there was neglected the one thing that was necessary, i.e. the settling of moral questions and their application to life?

4) What is the good? I only know a word in Russian which defines this idea. The good is the real good, the good for all, le veritable bien, le bien de tous, what is good for everybody.[58]


5) Men, in struggling with untruth and superstition, often console themselves with the quantity of superstition they have destroyed. This is not right. It is not right to calm oneself until all that is contradictory to reason and demands credulence is destroyed. Superstition is like a cancer. Everything must be cleaned out if one undertakes an operation. But if a little bit is left, everything will grow from it again.

6) The historic knowledge of how different myths and beliefs arose among peoples in different places and in different times ought to, it seems, destroy the faith that these myths and beliefs which have been inoculated in us from our infancy, constitute the absolute truth; but nevertheless, so-called educated people believe in them. How superficial then, is the education of so-called educated people!

7) To-day at dinner there was talk about a boy with vicious inclinations who was expelled from school, and about how good it would be to give him over to a reformatory.

It is exactly what a man does who lives a bad life, harmful to his health, and who, when he becomes ill, turns to the doctor so that the latter may cure him, but has no idea that the illness was given to him as a beneficial indicator that his whole life is bad and that he ought to change it. The[29] same thing is true with the illnesses in our society; every ill member of society does not remind us that the whole life of our society is irregular and that we ought to change it. But we think that for every such ill member, there is or ought to be, an institution freeing us from this member or even bettering him.

Nothing hampers the progress of humanity so much as this false conviction. The more ill the society, the more institutions there are for the healing of symptoms and the less anxiety for changing the entire life.

It is now 10 o’clock in the evening. I am going to supper. I want to work very much, but am without intellectual energy; a great weakness, yet I want to work terribly. If God would only give it to-morrow.

Feb. 28. Nicholskoe. If I live.

To-day March 6. Nicholskoe.

All this time I have felt weakness and intellectual apathy. I am working on the drama very slowly. Much has become clear. But there isn’t one scene with which I am fully satisfied.

To-day I was about to plan something silly: to write out an outline of the Declaration of Faith. Of course it didn’t go. In the same way I began and dropped a letter to the Italians.[59]


During this time I jotted down:

1) Corneille writes in his Préface to Menteur on art, that its aim is a diversion, “divertir,” but that it must not be harmful, and if possible, it ought to be educationally enlightening.

2) At supper there was a discussion on heredity: they say vicious people are born from an alcoholic ... (I can’t clearly express my thought and will put it by.)

3) Something very important. I lay and was almost asleep, suddenly something seemed to tear in my heart. It occurred to me: that is the way death comes from heart failure; and I remained calm—I felt neither grief nor joy, but blessedly calm—whether here or there, I know that it is well with me, that things are as they ought to be, just like a child, tossed in the arms of its mother, does not stop smiling from joy for it knows that it is in her loving arms.

And the thought came to me: why is it so now and was not so before? Because before, I did not live the whole of life, but lived only an earthly life. In order to believe in immortality, one must live an immortal life here. One can walk with one’s feet and not see the precipice before one, over which it is impossible to cross, and one can rise on one’s wings....[60]

(It isn’t going and I don’t feel like thinking.)

March 7, 1896. Nicholskoe. If I live.


To-day May 2. Yasnaya Polyana.

It is almost two months since I have made an entry. All this time I lived in Moscow. Of important events there were: a getting closer to the scribe Novikov[61] who changed his life on account of my books which his brother, a lackey, received from his mistress abroad. A hot-blooded youth. Also his brother, a working man, asked for “What is my Faith?” and Tania[62] sent him to Mme. Kholevinsky.[63] They took Mme. Kholevinsky to prison. The prosecuting attorney said that they ought to go after me. All this together made me write a letter to the ministers of Justice and the Interior in which I begged them to transfer their prosecution to me.[64]

All this time I wrote on the Declaration of Faith. I made little progress. Chertkov, Posha Biriukov were here and went away. My relations with people are good. I have stopped riding the bicycle. I wonder how I could have been so infatuated.

I heard Wagner’s Siegfried.[65] I have many thoughts in connection with this and other things. In all I have jotted down 20 thoughts in my notebook.

Still another important event—the work of African Spier.[66] I just read through what I wrote in the beginning of this notebook. At bottom, it is nothing else than a short summary of all of[32] Spier’s philosophy which I not only had not read at that time, but about which I had not the slightest idea. This work clarified my ideas on the meaning of life remarkably, and in some ways strengthened them. The essence of his doctrine is that things do not exist, but only our impressions which appear to us in our conception as objects. Conception (Vorstellung) has the quality of believing in the existence of objects. This comes from the fact that the quality of thinking consists in attributing an objectivity to impressions, a substance, and a projecting of them into space.

May 3. Y. P.

Let me write down anything. Am indisposed. Weakness and physical apathy. But think and feel keenly. Yesterday at least, I wrote a few letters: to Spier,[67] Shkarvan, Myasoyedov,[68] Perer, Sverbeev.[69]

I am reading Spier all the time, and the reading provokes a mass of thoughts.

Let me write out something at least from my 21 notes.

To-day I worked on the Declaration of Faith.

1) “Come and dwell in us and cleanse us of all evil” ... On the contrary: Cleanse thy soul of evil thyself and He will come and dwell in thee. He only waits for this. Like water he flows into[33] thee in the measure as room is freed. “Dwell in us.” How agonisingly lonely it is without Thee—this I experienced these days and how peaceful, firm and joyous, needing nothing and no one when with Thee. Do not leave me!

I can not pray. His tongue is different from that which I speak, but He will understand and translate it into His own when I say: “Help me, come to me, do not leave me!”

And here I have fallen into a contradiction. I say you have to cleanse yourself, then He will come. But I, not yet having cleansed myself, call upon Him.

May 4. If I still live here, Y. P.

May 5. Y. P.

The same general despair. And I am sad. There is one cause; the higher moral requirement that I put forward. In its name I have rejected everything that is beneath it. But it was not followed. Fifteen years ago I proposed giving away the greater part of the property and to live in four rooms. Then they would have an ideal....

To-day I rode past Gill.[70] I thought: no undertaking is profitable with a small amount of capital. The more capital, the more profits; the less expenses. But from this it in no way follows that, as Marx says, capitalism will lead to socialism.[34] Perhaps it will lead to it, but to one with force. The workingmen will be compelled to work together, and they will work less and the pay will be more, but there will be the same slavery. It is necessary that people work freely in common, that they learn to work for each other, but capitalism doesn’t teach them that; on the contrary, it teaches them envy, greed, selfishness. Therefore, through a forced uniting brought about by capitalism, the material condition of the workers can be bettered, but their contentment can in no way be established. Contentment can only be established through the free union of the workers. And for this it is necessary to learn how to unite, to perfect oneself morally, to willingly serve others without being hurt when not receiving a return. And this can’t in any way be learned under the capitalistic, competitive system, but under an entirely different one.

I sleep alone downstairs.

To-morrow, May 6th, Y. P.

To-day, May 9, Y. P.

Up to now, I haven’t yet written out all that I had to. Have been continually indisposed. Notwithstanding this, I work in the mornings. To-day, it seemed to me I advanced very much. Our people have gone away, some to the coronation,[35] others to Sweden.[71] I am alone with Masha; she has a sore throat. I am well.

May 10, If I live. Y. P.

To-day, May 11, Y. P.

Sonya arrived from Moscow. I continue to write the Declaration of Faith. It seems as if I were weakening. To-day I received a letter from N, a tangled up revolutionist. In the evening I rode horseback to Yasenki[72] and thought:

I have not yet written out everything from my notebooks. I will jot down at least this, the more so since, when it came into my head it seemed to me very important. Namely:

1) Spier says we know only sensations. It is true, the material of our knowledge is sensations. But one must ask; why variation of sensations (even of one and the same sense of sight or touch). He (Spier) insists too much that corporeality is an illusion, and does not answer the question: why variation of sensations? It is not bodies that make variation of sensations, I agree to this, but it is just such beings as we, who must be the cause of these sensations.

I know that what he recognises as our being he recognises as a unit. Good. Admitting it is a unit, then it is a divided off, broken off unit, and I am a unit being only within certain limits. And[36] these limits of my being are the limits of other beings. Or, one being is outlined by limits and these limits create sensations, i. e., the material of knowledge. There are no bodies, bodies are illusions, but other beings are not illusions and I recognise them through sensations. Their activity produces sensations in me and I conclude that the same effect is produced in them by my activity. When I receive sensations from a man with whom I come in contact, it can be understood; but when I receive sensations from the earth upon which I fall, from the sun which warms me, what is it that produces these sensations in me? Probably the activities of beings whose life I do not understand; but I recognise only a part of them like the flea on my body. Touching the earth, feeling the warmth of the sun, my limits come in contact with the limits of the sun. I am in the world (I project this into space. I can not do it otherwise though it is not so in reality) like a cell, not an immovable one, but one wandering and touching by his limits, not only the limits of other cells of the same kind, but other enormous bodies.

Better still, not to project this into space; I act and am acted upon by the greatest variety of beings; or, my division of a unit being associates with other divisions of the most various kinds.

(What a lot of nonsense!)


May 12, Y. P. If I live.

Pentecost. It is cold, damp, and not a leaf on the trees.

To-day already, May 16, Y. P. Morning.

I can not write my Declaration of Faith. It is unclear, metaphysical, and whatever good there is in it, I spoil. I am thinking of beginning it all from the beginning again or to call a stop and get to work on a novel or a drama.

N.[73] was here; it was a difficult love test. I passed it only outwardly and even then badly. If the examiner had gone along thoroughly, skipping about, I would have failed shamefully.

A beautiful article by Menshikov, “The Blunders of Fear.”[74] How joyous! I can almost die, even absolutely, and yet it always seems as if there is something still to be done. Do it and the end will take care of itself. If you are no longer fit for the work, you will be changed and a new one will be sent and you will be sent to another work. If only one rises in work!

Strakhov Th. A.[75] was here. The other one, N.,[76] came to me in my sleep. I had a talk with him[77] about the Declaration of Faith. In speaking to him I felt how hazy was the desire for the good in itself. And I corrected it this way:

1) A man at a certain period of his development awakens to a consciousness of his life. He[38] sees that everything about him lives (and he himself lived like that before the awakening of his reason) without knowing its life. Now that he has learned that he lives, he understands that force which gives life to the whole world and in his consciousness he coincides with it, but being limited by his separate being (his organism), it seems to him that the purpose of this force which gives life to the world, is the life of his separate being.

(I thought that I would write it clearly and again I am confused;—evidently I am not ready.)

Life is the desire for the good. (Everything that lives, lives only because it desires the good; that which does not desire the good, does not live.)

Man, when awakened to a reasoning consciousness, is conscious of life in himself, i. e. of the desire for the good. But since this consciousness is engendered in the separate bodily being of man, since man learns that life is the desire for the good when he is already separated from others by his bodily being, therefore, in the first awakening of man to a reasoning consciousness, it seems to him that life, i. e. the desire for the good which he recognises in himself, has for its object his separate bodily being. And man begins to live consciously for the good of his separate being, begins[39] to use that reason of his which revealed to him the essence of all life; the desire for the good, in order to secure the good for his own separate being.

But the longer a man lives, the more obvious it becomes to him that his purpose is unattainable. And therefore, while he has not yet made clear to himself his error, even before he recognises by reason the impossibility of the good for a separate personality, man knows by experience and feeling the error of activity which is directed to the good of his own separate personality and he naturally strives that his life, his desire for the good, be drawn away from his own personality and brought over to other things; to comrades, friends, family, society.

This same reason which he desires to use for the attainment of the good for his own separate being, shows man that this good is unattainable, that it becomes destroyed by the struggle between the separate beings for the desired good, destroyed by the unpreventable, innumerable disasters and sufferings which threaten man, and above all, by the unavoidable illnesses, sufferings, old age and death which occur in the individual life of man. No matter how man might expand his desire for the good to other beings, he can not but see that all these separate beings are like him, subject to unavoidable sufferings and death and therefore,[40] they, just as he, can not have real life by themselves.

And it is just this error of men who have awakened to the consciousness of life that the Christian teaching dissipates, in showing to man that as soon as a consciousness of life has awakened in him, i. e. the desire for the good, then his being, his “self” is no longer his separate bodily being, but that same consciousness of life, the desire for the good not for himself, which was born in his separate being. The consciousness, therefore, of the desire for the good, is the desire for the good for everything existent. And the desire for the good for everything existent, is God.

The Christian teaching teaches just this, that His son, who resembles God, and who was sent by the Father into the world that the will of the Father be fulfilled in him, lives in man with an awakened consciousness (the conversation with Nicodemus.)

The Christian teaching reveals to man with an awakened consciousness, that the meaning and the aim of his life does not consist, as it seemed to him before, in the acquiring of the greater good for his own separate personality or for other such personalities like him, no matter how many they are, but only in the fulfilment in this world of the will of the Father who has sent man into the[41] world—it reveals also to man the will of the Father in regard to the son. The will of the Father in regard to the son is that there should be manifested in this world that desire for the good which forms the essence of his life, so that man living in this world should wish the good to a greater and greater number of beings and consequently he should serve them as he serves his own good.


May 17, Y. P.

Again I am dissatisfied with what I wrote yesterday and which seemed to me true and full. Last night and this morning I thought about the same thing. Here are the new things which have become clear to me:

1) That the desire for the good is not God, but only one of His manifestations, one of the sides from which we see God. God in me is manifested by the desire for the good;

2) That this God which is enclosed in man, begins to strive to free Himself in broadening and enlarging the being in whom He dwells; then, seeing the impassable limits of this being, He tries to free Himself by going outside of this being and embracing other beings;

3) That a reasoning being cannot find room for[42] himself in the life of an individual, and that as soon as he becomes reasoning he tries to go out of it;

4) That the Christian teaching reveals to man that the essence of his life is not his separate being, but God, which is enclosed in his being. This God, therefore, becomes known to man through reason and love ...

I can not write any farther; weak, sleepy.

5) And above all, that the desire for the good for oneself, love for oneself, could exist in man only up to the time when reason had not yet awakened in him. But as soon as reason had wakened in him, then it became clear to man that the desire for the good for himself—a separate being—was futile, because the good is not realisable for a separate and mortal being. Just as soon as reason appeared, then there became possible only one kind of desire for the good; the desire for the good for all, because with the desire for the good for all, there is no struggle but union, and no death but the transmission of life. God is not love, but in living, unreasoning beings He is manifested through a love for oneself, and in living, reasoning beings, through love for everything that exists.

I am now going to write out the 21 points from my notebooks.

1) In order to believe in immortality one has[43] to live an immortal life here, i. e. to live not towards oneself but towards God, not for oneself, but for God. Man, in this life, seems to be standing with one foot on a board and the other on the earth; and as soon as his reason has awakened, he sees that that board upon which he was just about to step lies over an abyss and it not only bends and creaks, but is already falling and man transfers his weight to that foot which stands on the earth. How not be afraid if one stands on that which bends and creaks and falls; and how be afraid, and of what to be afraid, if you stand on that upon which everything falls and below which it is impossible to fall?

2) Read about Granovsky.[78] In our literature it is customary to say, that during the reign of Nicholas conditions were such that it was impossible to express great thoughts. (Granovsky complains of this and others too.) But the thoughts there were not real. It is all self-deception. If all those Granovskys, Bielinskys,[79] and others had anything to say, they would have said it, no matter what the obstacles. The proof is Herzen.[80] He went away abroad and despite his enormous talent, what did he say that was new, necessary? All those Granovskys, Bielinskys, Chernishevskys,[81] Dobroliubovs, who were raised to great men, ought to be grateful to the government and the censorship without which they would[44] have been the most unnoticed of sketch-writers.

Perhaps the Bielinskys, Granovskys, and the other unimportant ones might have had something real within them, but they stifled it, imagining they had to serve society with the forms of social life and not to serve God by professing the truth and by preaching it without any care about the forms of social life. Let there be contents and the forms will shape themselves.

People acting thus, i. e. adapting their striving for truth to the existing forms of society, are like a being to whom wings have been given to fly, without knowing obstacles, and who used these wings in order to help itself in walking. Such a being would not attain its ends—every obstacle would stop it and it would spoil its wings. And then this being would complain that it had been held back and would tell with sorrow (like Granovsky) that it would have gone far if obstacles had not held it back.

The quality of real spiritual activity is such, that it is impossible to hold it back. If it is held back, then it means only one thing: it is not real.

3) Man dying little by little (growing old) experiences that which a sprouting seed ought to experience which has not yet transferred its consciousness from the seed to the plant. He feels[45] that he grows less, but he is not conscious of himself there where he increases; in another life.

I am beginning to experience this.

4) I wrote down: “Reason is a tool for the recognition of truth, verification, criticism.” I can’t remember very well. It seems to me, and I am even certain of it, that it is this:

Under reason is understood many different intellectual activities and very complex ones, and therefore the correctness of the solutions of reason is often doubted. As an answer to this doubt, I say, that there is an activity of the reason which is not to be doubted, namely, the critical activity, the activity of verifying what is told me. They tell me that God ... etc. I submit this to the verification of reason and decide without doubt that that which is not reasonable does not exist for me. It is wrong to say that everything which exists is reasonable, or that everything which is reasonable exists, but it is wrong not to say that that which is unreasonable does not exist for me.

5) It seems to man that his animal life is his real essence and that the spiritual life is the product of his animal one, just as it seems to a man rowing in a boat that he is standing still and that the banks, and the whole earth, are running past him.

6) There is a goodness which wants to make[46] use of the advantages of goodness and does not want to bear the disadvantages of it. That is animal goodness.

7) Christian truth, they say, can not be proved; it must be believed. As if it were easier to become convinced of the truth of the nonsensical than of the reasonable. Why deprive Christianity of the power of convincing? Why?

8) Nature, they say, is economical of its own forces; by the least effort, it attains the greatest results. So is God. To establish the Kingdom of God on earth, of union, of serving one another—and to destroy hostility, God does not have to do it himself. He has placed His reason in man, which frees love in man and everything which He desires will be done by man. God does His work through us. And there is no time for God—or there is infinite time. When he has placed reasoning love in man, he has already done everything.

Why has He done this in this way through man, and not by Himself? The question is stupid and one which never would have entered one’s head if we were all not spoilt by absurd superstition....

9) One of the most torturing spiritual sufferings is the not being understood by people when you feel yourself hopelessly alone in your thoughts. There is consolation in this, that you[47] know that that very thing which people do not understand in you, God understands.

10) To carry over one’s “self” from the bodily to the spiritual, that means to consciously wish only the spiritual. My body can unconsciously strive for the fleshly, but I consciously desire nothing of the fleshly, as when I do not desire to fall, but can not but submit to the law of gravitation.

11) If you have transferred your “self” to your spiritual being, you will feel the same pain in violating love as you will feel physical pain when you violate the good of the body. The indicator is just as direct and true. And I already feel it.

12) Sin is the strengthening of the consciousness of life in one’s separate being, or the weakening of one’s reasoning consciousness, which shows the inconsistency of animal life. For the first end, the activity of reason is directed to the strengthening of the delusion of a separate life: 1, food; 2, lust; 3, vanity, strengthened by reason. For the second end, are used the means of weakening reason: tobacco, opium, wine.

13) Temptation is the assertion that it is permitted to violate love for the greater good: 1, to oneself; it is necessary to feed, cure, educate, calm oneself, in order to be in condition to serve men, and for this it is permitted to violate love; 2, one must secure, preserve, and educate the family, and[48] for this it is permitted to violate love; 3, one has to organise, secure, protect the community, the state, and for this it is permitted to violate love; 4, one has to contribute to the salvation of the souls of people by violent suggestion, through education, and for this it is permitted to violate love.

14) The essay on art has to be begun with a discussion of the fact, that for the picture here, which it has cost the master 1000 working days, he is given 40 thousand working days: for an opera, a novel, still more. And then, some say of these works, that they are beautiful; others, that they are absolutely bad. And there is no incontestable criterion. There is no such argument about water, food, and good works. Why is that so?

15) What is the result of a man recognising as his “self” not his own separate being, but God living in him? In the first place, not consciously desiring the good for his own separate being, that man will not, or will less eagerly, take the good away from others; in the second place, having recognised as his “self” God, who desires the good for all that exists, man also will desire it.

16) Why do people hold on so passionately to the principle of family, the producing and bringing up of children? Because to a man who has not yet transferred his consciousness from his separate being to that of God, it is the only seemingly[49] satisfactory explanation of the meaning of life.

17) The meaning of life becomes clear to man when he recognises as himself, his divine essence which is enclosed in his bodily envelope. The meaning of this lies in the fact that this being, striving for its emancipation, for the broadening of the realm of love, accomplishes through this broadening the work of God, which consists in the establishment of the Kingdom of God on earth.

18) Violence can neither weaken nor strengthen a spiritual movement. To act on spiritual activity by force is just like catching the rays of the sun—no matter how you cover them, they will always be on top.

19) I have noted down: “Do you imagine your life in the wood which is being burned down or in the fire which burns?”

It is this way: you get the wood ready, and then you are sorry to use it; in the same way you get yourself ready and then you are sorry. But the comparison is not good, because fire comes to an end. A better comparison would be with food; do you imagine your life in food or in that which is being fed? Is not that the meaning of the words of St. John about “my body”, which ought to be food? Man is food for God if he gives himself to God.

(Unclear; nonsense.)


20) The principal aim of art, if there is art, and if it has an aim, is to manifest and to express the truth about man’s soul, to express those mysteries which it is impossible to express simply by speech. From this springs art. Art is a microscope which the artist fixes on the mysteries of his soul and shows to people those mysteries which are common to all.

21) Love, enclosed in man and freed by reason, manifests itself in two ways: 1, by its expansion, and 2, by the establishment of the Kingdom of God. It is steam which, in spreading, works.

22) Lately, I have begun to feel such firmness and strength, not my own, but that of that God’s work which I wish to serve, that the irritation, the reproaches, the mocking people hostile to the work of God, is strange to me; they are pitiable, touching.

23) The world, living unconsciously, and man, in the period of his childhood, performed unconsciously the work of God. Having awakened to consciousness, he does it consciously. In the collision between the two methods of serving, man ought to know that the unconscious passes and will pass into the conscious and not the opposite and that therefore it is necessary to give oneself over to the future and not to the past. (Stupid.)


24) The delusion of man who has awakened to consciousness and who continues to consider his own separate being as himself, is that he considers a tool as himself. If you feel pain at the disturbing of the good of your separate being, it is as if you felt on your hand the blows on the tool with which you work. The tool has to be taken care of, ground, but not to be considered as oneself.

25) God Himself is economical. He has to penetrate all with love. He has fired man alone with love and has placed him in the necessity of firing all the rest.

26) Nothing affects the religious outlook so much as the way we look upon the world; whether with a beginning and an end, as it was looked upon in antiquity, or infinite as it is looked upon now. In a finite world, one can construct a reasonable rôle for separate mortal man, but in an infinite world the life of such a being has no meaning.

27) (For Konevsky) It happens to Katiusha after her resurrection, that she has certain periods in which she smiles slyly and lazily as if she had forgotten all which she considered true before; she is merely joyous and wants to live.

28) To him who lives a spiritual life entirely, life here becomes so uninteresting and burdensome that he can part with it easily.


29) Natasha Strakhov[82] asks her father, when he speaks of something which happened when she was not yet born: “Where was I then?” I would have answered: “You were asleep and had not yet waked up here.” Conception, birth, childhood are only a preparation to an awakening, which we see, but not the sleeping ones.

30) The error in which we find ourselves when we consider our separate beings as ourselves is the same as when a traveller counts only one stage as the whole road, or a man, one day as his whole life.

31) Read about ... and was horrified at the conscious deception of men ...

32) “An eraser.” I have forgotten. I shall recall it.

Have written up to dinner. It is now 2 o’clock and I am going to dine.

May 28, Ysn. Pol. 12 o’c. noon.

It is already several days that I am struggling with my work[83] and am making no progress. I sleep. I wanted to scribble it somehow to the very end, but I can’t possibly do it. Am in a wretched mood, aggravated by the emptiness, by the poor, self-satisfied, cold emptiness of my surrounding life.

In the meantime I have been to Pirogovo.[84] I have a most joyous impression; my brother Sergei[85][53] has undoubtedly had a spiritual transformation. He himself has formulated the essence of my faith (and he evidently recognises it as true for himself); to raise in oneself the spiritual essence and to subject to it the animal element. He has a miraculous ikon and he was tortured by his undefined attitude to it. The little girls[86] are very good and live seriously. Masha has been infected by them. Later there were at our house: Salamon,[87] Tanyee.[88]...

A terrible event in Moscow—the death of three thousand[89]—I somehow can not express myself as I ought to. I am indisposed all the time, getting weaker. In Pirogovo, there was the harnessmaker, an intelligent man. Yesterday a working-man came from Tula, intelligent. I think a revolutionist. To-day a seminary student, a touching case.

I am advancing very, very badly in my work. Rather boring letters because they demand polite answers. I have written to Bondarev,[90] Posha, and to some one else. O yes; Officer N. was here too. I think I was useful to him. Splendid notes by Shkarvan.[91]

Yesterday there was a letter from poor N.[92], whom they have driven off to the Persian frontier, hoping to kill him. God help him. And don’t forget me. Give me life, life, i. e. a conscious, joyful serving of Thee.


In the meantime, I thought,

1) It is remarkable how many people see some insoluble problem in evil. I have never seen any problem in it. For me it is now altogether clear that that which we call evil is that good, the action of which we don’t yet see.

2) The poetry of Mallarmé,[93] and others. We who don’t understand it, say boldly that it is humbug, that it is poetry striking an impasse. Why is it that when we hear music which we don’t understand and which is just as nonsensical, we don’t say that boldly, but say timidly: yes, perhaps one ought to understand it or prepare oneself for it, etc. That is silly. Every work of art is only a work of art when it is understandable, I do not say for all, but for people standing on a certain level of education, on the same level as the man who reads poetry and who judges it.

This reasoning leads me to an absolutely certain conclusion that music before any other art (decadence in poetry and symbolism and other things in painting) has lost its way and struck an impasse. And he who has turned it from the road was that musical genius Beethoven. The principal factors are the authorities and people deprived of æsthetic feeling who judge art.

Goethe? Shakespeare?[94] Everything that goes under their names is supposed to be good and on se bât les flancs in order to find something[55] beautiful in the stupid and the unsuccessful, and taste is entirely perverted. And all these great talents—Goethe, Shakespeare, Beethoven, Michael-Angelo—side by side with exquisite things, produced not only mediocre ones, but disgusting ones. The mediocre artists produce a mediocrity as regards value and never anything very bad. But recognised geniuses create either really great works or absolute stuff and nonsense; Shakespeare, Goethe, Beethoven, Bach, and others.

3) To place before myself the most complex and confused thing which demands my participation. On all sides it seems there exist insoluble dilemmas; it is bad one way and worse the other. And it is only necessary to carry over the problem from the outer realm into the inner, into one’s own life, to understand that this is only an arena for my inner perfection, that it is a test, a measure of my moral development, an experiment as to how much I can and want to do the work of God, the enlargement of love, and everything resolves itself so easily, simply, joyously.

4) A mistake (sin) is the use of reason, given me to recognise my essence in the love for everything which exists, in acquiring the good for my separate being. As long as man lived without a reasoning consciousness, he fulfilled the will of God in acquiring the good for himself and in[56] struggling for it and there was no sin; but as soon as reason had awakened, then there was sin.

5) The harness-maker, Mikhailo, says to me that he does not believe in a future life, that he thinks that when a man dies, his spirit will leave him and will go away. But I say to him: “Well, go off then with this spirit; then you won’t die.”

May 29, Ysn. Pol. If I live.

It seems to me, June 6, Ysn. Pol.

The principal thing is that during this time I have advanced in my work,[95] and am advancing. I write on sins and the whole work is clear to the end.

Finished Spier—splendid.

The economic movement of humanity by three means: the destruction of ownership of land according to Henry George[96]; the inheritance which would give over accumulated wealth to society, if not in the first generation, then in the second; and a similar tax on wealth on an excess of over 1000 rubles income for a family or 200 for each man.

To-day the Chertkovs arrived. Galia[97] is very good.

The day before yesterday a gendarme came, a[57] spy, who confessed that he was sent after me. It was both pleasant and nasty.[98]

During this time have thought principally the following:

1) When a man lives an animal life, he does not know that God lives through him. When reason awakens in him, then he knows it. And knowing it, he becomes united with God.

2) Man in his animal life has to be guided by instinct; reason directed to that which is not subject to it, will spoil everything.

3) Is not luxury a preparing for something better, when there is already a sufficiency?

Yesterday was not the 6th, but the 8th. To-day, June 9, Y. P.

I have written little and not very well. It seems to me that it is getting clearer. In the morning I had a conversation with the workingmen who came for books. I remembered the woman who asked to write to John of Kronstad.[99]

The religion of the people is this: there is a God and there are gods and saints. (Christ came on earth, as a peasant told me to-day, to teach people how and to whom to pray.) The gods and the saints perform miracles, have power over the flesh and perform heroic deeds and good works, and the people have only to pray, to know how[58] and to whom to pray. But people can not perform good works, they can only pray. Here is their whole faith.

I bathed and don’t feel well.

June 19, Y. P.

Have been feeling weak all this time and sleep badly. Posha came yesterday. He spoke about the Khodinka accident well, but wrote it badly. Our very idle, luxurious life oppresses me. N. came. A stranger. He is young and he does not understand in the same way as I do, that which he understands, although he agrees with everything. Finished the first draft[100] on the 13th of June. Now I am revising it, but am working very little.

... Struggled with myself twice and successfully. Oh, if it were always so!

Once I passed beyond Zakaz[101] at night and wept for joy, being grateful for life. The pictures of life in Samara stand out very clearly before me; the steppes, the fight of the nomadic, patriarchic principle with the agricultural civilised one.[102] It draws me very much. Konefsky was not born in me; that is why it moves so awkwardly.

Have been thinking:

1) Something very important about art: what is beauty? Beauty is that which we love. “He[59] is not dear because he is good, but good because he is dear.” Here is the problem; why dear? Why do we love? And to say that we love, because a thing is beautiful, is just the same as saying that we breathe because the air is pleasant. We find the air pleasant, because we have to breathe; and in the same way we discover beauty, because we have to love. And he who hasn’t the power to see spiritual beauty, sees at least a bodily one and loves it.

June 26, Y. P. Morning.

All night I did not sleep. My heart aches without stopping. I continue to suffer and can not subject myself to God.... I have not mastered pride and rebellion and the pain in my heart does not stop. One thing consoles me; I am not alone but with God, and therefore no matter how painful it is, yet I feel that something is taking place within me. Help me, Father.

Yesterday I walked to Baburino[103] and unwillingly (I rather would have avoided than sought it), I met the 80-year-old Akime ploughing, the woman Yaremichov who hasn’t a coat to her household and only one jacket, then Maria whose husband was frozen and who has no one to gather her rye and who is starving her child, and Trophime and Khaliavka, and the husband and wife were dying as well as the children. And we study[60] Beethoven. And I pray that He release me from this life. And again I pray and cry from pain. I am entrapped, sinking, I cannot alone, only I hate myself and my life.

June 30, Ysn. Pol.

Continued to suffer and struggle much, and have conquered neither one nor the other. But it is better. Mme. Annenkov[104] was here and put it very well ...[105] They have spoiled for me even my diary which I write with the point of view of the possibility of its being read by the living[106] ...

Just now upstairs they began to speak about the New Testament and N. en ricanant proved that Christ advised castration. I became angry,—shameful.

Two days ago I went to those who had been burned out; had not dined, was tired and felt well.... Yesterday I visited the lawyer who wanted to snatch a hundred rubles from a beggar-woman to decorate his own house with. It is the same everywhere.

During this time I have been in Pirogovo. My brother Serezha has entirely come over to us. The journey with Tania and Chertkov was joyous. To-day in Demenka[107] I gave the last words for his journey to a dying peasant.

I am advancing much on the work.[108] I will[61] try to write out now what I have jotted down in the book.

To-day, July 19.[109]

I am in Pirogovo. I arrived the day before yesterday with Tania and Chertkov. In Serezha[110] there has certainly taken place a spiritual change; he admits it himself saying that he was born several months ago. I am very happy with him.

At home, during this time, I lived through much difficulty. Lord, Father, release me from my base body. Cleanse me and do not let your spirit perish in me and become overgrown. I prayed twice beseechingly; once that He let me be His tool; and second that He save me from my animal “self.”

During this time I progressed on the Declaration of Faith. It is far from what has to be said and from what I want to say. It is entirely inaccessible to the plain man and the child, but, nevertheless I have said all that I know coherently and logically.

In this time also I wrote the preface to the reading of the Gospels[111] and annotated the Gospels. Had visitors. Englishmen, Americans—no one of importance.

I will write out all that I jotted down:

1) Yesterday I walked through a twice[62] ploughed, black-earth fallow field. As far as the eye could see, there was nothing but black earth—not one green blade of grass, and there on the edge of the dusty grey road there grew a bush of burdock. There were three off-shoots. One was broken and its white soiled flower hung; the other also broken, was bespattered with black dirt, its stem bent and soiled; the third shoot stuck out to the side, also black from dust, but still alive and red in the centre. It reminded me of Hadji-Murad.[112] It makes me want to write. It asserts life to the end, and alone in the midst of the whole field, somehow or other has asserted it.

2) He has a capacity for languages, for mathematics, is quick to comprehend and to answer, can sing, draw correctly, beautifully, and can write in the same way; but he has no moral or artistic feeling and therefore nothing of his own.

3) Love towards enemies. It is difficult, seldom does it succeed—as with everything absolutely beautiful. But then what happiness when you attain it! There is an exquisite sweetness in this love, even in the foretaste of it. And this sweetness is just in the inverse ratio to the attractiveness of the object of love. Yes, the spiritual voluptuousness of love towards enemies.

4) Some one makes me suffer. As soon as I think about myself, about my own suffering, the suffering continues to grow and grow and terror[63] overcomes me at the thought to where it might lead. It suffices to think of the man on account of whom you are suffering, to think about his suffering—and instantly you are healed. Sometimes it is easy when you already love your torturer; but even when it is difficult, it is always possible.

5) Yesterday in walking I thought what are those boundaries which separate us, one being from another? And it occurred to me. Are not space and time the conditions of these divisions, or rather, the consequences of these divisions? If I were not a separated part, there would be neither space nor time for me, as there is not for God. But since I am not the whole, I can understand myself and other beings through space and time only.

(I feel that there is something in this, but I can not yet express it clearly.)

6) There was an argument about whether being in love was good. For me the conclusion was clear; if a man already lives a human, spiritual life, then being in love—love, marriage—would be a downfall for him, he would have to give a part of his strength to his wife, to his family, or even at least to the object of his love. But if he is on the animal plane, if he eats, drinks, labours, holds a post, writes, plays—then to be in love would be an uplift for him as for animals, for insects, in the time of ...[113][64]

7) To pray? They say that prayer is necessary, that it is necessary to have the sweet feeling of prayer which is called forth by service, singing, reading, exclamations, ikons. But what is prayer? A communion with God, a recognition of one’s relation to God, the highest state of the soul. Is it possible that this state of the soul can be attained by an action upon the outer senses.... Is it not more probable that the prayerful state might be reached only in rare exceptional moments and necessarily in isolation, as even Christ said and as Elijah saw God, not in a storm but in a tender breeze?

8) Yesterday I looked through the romances, novels, and poems of Fet.[114] I recalled our incessant music on 4 grand-pianos in Yasnaya Polyana and it became clear to me that all this—the romances, the poems, the music—was not art, something important and necessary to people in general, but a self-indulgence of robbers, parasites, who have nothing in common with life; romances, novels about how one falls in love disgustingly, poetry about this or about how one languishes from boredom. And music about the same theme. But life, all life, seethes with its own problems of food, distribution, labour, about faith, about the relations of men ... It is shameful, nasty. Help me, Father, to serve Thee by showing up this lie.


9) I was going from the Chertkovs on the 5th of July. It was evening, and beauty, happiness, blessedness, lay on everything. But in the world of men? There was greed, malice, envy, cruelty, lust, debauchery. When will it be among men as it is in Nature? Here there is a struggle, but it is honest, simple, beautiful. But there it is base. I know it and I hate it, because I myself am a man.

(I have not succeeded.)

10) When I suffered in my soul, I tried to calm myself with the consciousness of serving. And that used to calm me, but only then when there happened to be an obvious instance of serving, i. e. when it was unquestionably required and I was drawn to it. But what is to be done when it happens neither one way nor the other? Give myself to God, negate myself. Do as Thou wilt, I consent.

(Again, not what I want to say.)

I am going to dinner.

11) Kant,[115] they tell us, made a revolution in the thought of men. He was the first to show that a thing in itself is inaccessible to knowledge, that the source of knowledge and life is spiritual. But is not that the same which Christ said two thousand years ago, only in a way understandable to men? Bow in spirit and in truth; the[66] spirit is life creating, the letter, the flesh, is beneficial in no way.

12) Balls, feasts, spectacles, parades, pleasure-gardens, etc., are a dreadful tool in the hands of the organisers. They can have a terrible influence. And if anything has to be subjected to control, it is this.

13) I walked along the road and thought, looking at the forests, the earth, the grass, what a funny mistake it is to think that the world is such as it appears to me. To think that the world is such as it appears to me, means to think that there can be no other being capable of knowledge except myself with my six senses.[116] I stopped and was writing that down. Sergei Ivanovich[117] approached me. I told him what I was thinking. He said:

“Yes, one thing is true, that the world is not such as we see it and we don’t know anything as it is.”

I said:

“Yes, we know something exactly as it is.”

“What is it?”

“That which knows. It is exactly such as we know it.”

14) One is often surprised that people are ungrateful. One ought to be surprised at how they could be grateful for good done them. However[67] little good people do, they know with certainty that the doing of good is the greatest happiness. How then can people be grateful to others that these others have drunk themselves full, when that is the greatest enjoyment?

15) Only he is free whom nothing and nobody can hinder from doing what he wants. There is only one such work to do—to love.

16) Prayer is directed to a personal God, not because God is personal (I even know as a matter of fact that He is not personal, because the personal is finite and God is infinite), but because I am a personal being. I have a little green glass in my eye and I see everything green. I can not help but see the world green, although I know that it is not like that.

17) The æsthetic pleasure is a pleasure of a lower order. And therefore the highest æsthetic pleasure leaves one unsatisfied. In fact, the higher the æsthetic pleasure, the more unsatisfied it leaves one. It always makes one want something more and more. And so without end. Only moral good gives full satisfaction. Here there is full satisfaction. Nothing further is wished for or needed.

18) A lie to others is by far neither as important nor as harmful as a lie to oneself. A lie to others is often an innocent play, a satisfying of[68] vanity. A lie to oneself is always a perversion of the truth, a turning aside from the demands of life.

19) Although seldom, yet it has happened to me that I have done good from pity, a real good. In that case you never remember what you really have done and under what circumstances. You remember only that you were with God (this occurred to me in regard to my favourite boots which I remember I gave away out of pity and for a long time I could not remember where they had gone). It is the same way with all those moments when I was with God, whether in prayer or in the business of life. Memory is a fleshly affair, but here, the thing is spiritual.

20) Man can not live a fleshly life, if he does not consider himself in the right and he can not live a spiritual life if he does not consider himself sinful.

21) ...

I am going to sleep. It is 12:30 in the morning, July 30th.

July 31, Y. P. If I live.

July 31, Y. P.

I am alive. It is evening now. It is past four. I am lying down and can not fall asleep. My heart aches. I am tired out. I hear through the window—they play tennis and are laughing. S.[69] went away to the Shenshins.[118] Every one is well, but I am sad and can not master myself. It is like the feeling I had when St. Thomas[119] locked me in and I heard through my prison how every one was gay and was laughing. But I don’t want to. One must suffer humiliation and be good. I can do it.

I continue to copy:

1) The disbelief in reason is the source of all evil. This disbelief is reached by the teaching of a distorted faith from childhood. Believe in one miracle and the trust in reason is destroyed.

2) ...

3) Christianity does not give happiness but safety; it lets you down to the bottom from which there is no place to fall.

4) I rode horseback from Tula and thought about this; that I am a part of Him, separated in a certain way from other such parts, and He is everything, the Father, and I felt love, just love, for Him. Now, especially now, I not only can not reproduce this feeling, but not even recall it. But I was so joyful that I said to myself: Here I was thinking that I can not learn anything new and suddenly I acquired a wonderful blessed new feeling, a real feeling.

5) What humbug[120]—beauty, truth, goodness! Beauty is one of those attributes of outer objects, like health, an attribute of the living body.[70] Truth is not the ideal of science. The ideal of science is knowledge, not truth. The good can not be placed on the plane with either of these, because it is the goal of life.

(It is unclear, but it was clear and will be.)

6) I do not remember good works, because they are outside of the material man—of memory.

August 1, Ysn. Pol. If I live.—which is doubtful. My heart aches very much....

It is dreadful to think how much time has elapsed; a month and a half. To-day, Sept. 14, Y. P.

During this time I took a trip to the monastery with Sonya.[121]... I wrote on Hadji-Murad[122] very poorly, a first draft. I have continued my work on the Declaration of Faith. The Chertkovs have gone away.... All three sons are here now with their wives.[123]

There was a letter from the Hollander who has refused to serve.[124] I wrote a preface to the letter.[125] I wrote a letter also to Mme. Kalmikov[126] with very sharp statements about the Government. The whole month and a half has been condensed in this. Oh, yes; I have also been ill from my usual sickness and my stomach is still not strong.

One thing more. During this time there was a[71] letter from the Hindu Tod and an exquisite book of Hindu wisdom, Ioga’s Philosophy.[127]

In the meantime I thought:

1) There are many people, especially Europeans and especially women, who not only talk but who write things that appear intelligent, in the same way as dumb people speak; as a matter of fact, it isn’t any more natural for them to think than for a dumb person to speak, but both one and the other, both the stupid and the dumb, have been taught.

2) To love an individual man, one has to be blinded. Without being blinded one can love only God, but people can be pitied, which means to love in a Godly way.

3) To get rid of an enemy, one must love him, as it is also said in the “Teaching of the twelve apostles.”[128] But to love one has to put to oneself the task for all one’s life of love towards an enemy, to do him good through love and to perfect oneself in love for him.

4) At first, one is surprised that stupid people should have within them such an assertive convincing intonation. But it is as it should be. Otherwise no one would listen to them.

5) I find this note: “A decoration for peasants, our happiness”—I can not remember what that means, but it is something that pleased me.[72] I think it means that to a poor man looking on the life of the rich, it appears as happiness. But this happiness is as much happiness, as cardboard made into a tree or a castle—is a tree or a castle.

6) We are all attracted to the Whole and one to another, like particles of one body. Only our roughness, the lack of smoothness, our angles, interfere with our uniting. There is already an attraction, there is no need of making it, but one must plane oneself, wipe out one’s angles.

7) One of the strongest means of hypnotism, of exterior action on the spiritual state of man, is his dress. People know that very well; that is why there is a monastic garb in monasteries and a uniform in the army.

8) I was trying to recall two excellent subjects for novels, the suicide of old Persianninov and the substitution of a child in an orphan asylum.

9) When my weakness tortured me, I sought means of salvation, and I found one in the thought that there is nothing stationary, that everything flows, changes, that all this is for a while, and that it is only necessary to suffer the while while we live—I and the others. And some one of us will go away first. (The while does not mean to live in any way, but means, not to despair, to suffer it through to the end.)[73]

10) I wanted to say that I was grateful, so as to make the other one well disposed, and later to tell the truth. No, I thought, that is not permitted. He will ascribe it to his virtues and the truth will be accepted even less. Man, not acknowledging his sins, is a vessel hermetically closed with a cover which lets nothing enter. To humble oneself, to repent, that means to take off the cover and to make oneself capable of perfection, of the good.

11) Barbarism interferes with the union of people, but the same thing is done by a too great refinement without a religious basis. In the other, the physical disunites, and in this, the spiritual.

12) Man is a tool of God. At first I thought that it was a tool with which man himself was called to work; now I have understood that it is not man who works, but God. The business of man is only to keep himself in order. Like an axe, which would have to keep itself always clean and sharp.

13) Why is it that scoundrels stand for despotism? Because under an ideal order which pays according to merit, they are badly off. Under despotism everything can happen.

14) I often meet people who recognise no God except one which we ourselves recognise in ourselves. And I am astonished; God in me. But[74] God is an infinite principle; how then, why then, should He happen to be in me? It is impossible not to question oneself about this. And as soon as you question yourself, you have to acknowledge an exterior cause. Why do people not feel themselves in need of answering this question? Because for them, the answer to this question is in the reality of the existing world, whether according to Moses or to Darwin—it is all the same. And therefore, to have a conception of an exterior God, one has to understand that that which is actually real, is only the impression of our senses, i. e. it is we ourselves, our spiritual “self.”

15) In moments of passion, infatuation, in order to conquer, one thing is necessary, to destroy the illusion that it is the “self” who suffers, who desires, and to separate one’s true “self” from the troubled waters of passion.

Sept. 15. Y. P. If I live.

To-day October 10. Y. P.

It is almost a month that I have made no entries and it seemed to me it was only yesterday. During this time, though in very poor form, I finished the Declaration of Faith. During this time there were some Japanese with a letter from Konissi.[129] They, the Japanese, are undoubtedly nearer Christianity than our church Christians.[75] I have learned to love them very much....

I want to write out the whole Declaration of Faith from the beginning again. Yesterday there was a good letter from Verigin, Peter.[130]

All last night I thought about the meaning of life and though there are other things to note down, I want to note down this:

The whole world is nothing else than an infinite space filled with infinitely small, colourless, silently moving particles of matter. At bottom, even this is not so; I know that they are particles of matter only through their impenetrability, but the impenetrability I know only through my sense of touch and my muscle sense. If I did not have this sense, I would not know about impenetrability or about matter. As to motion, also, I, strictly speaking, have no right to speak, because if I did not have the sense of sight or again muscle sense, I would not know anything about motion either.

So that all that I have the right to assert about the outer world is that something exists, something entirely unknown to me, as it was said long ago both by the Brahmins and by Kant and by Berkeley. There is some kind of occasion, some kind of grain of sand which causes irritation in the shell of the snail and produces a pearl (sécrétion, secretion in the snail). This is our whole outside world.


What is there then? There is myself with my representations of myself, of the sun, trees, animals, stones. But what then is it that I call myself? Is it something arbitrary depending on myself? No, it is something independent of myself, predetermined. I can not not be myself, and not have that representation which I have, namely, that I include in myself a small part of these moving atoms and call them myself. And all the other remaining atoms I see in the form of beings more or less like myself. The world appears to me to consist entirely of beings which are like me or resemble me.[131]

(I have become confused, yet have something to say. I am going to try when I have the strength.)

I am continuing to write out what I had to say and what I dreamt of all night, namely:

People think that their life is in the body, that from that which takes place in the body; from breathing, nutrition, circulation of the blood, etc., life flows. And this seems unquestionable; let nutrition, breathing, circulation of the blood cease and life will end. But what ends is the life of the body, life in this body....

And in fact if you consider that life comes from the process of the body and only in the body then as soon as the processes of the body are ended, then life ought to be ended. But certainly this is an arbitrary assertion. No one has proven and[77] can prove that life is only in the body and can not be without the body. To assert this, is all the same as asserting that when the sun has set then the sun has come to an end. One must first decide what is life. Is it that which I see in the others as it begins and stops, or is it what I know in myself? If it is what I know in myself, then it is the only thing that is and therefore it can not be destroyed. And the fact that in bodies before me processes end which are connected with life in me and in other beings, shows me only this, that life goes away somewhere from my sensual eyes. To go away entirely, to be destroyed, it absolutely can not be, because outside of it there is nothing in the world. The problem, then, might be this: Will my life be destroyed, can it be destroyed? And the destruction of the body of a man, is that a sign of the destruction of his life? In order to answer this question one must first decide what is life?

Life is the consciousness of my separateness from other beings, of the existence of other beings and of those limits which separate me from them. My life is not bound up with my body. There may be a body, but no consciousness of separateness like for a sleeping one, an idiot, an embryo or for those who have fits.

It is true that there can be no life without the consciousness of the body; but that is because life[78] is the consciousness of one’s own separateness and of one’s own boundaries. But the consciousness of one’s own separateness and of one’s own boundaries happens in our life in time and space, but it can happen in any other way and therefore the destruction of the body is not the sign of the destruction of life.

(Not clear and not what I want to say.)

Oct. 11. Y. P. If I live.

To-day October 20. Y. P. Morning.

I feel like writing down three things.

1) In a work of art the principal thing is the soul of the author. Therefore among medium productions the feminine ones are the better, the more interesting. A woman will push herself through now and then, speak out the most inner mysteries of her soul; and that is what is needed. You see what she really loves, although she pretends that she loves something else. When an author writes, we the readers place our ears to his breast and we listen and say, “Breathe. If you have rumblings, they will appear.” And women haven’t the capacity of hiding. Men have learned literary methods and you can no longer see him behind his manner, except that you know he is stupid. But what is in his soul, you don’t see.

(Not good; malicious.)


The 2nd thing I wanted to write was that yesterday, in blowing out my candle, I began to feel for matches and did not find them, and an uneasiness came over me. “And you are getting ready to die! What, then, are you also going to die with matches?” I said to myself. And I at once saw in the dark my real life and became calm.

What is this fear of the dark? Besides the fear at the incapability of meeting whatever accident might happen, it is the fear at the absence of the delusion of our most important sense, that of sight. It is fear before the contemplation of our true life. I now no longer have that fear—on the contrary, that which had been fear is now peace; there only has remained the habit of fear; but to the majority of people the fear is exactly of that which alone can give them peace.

The 3rd thing I wanted to write was that when a man is put in the necessity of choosing between an act which is clearly beneficial to others, but with the thwarting of the demands of conscience (the will of God), then the problem is only one of short-sightedness, because the man sees in the immediate future the good which will arise from his act, if he thwarts the will of God, but he does not see in the more remote future the other good, which is an infinite number of times greater, which[80] will come from the abstention of this act and the fulfilment of the will of God. It is the same kind of thing that children do, destroying the general order of a house which is necessary for their own happiness, for the sake of the immediate pleasure of play.

The fact is that for the work of God and for man accomplishing the work of God, time does not exist. Man can not but represent to himself everything in time, and therefore in order to correctly judge of the importance of the work of God, he has to represent it to himself in the very remote future, even in infinite time. The fact, that I will not kill the murderer and will forgive him, that I shall die unseen by any one, fulfilling the will of God, will bear its own fruit ... if I insist upon thinking in terms of time—in infinite time. But it will bear its fruit surely.

I have to finish the former:

4) Refinement and power in art are almost always diametrically opposed.

5) Is it true that works of art are obtained by assiduous work? That which we call a work of art—yes. But is it real art?

6) The Japanese sang and we could not restrain ourselves from laughter. If we had sung before the Japanese they would have laughed. The more so had Beethoven been played for them. Indian and Greek temples are understood by all.[81] And Greek statues are understood by all. And our best painting is also understandable. So that architecture, sculpture, painting, having reached their perfection, have reached also cosmopolitanism, accessibility to all. To the same point in some of its manifestations has the art of speech reached; in the teaching of Buddha, of Christ, in the poetry of Sakia-Muni, Jacob, Joseph. In dramatic art; Sophocles, Aristophanes did not reach it. It is being reached in the new ones. But in music they have been lagging behind entirely. The ideal of all art to which it should strive is accessibility to all—but it, especially music to-day, noses its way into refinement.

7) The principal thing which I wanted to say about art, is that it does not exist in the sense of some great manifestation of the human spirit as it is understood now. There is play, consisting in the beauty of construction, in sculpting figures, or in representing objects, in dancing, in singing, in playing on various instruments, in poetry, in fables, in stories, but all this is only play and not an important matter to which one could consciously devote his strength.

And so it was always understood and is understood by the working, unspoiled people and every man who has not gone away from labour, from life, can not look upon it in any other way. It is necessary, one must, say it out loud—how much[82] evil has come from this importance attributed by the parasites of society to their plays!

8) The whole outer world is formed by us, by our senses. We know nothing and can know nothing about it. All that we can know, in studying the outer world is the relation of our senses (sens) among themselves and the laws of these relations. There is no question but that this is very interesting, and from the study of these relations are opened many new situations which we can make use of and which increase the comforts of our life, but this is not only not everything, not all of science as people busying themselves with this study are now asserting, but it is only one minute particle of science.

Science is the study of the relation of our spiritual “self”—that which masters the outer senses and uses them—to our outer senses or to the outer world, which is the same thing. This relation has to be studied, because in this relation is accomplished the movement of humanity as a whole to perfection and the good, and the movement of each individual man to the same goal. This relation is the object of every science; but to-day the study of this relation is called Ethics by our present-day scholars, and is considered as a science by itself, and a very unimportant one from out the great mass of other sciences. It is all topsy-turvy; the whole of science is considered[83] as a small part and a small part is considered as the whole. From this comes the brutalisation of men.

This arises out of the astonishing ignorance of most of the so-called learned. They are naïvely convinced that the outer world is an actual reality, just in the same way as the peasants are convinced that the sun and the stars move around the earth. Just as the peasants know nothing of the work of Galileo, Copernicus and Newton, or if they have heard of it—do not believe—so the materialist scholars have never heard, do not know or do not believe what has been done as to criticism of knowledge by Descartes, Kant, Berkeley and even before, by the Hindus and by all religious doctrines.

9) When you suffer, you must enter into yourself—not seek matches, but put out that light which is there, and which interferes with the seeing of your true “self.” You must turn upside down the toy which stood on the cork and place it on the lead and then everything will become clear and the greatest part of your suffering will cease—all that part which is not physical.

10) When you suffer from passion, here are some palliative prescriptions:

(a) Remember how many times you have suffered before because in your consciousness you have connected yourself to your passion; lust,[84] greed, desire, vanity, and remember how everything passed away and you have still not found that “self” which suffered then. And so it is now. It is not you who are suffering, but that passion which you wrongly joined to yourself.

(b) Again, when you suffer, remember that the suffering is not something disagreeable which you can wish to get rid of, but it is the very work of life, that very task which you have been designated to do. In wanting to get rid of it, you are doing that which a man would do who lifts the plough there where the earth is hard, just where, in fact, it has to be ploughed up.

(c) Then remember, at the moment when you suffer, that if there is anger in the feelings you have, the suffering is in you. Replace the anger with love, and the suffering will end.

(d) Also this is possible; love towards enemies, which is indeed the one real love. You must struggle for it, struggle with toil, with the consciousness that in it is life. But when you have attained it, what relief!

(e) The principal thing is to turn the toy upside down, find your true “self” which is only visible without matches, and then anger will vanish by itself. That “self” is incapable of, cannot, and has no one to be angry with—loving, it can only pity.


During these latter days I didn’t feel like writing. I merely wrote letters to every one and sent to Schmidt an addition to the letter about the incompatibility ... with Christianity.[132] I have begun the Declaration of Faith anew. I am going to continue.

Went to Pirogovo with Masha. Serezha[133] is very good....

October 21. Y. P. If I live.

To-day probably October 23. Y. P.

All these days I have been out of tune with my work. Wrote a letter yesterday to the commander of the disciplinary battalion in Irkutsk about Olkhovik.[134]

It is evening now, I am sitting down to write because I feel the special importance and seriousness of the hours of life which are left to me. And I do not know what I have to do, but I feel that there has ripened in me an expression of God’s will which asks to be let out.

Have re-read Hadji Murad—it isn’t what I want to say. As to Resurrection I can’t even get hold of it. The drama interests me.

A splendid article by Carpenter on science.[135] All of us walk near the truth and uncover it from various sides.[86]

October 26. Y. P.

I am still just as indisposed and don’t feel like writing. My head aches. Serezha came yesterday.[136] Wrote a letter to Sonya and to Andrusha.

But it seems to me that during this time of doubt, I arrived at two very important conclusions:

1) That, which I also thought before and wrote down; that art is an invention, is a temptation for amusement with dolls, with pictures, with songs, with play, with stories—and nothing more. But to place art as they do (and they do the same with science), on the same level with the good is a horrible sacrilège. The proof that it is not so, is that about truth also (the right) I can say that truth is a good (as God said, great good, teib, i.e., good), and about beauty one can say that it is good; but it is impossible to say about good that it is beautiful (at times it is homely), or that it is true (it is always true).

There is only one good; good and bad; but truth and beauty are good qualities of certain objects.

The other very important thing, is that reason is the only means of manifesting, and freeing love. It seems to me that this is an important thought, omitted in my Declaration of Faith.[87]

To-day November 1. Y. P.

All this time I have felt neither well nor like working. I have written letters only, among the number was one to the Caucasian disciplinary battalion.[137] Yesterday, walking at night on the snow, in the blizzard, I tired my heart and it aches. I think I am going to die very soon. That is why I am writing out the notes. I think I am going to die without fear and without resistance.

Just now I sat alone and thought how strange it was that people live alone. People; I thought of Stasov;[138] how is he living now, what is he thinking, feeling. Of Kolichka,[139] too. And so strange and new became the knowledge that they, all of them, people—are living, and I do not live in them; that they are closed to me.

November 2. Y. P. If I live.

November 2nd. Y. P.

Am alive. Am a little better. Have written on the Declaration of Faith. I think it is true that it is cold because it endeavours to be infallible.[140] A blizzard. Sent off the letters to Schmidt and Chertkov. Did not send the letter to Mme. Kalmikov.

To-day I thought about art. It is play. And when it is the play of working, normal people it is good, but when it is the play of corrupted parasites,[88] then it is bad—and here now it has reached to decadence.

November 3. Y. P. If I live.

To-day November 5. Y. P. Morning.

Yesterday was a terrible day.

... At night I hardly slept and was depressed. I just now found the prescriptions[141] in my diary, looked them over and began to feel better; to separate one’s true “self” from that which is offended and vexed, to remember that this is no hindrance, no accidental unpleasantness, but the very work predestined me, and above all to know that if I have a dislike for any one, then as long as there is that dislike in me—then I am the guilty one. And as soon as you know you are guilty, you feel better.

To-day, lying on the bed, I thought about love towards God ... I wish I could say, the love of God, i.e., divine love—that the first and principal commandment is divine love, but that the other resembling it and flowing from it, especially flowing from it, is the love for neighbour.

Yesterday I wrote 18 pages of introduction to Art.[142]

It is wrong to say of a work of art, “You don’t yet understand it.” If I don’t understand it, that means that the work of art is poor, because its[89] task is in making understandable that which is not understandable.

November 6. Y. P. If I live.

November 6. Y. P.

Am alive. It is the third day that I continue to write on art. It seems to me it is good. At least I am writing willingly and easily.

... Have received a good letter from Vanderveer. Wrote another letter to the commander of the battalion in the Caucasus. Chertkov sent me his copy of a similar letter.

To-day I rode horseback to Tula. A marvellous day and night. I am just now going to take a walk to meet the girls.

Have been thinking.

1) Natural sciences, when they wish to determine the very essence of things, fall into a crude materialism, i.e., ignorance. Such, besides Descartes’ whirlwinds, are atoms and ether and the origin of species. All that I can say, is that it appears to me so, just as the heavenly vault appears round to me, while I know that it is not round and that it appears to me so, only because my sight for all directions extends on only one radius.

2) The highest perfection of art is its cosmopolitanism. But on the contrary, with us at present[90] it is becoming more and more specialised, if not according to nations, then according to classes.

3) The refinement of art and its strength are always in inverse proportion.

4) “Conservatism lies in this” ... That is the way I have it noted, but further I can’t remember now.

5) Why is it pleasant to ride? Because it is the very emblem of life. Life—you ride.

I wanted to take a walk....

November 7. Y. P. If I live.

To-day November 12. Y. P.

I haven’t noted down anything during this time. I was writing the essay on Art. To-day a little on the Declaration of Faith. A weakness of thought and I am sad. One must learn to be satisfied with stupidity. If I do not love, at least not not to love. That, thank the Lord, I have attained.

November 16. Y. P. Morning.

I still work just as badly and am therefore depressed. The day after to-morrow I am going to Moscow, if God commands.[143]

... In the meantime I received a strange letter from the Spaniard Zanini, with an offer of 22,000 francs for good works. I answered that[91] I would like to use them for the Dukhobors. What is going to happen?[144] I wrote to Kuzminsky on Witte and Dragomirov[145] and the day before yesterday I wrote diligently all morning on War.[146] Something will come of it.

I am thinking continually about art and about the temptations or seductions which becloud the mind, and I see that art belongs to this class, but I do not know how to make it clear. This occupies me very, very much. I fall asleep and wake up with this thought, but up to now I have come to no conclusion.

The notes during this time about God and the future life are:

1) They say that God must be understood as a personality. In this lies great misunderstanding; personality is limitation. Man feels himself a personality, only because he comes in contact with other personalities. If man were only one, he would not be a personality. These two conceptions are mutually determined; the outer world, other beings, and the personality. If there were not a world of other beings, man would not feel himself, would not recognise himself as a personality; if man were not a personality he would not recognise the existence of other beings. And therefore man within this Universe is inconceivable otherwise than as a personality. But how[92] can it be said of God, that He is a personality, that God is personal? In this lies the root of anthropomorphism.

Of God it only can be said what Moses and Mohammed said, that he is one, and one, not in that sense that there is no other or other gods (in relation to God there can be no notion of number and therefore it is even impossible to say of God that he is one (1 in the sense of a number), but in that sense that he is monocentric, that he is not a conception, but a being, that which the Greek Orthodox call a living God in opposition to a pantheistic God, i.e., a superior spiritual being living in everything. He is one in that sense that He is, like a being to whom one can address oneself, i.e., not exactly to pray, but that there is a relationship between me, something which is limited, a personality, and God—something inconceivable but existing.

The most inconceivable thing about God for us consists exactly in this, that we know Him as a one being, can know him in no other way, and at the same time it is impossible for us to understand a one being who fills up everything with himself. If God is not one, then He is scattered and He does not exist. If He is one, then we involuntarily represent him to ourselves in the shape of a personality and then He is no longer a higher being,[93] no longer everything. But, however, in order to know God and to lean on Him one must understand Him as filling everything and at the same time as one.

2) I have been thinking how obviously mistaken is our conception of the future life in bodies either more or less similar to ours. Our bodies as we know them are nothing but the products of our outer six senses. How then can there be life for that spiritual being who is separated from his body—how can it be in that form which is determined and produced by that body through its senses?

November 17. Y. P. If I live.

November 17. Y. P.

Yesterday I hardly wrote anything.

... There is a fight in the papers over Repine’s[147] definition of art as amusement. How it fits into my work. The full significance of Art has still not been made clear. It is clear to me, and I can write and prove it, but not briefly and simply. I cannot bring it up to that point.

Yesterday there was a letter from Ivan Michailovich[148] and from the Dukhobors.

Amusement is all right, if the amusement is not corrupted, is honest, and if people do not suffer from that amusement. I have been thinking just[94] now; the æsthetic is the expression of the ethical, i.e., in plain language; art expresses those feelings which the artist feels. If the feelings are good, lofty, then art will be good, lofty, and the reverse. If the artist is a moral man, then his art will be moral, and the reverse. (Nothing has come of this.)

I thought last night:

We rejoice over our technical achievements—steam, ... phonographs. We are so pleased with these achievements that if any one were to tell us that these achievements are being attained by the loss of human lives we would shrug our shoulders and say, “We must try not to have this so; an 8-hour day, labour insurance, and so forth; but because several people perish, is no reason to renounce those achievements which we have attained.” I. e., Fiat mirrors, phonographs, etc., pereat several people.

It is but sufficient to admit this principle—and there will be no limit to cruelty, and it will be very easy to attain every kind of technical improvement. I had an acquaintance in Kazan who used to ride to his estate in Viatka, 130 versts away, in this fashion: he would buy a pair of horses at the market for 20 roubles (horses were very cheap) and would hitch them up and drive 130 versts to the place. Sometimes they would reach the place, and he would have the horses[95] plus the cost of the journey. Sometimes they would not cover a part of the road and he would hire. But nevertheless it used to cost him cheaper than hiring stage horses. Even Swift proposed eating children. And that would have been very convenient. In New York, the railroad companies in the city crush several passers-by every year and do not change the crossings to make the disasters impossible, because the change would cost dearer than paying to the families of those crushed yearly. The same thing happens also in the technical improvements of our age. They are accomplished by human lives. But one has to value every human life—not to value it, but to place it above any value and to make improvements in a way that lives should not be lost and spoilt, and to stop every improvement if it harms human life.

November 18. If I live, then Moscow.

November 22. Moscow.

The fourth day in Moscow. Dissatisfied with myself. No work. Got tangled up in the article on art and have not moved forward.

... There were here; the Gorbunovs,[149] Boulanger,[150] Dunaev. I called on Rusanov myself.[151] Received a very good impression.

Read Plato; embryos of idealism.

I recalled two subjects which were very good:


1) A wife’s deception of her passionate, jealous husband; his suffering, his struggle and the enjoyment of forgiveness, and

2) A description of the oppression of the serfs and later the very same kind of oppression by land property, or rather by being deprived of it.

Just now Goldenweiser[152] played. One thing—a fantasy fugue:[153] an artificiality; studied, cold, pretentious; another—“Bigarrure” by Arensky;[154] sensual, artificial; and a third—a ballad by Chopin; sickly, nervous, not one or the other or the third can be of any use to the people.

The devil who has been sent to me is still with me, and tortures me.

November 23. Moscow. If I live.

To-day November 25. Moscow.

Am very weak. My stomach isn’t working. I am trying to write on art—but it doesn’t go. One thing is good; have found myself, my heart.... A letter from Zanini with an offer of 31,500 francs.[155] Tischenko, a good novel on poverty.[156] It is now past two, am going for a walk.

To-day November 27. Moscow.

Very weak, poor in all respects. And feel as if I had only just now awakened. Have been thinking:

1) We are all in this life—workers placed at[97] the work of saving our souls. It can be compared to keeping up the fire given from heaven and lighted on the hearth of my body. My work lies in this, to keep up and feed this fire in myself (not to spend the material of this fire as I have done lately, except in burning it) and not to think how and what gets lighted from this fire. It is not a difficult matter to thresh with several flails, but to keep in order, not to get confused (and not only to thresh, but not to interfere with the others), one has only to remember oneself, one’s own tempo while beating. But as soon as you have begun to think of others, to look at them, you get confused.

The same thing happens in life. Remember only yourself, your own work—and this work is one: to love, to enlarge love in yourself—not to think of others, of the consequences of your labour and the work of life will go on fruitfully, joyously. Just as soon as you begin to think of that which you are producing, about the results of your labour, just as soon as you begin to modify it in accordance with its results—your work becomes confused and ceases, and there comes the consciousness of the vanity of life. The master of life gave to each one of us separately such a labour, that the fulfilment of that labour is the most fruitful work. And He himself will use and guide this work, give it a place and a meaning.[98] But as soon as I try to find and fix a place for it, and in accordance with this, to modify it then I become confused, see the vanity of labour and I despair. My task is to work and He already knows for what it is needed and will make use of it. “Man walks, God leads.” And the work is one; to enlarge love in oneself.

I am a self-moving saw or a living spade and its life consists in this, to keep its edge clean and sharp. And it will work well enough, and its work will be useful. To keep it sharp, and to sharpen and sharpen it all the time, that is to make oneself always kinder and kinder.

2) Once more I wrote to N that she is wrong in thinking that it is possible for one to renounce oneself from the exploit of living. Life is an exploit. And the principal thing is, that that very thing that pains us and seems to us to hinder us from fulfilling our work in life—is our very work in life. There is some circumstance, a condition in life which tortures you; poverty, illness, faithlessness of a husband, calumny, humiliation,—it suffices only to pity yourself and you become the unhappiest among the unhappy. And it suffices only to understand that this is the very work of life which you are called to do; to live in poverty, in illness, to forgive faithlessness, calumny, humiliation—and instead of depression and pain there is energy and joy.[99]

3) Art becoming all the time more and more exclusive, satisfying continually a smaller and smaller circle of people, becoming more and more selfish, has gone crazy, since insanity is only selfishness reaching to its last degree. Art has reached the last degree of selfishness—and has gone out of its mind.

I have felt very badly and depressed these days. Father, help me to live with Thee, not to wander from Thy will.

November 28. Moscow. If I live.

To-day December 2. Moscow.

Five days have passed and very torturing ones. Everything is still the same.

... My feeling; I have discovered on myself a terrible putrefying sore. They had promised me to heal it and have bound it. The sore was so disgusting to me, it was so depressing for me to think that it was there, that I tried to forget it, to convince myself that it was not there. But some time has passed—they unbound the sore and though it was healing, nevertheless it was there. And it was torturingly painful to me and I began to reproach the doctor—and unjustly. That is my condition. The principal thing is the devil that has been sent me. Oh, this luxury, this richness, this absence of care about the material life! Like an over-fertilised soil. If they do not cultivate[100] good plants on it, weeding it, cleaning everything around them,—it will become overgrown with horrible ugliness and will become terrible. But it is difficult—I am old and am almost unable to do it. Yesterday I walked, thought, suffered and prayed and it seems to me not in vain.

Yesterday I went to Princess Helen Sergeievna.[157] It was very pleasant. I still cannot work. I shall try to in a minute. I have written nothing in the note book. Letters from Koni,[158] from Mme. Kudriavtsev.[159] Yesterday the factory hands came and a new one, Medusov, I think.

Dec. 12. Moscow.

I have suffered much during these days and it seems I have advanced towards peace, towards the good—towards God. Am reading much on art. It is becoming clear. I am not even sitting down to write. Masha went away. The Chertkovs came.

To-day I wrote the appendix to The Appeal.[160]

Dec. 15. Moscow.

Now 2 o’clock in the morning. Have done nothing. My stomach ached. Am calm; have no desire to write.

... I have made some notes. I don’t write[101] out everything. Something struck me forcibly—it is my clear consciousness of the weight of the oppressiveness from my personality, from the fact that I am I. This gives me joy because it means that I understood, that I recognised as myself, at least partly, a “self” that was not personal.

December 16, Moscow. If I live.

To-day December 19 or 20.

Five days have passed and I feel the oppressiveness, the weight of my body and therefore the consciousness of the existence of that which is not the body has strengthened terribly. I want to throw off this weight, free myself from these chains and nevertheless I feel them. I am sick of my body.

All this time I have not worked at all and I feel heavy melancholy. I am fighting against it by seeking in my life a task which is beyond this life. There is only one such: an approach to the perfection of God, to love. Yesterday it became so clear to me that life here is nothing else than a manifestation in these forms of the greatest perfection of God. “To live an age and unto the night”—that is in terms of time. To live for a universal life and for this one—that is in terms of space.


I have done nothing during this time and am unable to. I am living badly.

I have noted a few trifles on Art:

1) They bring as a proof that art is good, the fact that it produces a great impression on you. Yes, but who are you? On the decadents, their works produce a great impression on them. You say that they are spoilt. But Beethoven, who does not produce an impression on the working man, produces such an impression on you, only because you are spoilt. Who then is right? What music is beyond question as to its value? That kind which produces as impression on a decadent and on you and on the working man; simple, understandable, popular music.

2) What relief all would feel who are locked up in a concert-room listening to Beethoven’s last works, if a jig or a cherdash or something similar would be played for them.

3) N. was here and said that he recognised only sensation, that man himself, the “self” was only a sensation. Sensation receives sensation. He reached this nonsense because of the scientific method; the limiting of the field of research, the non-recognition of anything else than sensation, is very good and profitable for the practical ends of the science of experimental psychology, but it is good-for-nothing as far as a living universal point of view is concerned. And this error is often[103] made by people; they transfer to life the method which is suitable to science.

4) Nothing so confuses the conception of art as the acceptance of authorities. Instead of determining by a clear concise conception of art whether the works of Sophocles, Homer, Dante, Shakespeare, Goethe, Beethoven, Bach, Raphael, Michael-Angelo, come up to the conception of good art and exactly how they do so, they determine by the existing works of the recognised great artists, art itself and its laws. But, however, there are many works of noted artists which are below every criticism and there are many false reputations, accidentally won fame; Dante, Shakespeare.

5) I am reading the history of music:[161] out of sixteen chapters on artificial music there is one short chapter on popular music. And they know almost nothing about it. So that the history of music is not the history of how real music was born and spread and developed; the music of melodies—but the history of artificial music, i.e., how real melodious music was distorted.

6) Artificial, master-class music, the music of parasites, feeling its own impotence, its own hollowness, takes recourse, in order to replace real interest by artificiality, now to counterpoint, to the fugue, now to opera, to illustration.

7) Church music is good, therefore, because it is[104] understood by the masses. The undeniably good is only that which is understood by all. And therefore it is true, that the more understandable it is, the better.

8) The various characters expressed by art touch us only because in each one of us is the possibility of every possible character. (Forgot)

9) The history of music, like all history, is written on the plan to show how it has gradually reached that condition in which the thing is found about which the history is now being written. The present condition of music, or that about which the history is written, is supposed to be the highest. But what if it is not only a lower thing, but something entirely distorted, an accidental deviation towards distortion.

10) Belief in authorities causes the errors of authorities to be accepted as models.

11) They say that music strengthens the impression of words—in arias, songs. It isn’t true. Music gets ahead of impressions made by words, by heaven knows how far. An aria of Bach; what words can rival it at the time when it is being rendered? It is a different thing—the words by themselves. To whatever music you would place the Sermon on the Mount, the music would remain far behind, once you penetrated the words. “Crucifix” by Faure,[162] the music is pitiable compared to the words. They are two entirely different[105] and incompatible feelings. In song they go along together only because the words give tone.

(Not exact. About this in another place.)

12) So vividly have I recalled Vasili Perfileev[163] and others, whom I saw in Moscow, and so clear did it become that, although they are dead, they still are.

13) The Scylla and Charybdis of artists; either understandable, but shallow, vulgar; or pseudo-lofty, original and incomprehensible.

14) The poetry of the people always reflected and not only reflected, predicted, prepared, popular movements; the Crusades, the Reformation. What could the poetry of our parasitical circle predict and prepare?—Love, debauchery; debauchery, love.

15) Popular poetry, music, art in general is exhausted, because all the talented have been won over by bribes to be buffoons to the rich and the titled; chamber music, opera, odes and[164] ...

16) In all art, there exists the struggle between the Christian and the pagan. The Christian begins to conquer and the new wave of the 15th Century overflows, the Renaissance, and only now at the end of the 19th, the Christian rises again, and paganism in the shape of decadence having reached the highest degree of nonsense, is being destroyed.

17) Besides the fact that the most gifted of the[106] people were won over by bribes into the camp of the parasites, the cause of the destruction of popular poetry and music were: at first the serfdom of the people and later the most important one—printing.

18) Chertkov said that around us there are four walls of the unknown; in front, the wall of the future, in back the wall of the past, to the right the wall of ignorance, of that which is taking place there where we are not, and the fourth wall, he says, is the ignorance of that which is going on in the soul of another. In my mind this is not so. The first three walls are as he says. One should not look through them. The less we look beyond them the better. But as to the fourth wall of the ignorance of that which is going on in the souls of other people, this wall we ought to break down with all our strength, striving for a fusion with the souls of other people. And the less we will look beyond those three other walls, the closer we will get to others in this respect.

19) After death in importance, and before death in time, there is nothing more important, more irrevocable, than marriage. And just as death is only good then when it is unavoidable, but every death on purpose is bad, so it is with marriage. Only then is marriage not evil, when it is not to be conquered.

20) Apostasy comes from a man professing[107] what he professes not for himself, not for God, but for people. He betrays his professions, either because he has become convinced that more people, or better people according to his mind, do not profess the same thing as he, or because that which he did before, he did for human fame and now he wants to live for himself, before God.

21) If I believed in a personal God to whom one could turn to with questions, I would say, Why, for what has God made it so, that some, knowing the undoubted truth, burn wholly with its fire, while others do not want it, cannot understand or accept it, and even hate it.

It is now past one. The same weakness, but keen in spirit, when I remember the significance of the whole of life, and not only this one which I have lived through as Leo Nicholaievich (Tolstoi). Help me, Lord, to do always, everywhere Thy will, to be with Thee. But not my will, but Thine, be done.

December 21, Moscow, if I live.

I am still writing December the 20th, Moscow.

Still the same depression. Father, help me. Relieve me. Strengthen Thyself in me, vanquish, drive forth, destroy, the foul flesh and all that I feel through it.

... Father, help me. Moreover, I feel better already. What is especially calming is the task, the test of humility, of humiliation, an entirely[108] unexpected, exceptional humiliation. In chains, in a prison, one can pride oneself on one’s humiliation, but here it is only painful, unless one accepts it as a trial sent by God. Yes, learn to bear calmly, joyfully and to love.

December 21. Moscow.

I am learning badly. I continually suffer, helplessly, weakly. Only in rare moments do I rise to the consciousness of the whole of my life (not only this one) and my duties in it.

I thought (and felt): There are people lacking both in æsthetic feeling and in the ethical (especially the ethical), to whom it is impossible to instil that which is good—the less so when they do and love that which is bad, and think that the bad is good ...

December 22, Moscow, if I live, which is getting to be very doubtful; my heart does not stop aching. Almost nothing gives me rest. To-day Posha alone refreshed me. It is so disgusting I want to cry over myself, over the remnant of my life which is being futilely ruined. But perhaps it must be so, yes, in fact, it must be so ...

December 25, Moscow.

9 o’c. at night. Spiritually I feel better. But I have no intellectual, artistic work, and I am melancholy. Just now I felt that particular Christmas[109] softening and gentleness, and poetical impulse. My hands are cold, I want to cry and to love ...

December 26, Moscow.

I am still not writing anything, but I feel my thoughts revive. The devil still does not leave me.

I thought to-day about The Diary of a Mad Man.[165] The principal thing is that I have understood my filial relation to God, brotherhood,—and my attitude to the whole world has changed.




Jan. 5, Moscow.

There is still nothing good to write about myself. I feel no need of working and the devil does not leave me. Have been ill for about 6 days.

Began to reread Resurrection and reached up to his decision to marry and threw it away with disgust. It is all untrue, invented, weak. It is hard to repair a spoiled thing. In order to repair it, there is necessary: 1) alternately to describe his feeling and life, and hers,[166] and 2) sympathetically and seriously hers, and critically and with a smile, his. I shall hardly finish it. It is all very spoilt.

Yesterday I read Arkhangelsky’s[167] article “Whom to Serve” and was very delighted.

Have finished the notebook. And here I am writing from it:

1) My article on ... must be written for the people ...

2) (For The Notes of a Madman or for The Drama). Despair because of madness and wretchedness of life. Salvation from this despair in the recognition of God and one’s filiality to Him. The recognition of filiality is the[114] recognition of brotherhood. The recognition of the brotherhood of man and the cruel, brutal, unbrotherly arrangement of life which is justified by people—leads inevitably to a recognition of one’s own insanity or that of the whole world.

3) I read Nakashidze’s[168] letter about the Congress of the Dukhobors, where they discussed social questions. Here is an instance of the possibility of administration without violence. One condition is necessary—no, two conditions: the respect of the youth and of the spiritually weak in general, to the resolutions of the elected elders, the spiritually stronger—the “little old men” as the Dukhobors call them; and the second condition that these “little old men” be rational and loving. At this Congress the question of uniting property (in common), was discussed and the “little old men” were in favour of it, but constantly repeated: “Only let there be no violence, let things be done voluntarily.”

Among the people and the Dukhobors this respect and recognition of the necessity of fulfilling the resolutions of the old men exist. And all this without forms; the election of the elders and the methods of agreement.

4) No matter how you grind a crystal, how you dissolve it, compress it, it will mould itself again at the first opportunity into the same form. And so the structure of society will be always the[115] same, no matter to what changes you submit it. The form of a crystal will only then be changed when chemical changes occur in it, inner ones; the same with society.

5) It would be good to write a preface to Spier[169] containing the following:

The world is such as we see it, only if there do not exist any other beings differently built from us and endowed with other senses than ours. If we see not only the possibility, but the necessity, of the existence of other beings endowed with other senses than ours, then the world is in no case, merely such as we see it. Our imagination of the world shows only our attitude to the world, just as the visual picture which we form for ourselves from what we see as far as the horizon and the sky represents in no way the actual outlines of the objects seen. The other senses, hearing, smell, principally—touch, in verifying our visual impressions give us a more definite conception of the seen objects; but that which we know as broad, thick, hard or soft or how the things seen by us sound or smell, do not prove that we know these things fully and that if a new sense (above the five) were given us, it would not disclose to us that our conception of things formed by our five senses was not just as deceptive as that conception of the flatness of objects and their diminishing in perspective which sight only gives us.


I see a man in the mirror, hear his voice and am fully convinced that he is a real man; but I approach, I want to grasp his hand and I touch the glass of the mirror and see my delusion. The same thing must come to pass in a dying man; a new feeling is born which discloses to him (through his new feeling and the new knowledge it gives him) the delusion of recognising his body as himself, and of all that he recognised as existing through the means of the senses of this body.

So that the world is certainly not such as we know it to be: let there be other instruments of knowledge—and there will be another world.

But no matter how that which we consider as the world, our attitude to the world, should change—one thing is unalterably such as we know it and is always unchanging, it is that which knows. And it knows not only in me, but in everything which knows. This thing which knows is the same everywhere and in everything and in itself. It is God, and it is that for some reason limited particle of God which composes our actual “self.”

But what then, is this God, i. e., something eternal, infinite, omnipotent, which has become mortal, finite, weak? Why did God divide himself within himself? I do not know, but I know that this is so, and that in this is life. All that we know is nothing else than just such divisions of[117] God. All that we know as the world is the knowledge of these divisions. Our knowledge of the world (that which we call matter in space and time) is the contact of the limits of our divinity with its other divisions. Birth and death are the transitions from one division into another.

6) The difference between Christian happiness and pagan is this, that the pagan seeks happiness, prepares it for himself, awaits it, demands it—the Christian seeks, prepares, awaits and demands the kingdom of God and accepts happiness when it comes as something unexpected, undeserved, unprepared. And it is no less.

Jan. 18. Moscow.

Dismal, horrid. Everything repels me in the life they lead around me. Now I free myself from sadness and suffering, then again I fall into it. In nothing is it so apparent, as in this, how far I am from what I want to be. If my life were really entirely in the service of God, there would be nothing which could disturb it.

I am still writing on art. It is bad. A Dukhobor was here.

Feb. 4. Nicholskoe with the Olsuphievs.

I am already here the 4th day and am inexpressibly sad. I am writing badly on art. I just now prayed and became horrified at how low I have[118] fallen. I think, I ask myself, what am I to do; I doubt, I hesitate, as if I did not know or had forgotten who I was and therefore what I was to do. To remember that I am not master, but servant and to do that to which I have been put. With what labour have I struggled and attained this knowledge, how undoubted is this knowledge and how I can forget it nevertheless—not exactly forget it, but live without applying it.

... Well, enough about this.

I am going to write out what I thought during this time:

1) When all is said and done, it is those people over whom violence is used who always rule, i.e., those who fulfil the law of non-resistance. So women seek rights, but it is they who rule, just because they are the ones subjected to force—they were and they still are. Institutions are in the power of men, but public opinion is in the power of women. And public opinion is a million times stronger than any laws and armies. The proof that public opinion is in the hands of women is that not only the construction of homes, food, are determined by women, and not only do the women spend the wealth, consequently control the labour of men, but the success of works of art, of books, even the appointment of rulers, are determined by public opinion; and public opinion is determined by women. Some one well said that[119] men must seek emancipation from women, and not the contrary.

2) (For The Appeal).[170] Unmask the deceivers, spread the truth and do not fear. If it were a matter of spreading deception and murder, then of course, it would be terrible, but here you would be spreading the freedom from deception and murder. Besides, there is no ground for fear. Of whom? They ... are themselves afraid.

I remember there worked for us in our village a weak and phlegmatic 12 year-old boy who once caught on the road and brought back, an enormous healthy peasant, a thief, who had taken a coat from the hall.

3) The poets, the verse-makers torture their tongues in order to be able to say every possible kind of thought in every possible variety of word and to be able to form from all these words something which resembles a thought. Such exercise can only be indulged in by unserious people. And so it is.

4) If we never moved, then everything which we saw would appear to us flat and not in perspective. Motion gives us a conception of things in three dimensions of space. The same thing is true concerning the material side of things: if we weren’t living, were not moving in life, we would see only the material side of things; but moving in life, moving our spiritual side across[120] the material side of the world, we recognise the falseness of the idea that the material is actually such as it appears to us.

5) Twenty times I have repeated it, and 20 times the thought comes to me as new, that release from all excitement, fear, suffering, from physical and especially from spiritual, lies in destroying in one’s self the illusion of the union of one’s spiritual “self” with one’s physical. And this is always possible. When the illusion is destroyed then the spiritual “self” can suffer only from the fact that it is joined to the physical, but not from hunger, pain, sorrow, jealousy, shame, etc. In the first case, as long as it is joined it does that which the physical “self” wants: it gets angry, condemns, scolds, strikes; in the second case, when it is separated from the physical, it does only that which can free it from the torturing union. And only the manifestations of love frees it.

6) For the article on Art. When it is beauty that is recognised as the aim of art, then everything will be art which for certain people will appear as beauty, i.e., everything which will please certain people.

7) I have noted, “the harm of art, especially music” and I wanted to write that I had forgotten, but while I was writing, I remembered. The[121] harm of art is principally this, that it takes up time, hiding from people their idleness. I know that it is harmful when it encourages idleness both for the producers and those who enjoy it, but I cannot see a clear definition of when it is permissible, useful, good. I should like to say only then when it is a rest from labour, like sleep, but I do not yet know if that is so.

8) (For The Appeal). You are mistaken, you poor, if you think that you can shame or touch or convince the rich man to divide with you. He cannot do that because he sees that you want the same thing that he wants and that you are fighting him with the same means with which he fights you. You will not only convince him, but you will compel him to yield to you only by ceasing to seek that which he seeks, ceasing to struggle with him, but if you cease to struggle you will cease also ... (very important).

9) If the end of art is not the good, but pleasure, then the distribution of art will be different. If its end is the good, then it will inevitably be spread among the greatest number of people; if its end is pleasure, then it will be confined to a small number (not exact and still unclear).

10) Art is—I was going to write food, but it is better to say—sleep, necessary for the sustenance of the spiritual life. Sleep is useful, necessary[122] after labour. But artificial sleep is harmful, does not refresh, does not stimulate, but weakens.

11) I heard counterpoint singing and ...[171] This is the destruction of music, a means of perverting it. There is no sense to it, no melody, and any first senseless sequence of sounds are taken and from the combination of these insignificant sequences is formed some kind of a tedious resemblance to music. The best is when the last chord is finished.

12) The most severe and consequential agnostic, whether he wants it or does not want it, recognises God. He cannot but recognise that in the first place, in the existence both of himself and of the whole world, there is some meaning inaccessible to him; and in the second, there is a law of his life, a law to which he can submit or from which he can escape. And it is this recognition of the highest meaning of life, inaccessible to man but inevitably existing, and of the law of one’s life, which is God and His will. And this recognition of God is immensely stronger than the recognition of ... etc. To believe like this means to dig to bedrock, to the mainland, and to build the house on that.

13) Stepa[172] related the physiologic process which takes place in the infant when it separates from its mother. Truly it is a miracle.


This thought occupied me in relation to the doctrine that everything material is illusion. How can illusion take place there where I do not see it? As you see it, so it takes place. You see everything through your glasses. That is well enough as regards all other phenomena, but here the most fundamental thing is taking place, that from which the whole of my life and of everything living is composed: the detachment from the world. And here right in front of my eyes this detachment is taking place; there was one and there became two, like among the first cells, (unclear.)

14) Every living being carries within himself all the possibilities of its ancestors. Having been detached, he manifests several of them, but carries in himself the remaining ones and acquires new ones. In this lies the process of life; to unite and to separate. (Still more unclear.)

I have decided no matter what happens, to write every day. Nothing strengthens one so much for the good. It is the best prayer.

Evening, February 4. Nicholskoe.

In the morning I wrote this diary and later tried to write, but could do nothing; had no desire. Undoubtedly if there be strength and capacity to write, then one ought to serve God.

It is just as gloomy. I do not pray enough, hourly.


February 5, Nicholskoe. If I live.

February 5, Nicholskoe.

Still the same intellectual, creative, weakness. But I think it is almost hopeless. There was a search at Chertkov’s. S. arrived.

I thought: I, a worker, am I doing the work commanded? In this is everything. Lord, help me.

Feb. 6. Nicholskoe.

In the morning Gorbunov arrived; in the evening a telegram that the Chertkovs are leaving on Thursday.[173] I prepared to go with Sonya.[174] Am just going. Health better.

Feb. 7. Petersburg.

Went to Chertkov. It is joyous there. Then to Yaroshenko.[175]

... I pray that I do not abandon here or anywhere the consciousness of my mission, to be fulfilled by kindness.

Feb. 8. Petersburg. If I live.

I was alive, but made no entries the two days. To-day, Feb. 10.

It doesn’t matter, it doesn’t matter, silence. I was at Stasov’s and Tolstoi’s.[176] Did nothing[125] bad, but nothing good either. Rather some good. Lord keep me from a spell, but I am better. Have thought nothing.

Again at the Olsuphievs in Nicholskoe, Feb. 16.

I returned on the morning of the day before yesterday, and fell ill. Yesterday I was better, wrote on art. Good.

... Women do not consider the demands of reason binding upon themselves and cannot progress according to them. They haven’t got this sail spread. They row without a rudder.[177]

I am again feeling unwell and very sweetly sad. Wrote a letter to the Chertkovs and to Posha. Am not working.

Feb. 17. Nicholskoe.

I do not feel well. I tried to write on art....

... Received letters; an adaptation of On Life from the American.[178] Wrote two letters to Sonya yesterday and sent them to-day.[179]

Having been thinking even before Petersburg:

1) (For The Appeal): To describe the condition of the factory workers, the servants, soldiers, agricultural labourers in comparison with the rich, and show that it all comes from....

2) In the Middle Ages, in the XIth Century, poetry was general—the people and the masters, les courtois et les vilains; then they separated and[126] les vilains began to mimic the masters’ and the masters the people’s. A union ought to take place again.

3) A hundred times I have said it to myself and have written it down: the real and only salvation from all sorrow is the knowledge of one’s mission, the anxiety whether you have done that for which you were sent.

4) Nearly every husband and wife reproach each other for things for which they do not consider themselves guilty. But on the one side there is no ceasing to accuse, nor on the other to vindicate.

5) They do not run after a poet or a painter so much, as after an actor, and especially after a musician. Music calls forth a direct physical effect, sometimes acute, sometimes chronic.

6) We absolutely falsely ascribe intelligence and goodness to talent, and the same to beauty. In this lies great self-delusion.

7) It came into my head with remarkable clearness that in order to always feel good, it is necessary always to think of others, especially when you speak with some one.

8) The movement of life, the broadening of a separate being gives time. If there would be no movement, no enlarging of love, then there would be no time; as to space, it is the representation of other beings. If there were no other beings,[127] there would be no space. (All nonsense, unthought).

9) Women are deprived of a moral sense for a motor. They haven’t got this sail spread and therefore it does not carry.

Feb. 18, Nicholskoe. If I live.

Feb. 18. Nicholskoe.

Forty-five years ago I was in battle.[180]

I feel a great sinking in energy. I am very weak, cannot work. But is it not possible to live unceasingly before God, doing His work in proportion to His strength. I shall try. Help me, Lord. I shall take up the letters. Here demands are made, and it is possible to fulfil His work.

Evening. Indisposed. Apathy, weakness. Am not taking up the essay,[181] wrote letters. Just now a letter from Biriukov. I answered it.

February 19. Nicholskoe.

I am just as apathetic, but am not worried. Wrote letters. Wrote to every one. I am going to bed, it is past twelve.

To-day, Feb. 20, Nicholskoe. Seven o’clock in the evening.

I still feel just as badly; constipation and heart-burn. I fell asleep in the morning. Then, not[128] trying to work, I took a walk. Extreme weakness. My soul is calm, only it is a bore that I am unable to work. The house is full of people.

... Yesterday I wrote many letters.

I walked and thought:

There is no greater cause for error and confusion of ideas, the most unexpected ones, and inexplicable in any other way, than the recognition of authorities, i.e., the infallible truthfulness or beauty of certain persons, of books or of works of art. M. Arnold[182] was a thousand times right when he said that the business of criticism lies in detaching the good from the bad, from all that has been written and done, and mainly the bad from that which is recognised as splendid, and the good from that which is recognised as bad, or is not recognised at all. The most striking instance of this error and its terrible consequences, holding back for ages the forward movement of Christian mankind, is the authority of the Holy Scriptures and the Gospels. How many of the most unexpected and remarkable absurdities, sometimes necessary for its own justification, sometimes not necessary for anything, are said and written in the text of the Holy Scriptures.... The same thing happens in the Greek Tragedies, in Vergil, Shakespeare, Goethe, Bach, Beethoven, Raphael and in the new authorities.


Perhaps I omitted the 21st. To-day, perhaps the 22nd. February, Saturday. Nicholskoe.

Yesterday I did not work. I read through the first draft on art—pretty good. I went for Yushkova’s[183] dress. It was a nice trip. In the evening they spoke about Art and then I heard the brothers Konius[184] who arrived....

To-day I am a little better in my health, I went on skiis and felt weak at heart and uneasy when I went far. It is evening now. I feel like writing letters.

I thought for The Appeal when I looked at the numberless sons of N. in their overcoats: He is bringing them up, “making” men of the world of them. What for?

You will say: you live as you do for the sake of the children. What for? Why bring up another generation of the same cheated slaves, not knowing why they live, and living such a joyless life?

Feb. 23. Nicholskoe. If I live.

February 23, Nicholskoe.

To-day I wrote willingly and eagerly all morning and it seems to me I advanced on the essay on art. Then I took a walk before dinner. There is still a pile of people. No serious talk. Yesterday there was music.... To-day an amateur theatrical. Tania and Michail Adamovich[130] played very well.[185] It is now evening. The day has passed almost without heart-burn.

February 24. Nicholskoe.

To-day I arose apathetic and fell asleep again right after luncheon. After one, I went to meet the riders. Came home, dined. Am struggling successfully with heart-burn. Went for a walk in the evening.

Read and am reading Aristotle (Bénard) on æsthetics. Very important.

Thought during these days:

1) Thought; why is it impossible to even speak to some people ... about truth and good—so far are they away from it. This is so, because they are surrounded by such a thick layer of temptations that they have become impenetrable. They are unable to struggle with sin, because they do not see the sin for the temptations. In this lies the principal danger and all the horror of temptations.

2) They say to me when I condemn religious propaganda: You also are preaching. No, I do not preach—mainly because I have nothing to preach. Even to atheists I am not going to preach God (if I preached, I erred). I only draw conclusions from what people accept, pointing out the contradictions which are enclosed in what they accept, and which they do not notice.


3) ... a general, respectable, clean, correct, with thick eye-brows and important mien (and uncommonly good-natured, but deprived of every moral motive sense) gave me the striking thought, as to how and by what means those most indifferent to social life, to the good of society—as to how just those people rise involuntarily to the position of rulers of people. I see how he will manage institutions upon which a million lives depend, and just because he likes cleanliness, elegance, refined food, dancing, hunting, billiards and every possible kind of amusement, and not having the means to keep himself in those regiments, or institutions, or societies where all this exist, is advanced little by little as a good and harmless man and made a ruler of people. All are like N. and their name is legion.

4) I am reading Aristotle. He says in Politics (Book VII, Chapter VIII): “Dans cette république parfaite, où la vertu des citoyens sera réele, ils s’abstiendront de toute profession méchanique, de toute spéculation mercantile, travaux dégradés (dégradants?)[186] et contraires à la vertu. Ils ne se livreront pas davantage á l’agriculture. Il faut du loisir pour acquérir la vertu” ...[187]

All his æsthetics has for its end (            )[188] virtue. And we with the Christian understanding of the brotherhood of man want to be guided by[132] the ethical and æsthetical conception of the ancients!!

Feb. 25. Nicholskoe. If I live.

February 25. Nicholskoe.

I am alive. I have written a little—not as easily as yesterday. The guests have departed. Went for a walk twice. Am reading Aristotle. To-day I received letters ...

Yesterday, while walking, I prayed and experienced a remarkable sensation which is perhaps similar to that which the mystics excite in themselves by spiritual works; I felt myself to be a spiritual, free being bound by the illusion of the body.

Feb. 26. Nicholskoe. If I live.

Feb. 26, Nicholskoe.

I am alive. I am writing, so as to keep my resolution. To-day I wrote letters all morning, but I had no energy for work.

Went to Mme. Shorin.[189] I had a good talk with her. Perhaps even to some purpose. Just as Anna Michailovna[190] said to-day, that I helped her. And thanks be.

I copied the letter to Posha.


Feb. 27. Nicholskoe.

Wrote this morning poorly, but cleared up something or other. Am well. Took a walk. Spoke with Tania. And that is all.

Yesterday was Feb. 28. Nicholskoe.

I have written nothing. In the morning I worked badly. Received a letter from Chertkov and Ivan Michailovich and wrote to both. Walked and went to Safonovo.[191]

This morning I thought of something which seemed to me important, namely:

1) I wiped away the dust in my room and walking around, came to the divan and could not remember whether I had dusted it or not. Just because these movements are customary and unconscious I could not remember them and I felt that it was impossible to. So that if I dusted and forgot it, i.e., if I did an act unconsciously; then it is just the same as if it never existed. If some one conscious saw it, then perhaps it could be restored. But if no one saw it, or saw it unconsciously; if the whole complex life of many people pass along unconsciously, then that life is as if it had never existed. So that life—life only exists then, when it is lit by consciousness.

What, then, is this consciousness? What are the acts which are lit by consciousness? The acts which are lit by consciousness are those acts which[134] we fulfil freely, i.e., fulfilling them we know that we might have acted otherwise. Therefore, consciousness is freedom. Without consciousness there is no freedom and without freedom there can be no consciousness (if we are subjected to violence and we have no choice as to how we should bear that violence, we do not feel the violence).

Memory is nothing else than the consciousness of the past, of the past freedom. If I were unable to dust or not to dust, I would not be conscious of dusting, if I were not conscious of dusting, I would not have the choice of dusting or not dusting. If I did not have consciousness and freedom, I would not remember the past, I would not unite it into one. Therefore the very basis of life is freedom and consciousness—a freedom-consciousness.

(It seemed to me clearer when I was thinking.)

March 1, Nicholskoe.

... To-day I could not write anything in the morning at all—fell asleep. I took a walk both in the morning and in the evening. It was very pleasant.

I thought two things:

1) That death seems to me now just as a change: a discharge from a former post and an[135] appointment to a new one. It seems that I am all worn out for the former post and I am no longer fit.

2) I thought about N as a good character for a drama; good-natured, clean, spoilt, loving pleasure but good, and incapable of conceiving a radical moral requirement.

I also thought:

3) There is only one means for steadfastness and peace: love, love towards enemies.

Yes, here this problem was presented to me from a special, unexpected angle and how badly I was able to solve it. I must try harder. Help me, Father.

March 2, Nicholskoe. If I live.

March 2, Nicholskoe.

I am alive. Entirely well. To-day I wrote pretty well. In the evening after dinner I went to Shelkovo. It was a very pleasant walk in the moonlight.

Wrote a letter to Posha. Received a letter from Tregubov. He is irritated because they intercept the letters. But I am not vexed. I have understood that one has to pity them, and I pity truly. To-morrow we go. We have been here a whole month.


Yesterday was March 3rd. Moscow.

In the morning I did almost nothing. I stumbled up against the historic course of art. I took a walk. After dinner I left. I arrived at 10.

March 4, Moscow.

Got up late. Handled my papers, wrote letters to Posha, Nakashidze. Went to the public library, took books. In the evening Dunaev and Boulanger were here. It is now late. I am going to bed. S. is at a concert.

March 5. Moscow. If I live.

Heavens, how many days I have skipped: To-day, March 9. Moscow.

Out of the four days, I wrote two days on art and to-day pretty much. I wanted to write Hadji Murad very much and thought out something pretty well—touching. A letter from Posha. Wrote to Chertkov and Koni about the terrible thing that happened to Miss Vietrov.[192] I am not going to write out what I have noted.

I am still in the same peaceful, because loving, mood. As soon as I feel like being hurt or wearied I remember God and that my work is only one, to love, not to think of that which will be—and I feel better right away.

Tania is going to Yasnaya.


To-day, March 15, Moscow.

Lived not badly. I see the end of the essay on art. Still the same peace. I thank God. I have just now written letters. It is evening. I am going into the tedious drawing-room.

To-day, April 4, Moscow.

Almost a month I have not written (20 days), and I have lived the time badly, because I worked little. Wrote all the time on art, became confused these last days. And now for two days I haven’t written.

I have not lost my peace, but my soul is troubled, still I am master of it. Oh, Lord! If only I could remember my mission, that through oneself must be manifested (shine) divinity. But the difficulty is, that if you remember that alone you will not live; and you must live, live energetically, and yet remember. Help me, Father.

I have prayed much lately that my life be better. But as it is, the consciousness of the lawlessness of my life is shameful and depressing.

Yesterday I thought very well about Hadji Murad—that in it the principal thing was to express a deception of trust. How good it would have been, were it not for this deception. Also I am thinking more and more often of The Appeal.

I am afraid that the theme of art has occupied[138] me lately for personal, selfish and bad reasons. Je m’entends.

During this time I made few notes and if I had been thinking about anything I have forgotten it.

1) The world which we know and represent for ourselves, is nothing else than laws of co-relation between our senses (sens), and therefore, a miracle is a violation of these laws of co-relation, it therefore destroys our conception of the world. In the crudest form, it is thus: I know that water (not frozen) is always liquid. And its specific gravity is less than that of my body. My eyes, hearing, touch, demonstrate to me liquid water; and suddenly a man walks on this water. If he walked on the water, then it proves nothing, but only destroys my conception of water.

2) A very common mistake: To place the aim of life in the service of people and not in the service of God. Only in serving God, i.e., in doing that which He wants, can you be certain that you are not doing something vain and it is not impossible to choose whom you are to serve.

3) Church Christians do not want to serve God, but want God to serve them.

4) Shakespeare began to be valued when the moral criterion was lost.

5) (For The Appeal.) We are so entangled that every one of our steps in life is a participation[139] in evil: in violence, in oppression. We must not despair, but we must slowly disentangle ourselves from those nets in which we are caught; not to tear ourselves through,—that would entangle us worse—but to disentangle ourselves carefully.


I am in a very bad physical condition, almost fever, and the black gloom that comes before, but up to now the spiritual is the stronger. Escorted Maude’s colony.[194] Ivan Michailovich is still free.[195] Everything is all right.

Apr. 9. Moscow.

Have been ill. With calmness I thought that I would die. To-day I wrote well on Art. They have taken Ivan Michailovich. There was a search at Dunaev’s.[196] It is all right with the exiles.[197]

Outwardly I am entirely calm, inwardly not entirely. It is enough to bear in mind that everything is for the good, and when I bear that in mind as I do now—it is good.

To-day May 3. Yasnaya Polyana.

Almost a month I have made no entries. A bad and sterile month.

I cut out and burned that which I wrote in heat.[198]


To-day July 16. Y. P.

It is not one month that I have made no entries, but two and a half. I have lived through much, both the difficult and the good.[199] Have been ill. Very severe pains—I think in the beginning of July.[200]

I worked all this time on the essay on art, and the farther I get the better. I finished it and am correcting it from the beginning.

Masha married.[201]...

We do not quiet, moderate passion, the source of the greatest calamities, but kindle it with all our strength and then we complain that we suffer....

Good letters from Chertkov. A Kiev peasant was here, Shidlovsky.[202]

I feel that I am alone—that my life not only does not interest any one, but that they are bored and ashamed that I continue to occupy myself with such trifles.

I thought during this time:

1) A type of woman—there are men such also, but mostly it is women who are incapable of seeing themselves, as if their necks were stationary and they could not look back at themselves. It isn’t exactly that they don’t want to repent: but they can’t see themselves. They live as they do and not in another way, because this way seems good to them. And therefore if they do anything[141] it is because it seems good to them. Such people are terrifying. And such people may be intelligent, stupid, good, wicked. When they are stupid and wicked it is terrible.

2) With a low moral standard, a firmness of judgment. The acts of all the best people are explained by what I would have done. Christ preached out of vanity, condemned the Pharisees from envy, etc.

3) The second condition of art is novelty. To a child everything is new and therefore it has many artistic impressions. The new for us, is a certain depth of feeling, that depth in which a man finds his separate individuality from all. That is for indifferent art. For the highest, novelty lies only in religion, as religion is the most advanced world point of view.

4) (For the drama.) They bring to the table a man in tatters and they laugh at the inconsistency of it and at his awkwardness. Revolt.

5) When it happens that you thought of something and then forgot what you thought, but you remember and know the character of your thoughts: sad, dismal, oppressive, joyous, keen—and even remember their order: first it was sad, and then it became calm, etc.,—when you remember things that way, then it is exactly what music expresses.


6) A theme: A passionate young man in love with a mentally diseased woman.

7) God gave us His spirit—love, reason—in order to serve Him; but we use His spirit to serve ourselves—we use the axe to plane the handle.

I feel fully well and strong physically, but morally, weak. I feel like working and am able. I am going to make notes.[203]

July 17. Yasn. Pol. If I live.

July 17. Y. P.

Got up late, worked badly. There is neither concentration nor capacity to embrace everything. Nevertheless I have advanced. Masha came with Kolia ...

Yesterday I talked about love with N: that we madly kindle this passion and then we suffer from its exaggerations and excesses.

Went on my bicycle to Yasenki. I love this motion very much. But I am ashamed.

A letter from Chertkov; he is very ill. I value him very much. And how not value him.

It is now 10 o’clock. The Shenshins have left just now. I feel solemn and gloomy.

July 18, 1897. Y. P. If I live.


I skipped three days. To-day July 21. Y. P.

I am working well enough. I am even satisfied with my work. Though I change much. Everything has come to a head and has gained much. I have been reviewing everything again from the beginning.

The life around me is very wretched....

I do not know why: whether from the stomach or the heat or from excessive physical exercise—but in the evenings I feel very weak.

A good speech by Crookes as to how a microscopic man would look upon the world.[204]

Yesterday Novikov was here and he brought splendid notes by Michael Novikov.[205] Wrote letters: to Carus,[206] Ivan Michailovich. A letter from Evgenie Ivanovich.[207]

July 22. Y. P. If I live.

July 28. Y. P.

Six days that I haven’t written. Three or four days ago at night, I had an attack of cholera morbus and the day after I was absolutely ill and for two days I have been very weak and have written very poorly. To-day I am a little better.

The children were here: Iliushin’s family.[208] They are sweet grandchildren, especially Andrusha. Whatever notes I made, I will not write[144] out to-day. Longinov[209] was here, a friend of Mme. Annenkov’s and to-day Maude and Boulanger.

July 29. Y. P. If I live.

To-day Aug. 7. Y. P.

During this time a pile of guests[210] ... two Germans, decadents; a naïve and a somewhat stupid one.... There were here: Novikov, the scribe, a very powerful man, and Bulakhov,[211] also a powerful one morally and intellectually. I live very badly, weakly. Very little goodness. To-day the Stakhoviches[212] and the Maklakovs[213] arrived also.

I continue to work on my essay on art and, strange to say, it pleases me. Yesterday and to-day I read it to Ginsburg, Sobolev, Kasatkin[214] and Goldenweiser. The impression it produces on them is exactly the same as it produces on me.

A letter from Crosby with a joyful letter from a Japanese.[215] From Chertkov good letters. The correspondence has been very neglected.

I am entirely alone and I weaken. I often say to myself that one must live serving, but when I enter life, though I do not exactly forget, yet I scatter myself.

I have written down much, but to-day I have no time to write it out.


Father, help me. I weaken.

I am going to write absolutely every day.

Aug. 8. Y. P. If I live.

A peasant was here who had his arm torn by a tree and amputated. He ploughs with a loop attached.

Aug. 9.

Stakhovich arrived. Read the essay. The tenth chapter is bad. I worked pretty much. Have written poor letters. I must write to Posha and to Ivan Michailovich.

There is noted in the book:

1) A servant makes life false and corrupt. As soon as you have servants, then you increase your wants, complicate life and make it a burden. Instead of joy when you do things yourself, you have vexation and the principal thing, you renounce the main duty of life; the fulfilment of the brotherhood of man.

2) The æsthetic and the ethical are two arms of one lever: to the extent that you lengthen and lighten one side, to that extent you shorten and make heavier the other side. As soon as a man loses his moral sense, he becomes particularly responsive to the æsthetic.

3) People know two Gods: one whom they want to force to serve them, demanding from[146] him by prayers the fulfilment of their desires, and another God, one whom we ought to serve, to the fulfilment of whose will, all our desires ought to be directed.

4) It is a common phenomenon that old people love to travel, to go far and to change places. Is it not a foreseeing and a readiness for the last journey?

Aug. 15. Y. P.

I am continuing to work. Am advancing.

Lombroso was here—a limited, naïve little old man. The Maklakovs. Leo arrived with his wife.[216] Boulanger—a nice man. Wrote letters to everybody: Posha and Ivan Michailovich and Van-der-Veer. The oppressive Leontev[217] was here.

There was something I wanted to write very much, but have forgotten....

A revolting report concerning the missionary congress in Kazan.[218]

There is noted: “Woman’s character”—and I remember that it was something very good. Now I have forgotten. It seems to me that it was that the peculiarity of woman’s character is that her feeling alone guides her life, and that reason only serves her feeling. She cannot even understand that feeling can be made subservient to reason.


2) But there are not so many women—as there are such men—who do not hear, do not see, the unpleasant, do not see it just as if it didn’t exist.

3) When people haven’t the power to get rid of superstition and they continue to pay tribute to it, and at the same time when they see that others have freed themselves, they grow angry at those who have freed themselves. “But I suffer when I commit stupidities and he is free.”

4) Art, i.e., artists, instead of serving people, exploit them.

5) From the time I became old, I began to confuse people, ... belonging or being marked in my mind as one type. So that I do not know N, N N, but I know a collective personality to which N, N N, belong.

6) We are so accustomed to the thought that everything is for us, that the earth is mine, that when we have to die, we are surprised that my earth, something belonging to me, will remain and I won’t. Here the principal mistake is in thinking the earth as something acquired and complementary to me, when it is I who am acquired by the earth, an appendage to it.

7) How good it would be if we could live with the same concentration, do the work of life—principally; communion among people—with[148] that concentration with which we play chess, read music, etc.

Aug. 16. Y. P. If I live.

To-day Sept. 19. Y. P.

More than a month I have made no entries. Things are the same and the work has been advancing all the time. And it could advance still more as to form, but there is absolutely no time. Such an amount of work! A typist is making the final copy on a Remington. I have reached the 19th chapter, inclusive.

During this time the important thing was the expulsion of Boulanger.[219]

My work has been interrupted occasionally only by a letter to the Swedish papers about the Dukhobors[220] on the occasion of the Nobel prize.

Also ill health interrupted: a terrible boil on the cheek. I thought it was a cancer, and I am happy that it was not very unpleasant to think that: I am receiving a new appointment; one which in any case, isn’t slipping past me.

St. John was here.[221]

My work was interrupted also by the arrival of the Molokans from Samara—in reference to their children which were taken away.[222] I wanted to write abroad and even wrote a very violent, and what seemed to me, strong letter, but[149] changed my mind. It was not to be done before God. I have to try again.

To-day I wrote letters: to the Emperor,[223] to Olsuphiev,[224] to Heath,[225] and to E. I. Chertkov,[226] and saw the Molokans off.

I wanted to write from my notebooks, but it is late. I am going to bed.

Sept. 20. Yasn. P. If I live.

Sept. 20. Y. P.

Let me write even a few words. The boil still bothers me very much. I have no full liberté d’esprit. I wrote the Swedish letter to-day, and in the evening translated it into Swedish[227] with the Swede.

I am not writing from the notebook, but I will note that which entered my head with special vividness.

Our life is so arranged that all our care for ourselves, the use of our reason (our spiritual forces) for the care of ourselves, brings only unhappiness. And yet this egotism is necessary in order to live a separate life. That is His mysterious will. As soon as you live for yourself, you perish; when you live beyond yourself, there is peace and joy both for yourself and for others.

Sept. 20. Y. P. If I live.


To-day Sept. 22. Y. P.

... Yesterday I finished the translation with Langlet.

To-day I was busy with Art, but it didn’t go at all, and therefore the preceding did not please me.

S. arrived to-day.

At night I thought of the separation of lust from love, and that ether is a conception outside of the senses.

It is now past twelve in the morning. I am waiting for Ilya and Andrusha. I have just now written a letter to the editor of the Tagblatt Stockholm, and to Chertkov.

September 23. Y. P. If I live.

Oct. 2. Y. P.

I am working all the time on Art. The abscess is going away. I should have liked more peace. Yes ...

To-day Oct. 14. Y. P.

... I am still writing on art. To-day I corrected the 10th chapter. I cleared up the vague parts.

I must write out the notebooks; I am afraid I have forgotten much.

1) There is no greater prop for a selfish, peaceful life, than the occupation of art for art’s sake.[151] The despot, the villain, must inevitably love art. (I have jotted down something on this order, but I can’t recall it now.)

2) I imagined clearly to myself how joyous, peaceful, and fully free a life could be, if one gave oneself entirely to God, i.e., in every instance in life to seek only one thing: to do that which He wants—to do that in sickness, in offence, in humiliation, in suffering, in all temptations and in death—which would then be only a change in appointment. Weakness, the non-fulfilment of that which God wants—what happens then? Nothing: There is a return to the consciousness that only in its fulfilment is life. The moments of weakness—they are the intervals between the letters of life, not life. Father, help me.

3) I saw in my sleep how I think, I say, that the whole matter lies in making an effort, that very effort which is spoken of in the Gospels: “The Kingdom of God is attained by effort.” Everything that is good, everything that is real, every true act of life is accomplished through efforts; make no effort, swim with the current and you do not live. But, however, the ... doctrine preaches that effort is sin, it is pride, it is relying on one’s own strength: the lay doctrine says the same thing: effort by oneself is useless; organisation, surroundings do everything. What error! Effort is more important than anything.[152] Every least little bit of effort: the conquering of laziness, greed, lust, wrath, depression—is the most important of important things; it is the manifestation of God in life; it is Karma; it is the broadening of one’s “self.” Whatever had been marked off is guess work.[228]

4) Details for Hadji Murad: 1) The shadow of an eagle over the slope of a mountain; 2) at the river, on the sands, are tracks of horses, animals, people; 3) riding into the forest, the horses snort keenly; 4) from behind a clump of trees a goat jumped out.

5) When people are enthusiastic about Shakespeare, Beethoven, they are enthusiastic about their own thoughts, dreams, which are called forth by Shakespeare, Beethoven, just as people in love do not love the object of their love, but what it calls forth in them. In this enthusiasm, there is no true reality of art, but absolute boundlessness.

6) Only then can one understand and feel God when one has understood clearly the unreality of everything material.

7) Not long ago, in the summer, I felt God clearly for the first time; that He existed and that I existed in Him; and that the only thing that existed was I in Him: in Him, like a limited thing in an unlimited thing, in Him also like a limited being in which He existed.


(Horribly bad, unclear. But I felt it clearly and especially keenly for the first time in my life.)

In general, I don’t know why, but I haven’t the same religious feeling which I had when I formerly wrote my Journal for no one. The fact that it was read and that it can be read, kills this feeling. But the feeling was precious and helped me in life. I am going to begin anew from the present date, the 14th, to write again as before—so that no one will read it during my life time. If there will be thoughts worth it, I can write them out and send them to Chertkov.[229]

8) A man incapable of repentance has no salvation from his sins. Even if his sins are pointed out to him, he only gets angry at those who point them out, and a new sin is added.

9) All attempts to live on the land and feed oneself by one’s own labour have been unsuccessful, and could not help being unsuccessful in Russia, because it is necessary for a man of our education feeding himself by his own labour, to compete with the peasant—who fixes the prices, beating them down by his offer. But he was brought up for generations in stern life and stubborn work, while we were brought up for generations in luxurious life and idle laziness. From this it does not follow that one ought not to try to feed one’s self by one’s own labour, but only that it is impossible[154] to expect its realisation in the first generation.

10) All calamities which are born from sex relations, from being in love, come from this, that we confuse fleshly lust with spiritual life, with—terrible to say—love; we use our reason not to condemn and limit this passion, but to adorn it with the peacock feathers of spirituality. Here is where les extremes se touchent. To attribute every attraction between the sexes to sex desire seems very materialistic, but, on the contrary, it is the most spiritual point of view: to distinguish from the realm of the spiritual everything which does not belong to it, in order to be able to value it highly.

11) Everything that I know is the product of my senses. My senses demonstrate to me my limits, coming in contact with the limits of other beings. This sensation, or the knowledge of limits, we recognise and cannot recognise otherwise, than as matter. And in this matter we see either only matter or beings who like us are bound by limits. The beings near to us in size, from the elephant to the insect, we know—we know their limits. The beings that are far from us in size, like atoms or like the stars, we recognise as matter only. But besides these two kinds of beings which we know by our senses, we must inevitably acknowledge still other beings (not[155] spiritual beings like us,—that is obvious) not recognisable by our senses, but which are material, i.e., they also form limits. Such beings are atoms, ether. The presence of these beings, the admission of which is demanded by our reason, undoubtedly proves that our senses give us only a one-sided and a very limited knowledge of other beings and of the outer world. So that we can imagine for ourselves such beings endowed with such senses (sens) for whom ether would give the very same reality, as matter for us.

(It is still unclear, but understandable.)

12) If we would always remember that our tongue was given us for the transmission of our thoughts, and the capacity of thinking for the understanding of God and His law of love, and that therefore you must talk only then when you have something good to say! But when you cannot say anything good, cannot keep back the bad—then be silent, even all your life.

13) As soon as you have a disagreeable feeling towards a man, it means there is something you don’t know. And you ought to find out: you ought to find out the motives of that act which was disagreeable to you. And as soon as you have understood the motives clearly then it can anger you as little as a falling stone.

14) You get angry at a woman because she does not understand—or she understands, but[156] does not do that which her reason tells her. She is unable to do it. Just as a magnet acts on iron and does not act on wood, so are the conclusions of reason not binding on her—have no motor power. For her feeling is binding, and the conclusions of reasons are so only when they are transmitted by authorities, i.e., by the feeling of the desire not to remain behind others. So that she will not believe and will not follow an obvious demand of reason, if it be not confirmed by an authority; but she will believe and follow the greatest absurdity if only every one does it. She cannot do otherwise. But we get angry. There are also many men like that—womanish.

15) One has to serve others, not oneself, if only for the reason that in the serving of others there is a limit and therefore it is possible here to act rationally, build a house for him who is without, buy cattle, clothes; but in the serving of oneself there is no limit: the more you serve, the worse it is.

16) Time is only for the body: it is the relationship of beings with the various limits seen by us, to beings whose limits we do not see; to the movement of the sun, the moon, the earth, to the movement of the sands in the hour-glass. And therefore time is for that which we call the body, for that which has limits; but for that which has no limits: for the spiritual—there is no time.[157] Therefore you remember only those times in which you lived spiritually. (Unclear, but was clear.)

17) We suffer from ourselves, from the demands of our “self,” and we all know that the only means for not suffering from that “self,” is to forget it. And we seek forgetfulness in distractions, in occupations with art, science, in wine, in smoking—and there is no real forgetfulness. But God made it so that there should be only one real forgetfulness, one that is real and always at hand—in the care for others, in the serving of others.

But I forgot this and I live a terribly selfish life, and therefore I am unhappy.

18) I went past the out-houses. I remembered the nights that I spent there, and the youth and the beauty of Duniasha (I never had any relation with her), her strong, womanly body. Where is it? It has been long nothing but bones. What are those bones? What is their relation to Duniasha? There was a time when those bones formed a part of that separate being which had been Duniasha. Then this being changed its centre and that which had been Duniasha became a part of another being, enormous, inconceivable to me in magnitude, which I call earth. We do not know the life of the earth, and therefore we think it dead, just like an insect who lives one hour[158] thinks my body dead, because he does not see its movement.

19) Space is the relation of various limited beings among themselves. It exists. But time is only the relation of the movement of living beings among themselves, and the movement of matter which we consider dead.

20) The most horrible of all is intoxication: of wine, of games, of money greed, of politics, of art, of being in love. It is impossible to speak with such people as long as they haven’t slept it off. It is terrible.[230]

The letter to Stockholm has been printed.

Oct. 15. Y. P. If I live.

To-day Oct. 16. Y. P.

Did not write yesterday. My health is entirely improved.... From Olga Dieterichs, a letter from Chertkov. It is evident that as a result, he and she also have lived through difficult times.[231]

Last night and to-day, I wanted to write Hadji Murad. Began it. It has a semblance of something, but I did not continue it, because I was not in full mastery. I ought not to spoil it by forcing. Up to now the Peterburgskia Viedomosti has not printed it.[232]

I have noted:


1) I have noted many resolutions, rules, which if I could remember, I would live well. But the rules are too many, and it is impossible to remember them always. The same thing as to imitations of art: the rules are too many, and to remember them always is impossible; it ought to come from within, be guided by feeling. The same thing in life. If only you are touched by feeling, if you live in God, then you would not recede from a single rule and you would do more than is in the rules. If one could only always be in this state.

But to-day, just now, I was in the worst mood. I was angry with everything. What does it mean? How explain this state to oneself?

2) This explanation came to me: the soul, the spiritual essence, can live in its own centre or within its own limits. Living in itself, it is not conscious of its limits; living in the periphery it incessantly and painfully feels its limits. A release from this state is the recognition of the illusion of the material world, to go away from the limits, to concentrate in oneself. (Unclear.)

Oct. 17. Y. P. If I live.

Oct. 17. Y. P. 12 midnight.

... Help me, Lord, to act not according to my will, but according to Thine. Received a letter[160] from N about Beller and other ministers who preach the inconsistency of military service and Christianity,[233] and about Chertkov, that he was fussy, had sinned and had fallen ill.[234]

Am correcting the 10th chapter, it is about to be sent off.[235]... My letter was printed in the Peterburgskia Viedomosti.

I thought: The road of all evil and of all suffering is not so much ignorance as false knowledge—deception. The Appeal ought to be finished with an appeal for all to help towards the abolition of deception.

Oct. 18. Yasn. Pol. If I live.

Yesterday I made no notes; to-day Oct. 19. Y. P.

... Both yesterday and to-day I felt great apathy, although I was well. I don’t feel like working. Corrected Chapters 13, 14, 15. I received the re-copied chapters from Moscow and the conclusion. Yesterday I went to Yasenki. To-day I chopped wood and carried it. Novikov was here. Viacheslav[236] spent the night. To-day a letter from Boulanger. I want to write to him right away and to my wife. I ought to write to Salomon.

Solitude nevertheless is very pleasant.

Oct. 20. Y. P. If I live.


To-day Oct. 21. Y. P.

Received proof of the Carpenter article from Sieverni Viestnik and began to write a preface. Corrected Art, received letters from Chertkov and Boulanger.

Yesterday my work didn’t go. Went to Yasenki.

Just now, remaining alone after my work, I asked myself what I should do, and having no personal desire (except the bodily demands arising only when I want to eat or sleep) I felt so keenly the joy of the knowledge of the Will of God, that I need and want nothing but to do what He wants. This feeling arose as a result of the question which I myself put to myself when I remained alone in the silence: Who am I? Why am I? And the answer came so clearly by itself: No matter who and what I am, I have been sent by some one to do something. Well, let me do that work. And so joyously and so well did I feel my fusion with the Will of God.

This is my second live feeling for God. Then I simply felt love for God. At this moment, I cannot remember how it was; I only remember that it was a joyful feeling.

Oh, what happiness is solitude! To-day it is so good: you feel God.

Oct. 22. Y. P. If I live.


Oct. 22. Y. P.

I am writing in the evening. All day I did not feel like working. I slept badly.... I corrected the 11th chapter in the morning, in the evening I began the 12th. I was unable to do anything—there is a boil on my head and my feet perspire. Is it from the honey? Aphanasi[237] and Maria Alexandrovna were here.

It is evening now. I am alone and horribly sad. I have neither doubts nor hurts, but am sad and want to cry. Oh, I must prepare myself more, more, for the new appointment.

A letter from Grot;[238] I ought to give him “Concerning Art.”

Thought only this:

In childhood, youth, the senses (sens) are very definite, the limits are firm. The longer you live, the more and more do these limits become wiped out, the senses get dulled—there is established a different attitude towards the world.

Oct. 23. If I live.

Oct. 26. Y. P.

A very strange thing: It is the third day that I cannot write. Am displeased with everything that I have written. There is something new and very important for Art, but I cannot express it clearly in any way.


A letter from Vanderveer. It is now morning, will go to the post.

To-day Nov. 10. Y. P.

I have lived through much these two weeks. The work is still the same; I think I have finished it. To-day I have written letters and among them one to Grot to be set up in type. S was here, she left for Moscow from Pirogovo, where we went together. It was good there. Since I have come home, my back has ached and in the evening I have fever. Alexander Petrovich[239] is writing in the house....

To-day I wrote 9 letters. One letter to Khilkov,[240] remained. How terrible, his affair and condition. Mikhail Novikov was here and also a peasant-poet from Kazan.

Have been thinking:

1) The condition of people who are befogged by a false religion is just the same as in blindman’s-buff: they tie their eyes, then they take them by their arms, and then they turn them around and finally let them go. The same with everybody. Without this they do not let them go. (For The Appeal.)

2) The most usual judgment about Christianity, especially among the new Nietzschean reasoners, is that Christianity is a renunciation of dignity,[164] a weakness, a submissiveness. It is just the contrary. True Christianity demands above everything else the highest consciousness of dignity, a terrible strength and steadfastness. It is just the contrary: The admirers of strength ought to debase themselves before strength.

3) I walked in the village, and looked into the windows. Everywhere there was poverty and ignorance. And I thought of the former slavery. Formerly, the cause was to be seen, the chain which held them was to be seen; but now it is not a chain—in Europe they are hairs, but they are just as many as those which held Gulliver. With us the ropes are still to be seen, well—let us say the twine; and there there are hairs, but they hold so tightly that the giant-people cannot move.

There is one salvation: not to lie down, not to fall asleep. The deception is so strong and so adroit that you often see that those very people which it sucks and ruins, defend the vampires with passion and attack those who are against them....

November 11, Y. P. If I live.

November 11, Y. P.

Since morning I have been writing Hadji Murad—and nothing has come of it. But it is becoming clear in my head and I feel like writing[165] very much. I wrote a letter to Khilkov and to others, but I shall hardly send the one to Khilkov. Maria Alexandrovna was here. My health is entirely good.

November 12, Y. P. If I live.

November 12, Y. P.

To-day Peter Ossipov came:[241] “In our place they have begun to sell indulgences.” The Vladimir-ikon was there and it was ordered through the village elder, that the people be driven to the Church.[242]

N. found ore and considers it very natural that people shall live under the ground, in danger of their lives, and he will receive the income.

... The most important thing is that I have decided to write The Appeal; there is no time to postpone it. To-day I corrected On Science. It is evening now, have taken up two versions of The Appeal, and am going to work on it.

Nov. 14, Y. P.

... One thing I want: To do what is better before God. I don’t know how yet. I slept badly at night; bad thoughts, wicked ones. And I am apathetic, no desire to work. Corrected the preface On Science.

I made the following notes:


1) I read of the behavior of the English in Africa. It is all terrible. But the thought came to my head: Perhaps it was unavoidably necessary in order that enlightenment should penetrate these peoples. At first I was absorbed in the thought and it occurred to me that thus it had to be done. What nonsense! Why should not people, living a Christian life, go in simply like Miklukha-Maklai,[243] live with them, but is it necessary to trade, make drunkards of them, kill? They say: “If people were to live as Christians, they would have no work.” Here is the work and it is an enormous work: while the Gospels are being preached to all creation.

2) Science, losing its religious basis, has begun to study trifles—in the main, it has ceased to study important things. From that time on was formed the theory of experimental science, Bacon.

3) I was thinking, pendant to Hadji Murad, of writing about another Russian brigand, Gregori Nicholaev. He should see the whole lawlessness of the life of the rich, he should live as a watchman of an apple-orchard on a rich estate with a lawn-tennis.[244]

4) To-day I am in a very bad mood, and it is very difficult for me to remember, to imagine to myself what I am when I am in a good mood. But it is absolutely necessary, so as not to despair and not do something bad when in a bad mood,[167] to abstain from every activity. Is it not the same in life? One ought not to believe that I am this good-for-nothing which I feel myself to be, but to make an effort, remember what I am there, what I am in spirit, and live according to that remembered “self,” or do not live at all—abstain.

5) “Toute réunion d’hommes est toujours inférieure aux éléments qui la composent.[245] This is so because they are united by rules. In their own natural union, as God has united them, they are not only not lower, but many times higher.

I read Menshikov’s article. There is much that is good in it: about one-God and many Gods, and much that is very weak; the examples.[246]

Nov. 15, Y. P. If I live.

Nov. 15, Y. P.

I worked badly on the preface to Carpenter. After dinner, in the blizzard, I went to Yasenki. Took Tania’s letter. Returned—and here for the first time I knew prostration. Then drank tea—recovered. Read but did nothing. Wrote a letter only to Maude in answer to his remarks.[247]

I thought this trifle: that love is only good then when you are not conscious of it. It suffices to be conscious of the love, and moreover to rejoice in it—and there is an end to it.


Nov. 16, Y. P. If I live.

To-day, Nov. 17. Y. P.

For the second day, I have been thinking with special clearness about this:

1) My life, my consciousness of my personality, gets weaker and weaker all the time, will become still weaker and will end in coma, and in an absolute end of the consciousness of my personality. At the same time, absolutely simultaneously and in the same tempo with the destruction of my personality, that thing will begin to live, and will live ever stronger and stronger, that which my life made, the results of my thought, feelings; it is living in other people, even in animals, in dead matter. And so I feel like saying that this is what will live after me.

But all this lacks consciousness, and therefore I cannot say that it lives. But who said that it lacked consciousness? Why can I not suppose that all this will be united in a new consciousness which I can justly call my consciousness, because it is all made from my consciousness? Why cannot this other new being live among these things which live now? Why not suppose that all of us are particles of consciousness of other higher beings, such as we are going to be?

“My Father has many dwellings.”[248] Not in the sense that there are various places, but that[169] the various consciousnesses, personality, are inter-enclosed and interwoven one into the other. In fact, the whole world as I know it, with its space and time, is a product of my personality, my consciousness. As soon as there is another personality, another consciousness, then there is an entirely different world, the elements of which are formed by our personalities. Just as when I was a child, my consciousness awoke little by little (which made it so that even when a child, an embryo, I saw myself as a separate being), so it will awake and is awakening now—in the consequences of my life, in my future “self” after my death.

“The Church is the body of Christ.”[249] Yes, Christ, in his new consciousness, lives now through the life of all the living and dead and all the future members of the Church. And in the same way each one of us will live through his own church. And even the most valueless man will have his own valueless and perhaps bad church, but a church which will create his new body. But how? This is what we cannot imagine, because we cannot imagine anything which is beyond our consciousness. And there are not many dwellings, but many consciousnesses.

But here is the last, most terrible, insoluble problem: What is it for? For what is this movement, this passing over from some lower,[170] more separate consciousnesses, into a more common, higher one? For what—that is a mystery which we cannot know. It is for this that God is necessary and faith in Him. Only He knows it and one must have faith that so it ought to be.

2) And again I thought to-day, entirely unexpectedly, about the charm—exactly the charm—of awakening love, when against the background of joyous, pleasant, sweet relationships, that little star suddenly begins to shine. It is like the perfume of the linden or the falling shadow from the moon. There is no full-blown blossom yet, no clear light and shadow, but there is a joy and fear of the new, of the charming. This is good, but only when it is for the first time and the last.

3) And again I thought about that illusion which all are subjected to, especially people whose activity is reflected on others—the illusion that, having been accustomed to see the effects of your acts on others, you verify the correctness of your acts by their effect on others.

4) I thought still further: For hypnotism it is necessary to have faith in the importance of that which is being suggested (the hypnotism of all artistic delusions). And for this faith, it is necessary to have ignorance and cultivation of credulence.


To-day I corrected the preface to Carpenter. Received a telegram from Grot. I want to send off the 10th chapter. A sad letter from Boulanger.

Well, Nov. 18, Y. P. If I live.

To-day, Nov. 20. Evening.

Wrote the preface to Carpenter. Thought much about Hadji Murad and got my materials ready. I still haven’t found the tone.

... I think with horror of the trip to Moscow.[250]

Last night I thought about my old triple remedy for sorrow and offence:

1) To think how unimportant it will be in 10, 20 years, just as is unimportant now that which tortured you 10, 20 years ago.

2) To remember what you did yourself, to remember those deeds which were no better than those which are hurting you.

3) To think of that which is a hundred times worse, and might be.

This could be added; to think out the condition, the soul of the man who makes you suffer, to understand that he cannot act in any other way. Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner.

The most important and the strongest and the surest of all is to say to oneself: Let there not be my will, but Thine, and not as I wish but as[172] Thou wilt; and not that which I wish but that which Thou wilt. My work, then, is under those conditions in which Thou hast placed me, to fulfil Thy Will. To remember that when it is difficult, it is just this very thing which has been assigned to you, it is the very instance which will not be repeated, in which you may have the happiness of doing that which He wishes.

Father, help me to do only Thy Will.


To-day I corrected the Carpenter translation. My stomach is not good; bad mood and weakness.

Nov. 21, Y. P. If I live.

Nov. 21, Y. P.

I am still thinking and gathering material for Hadji Murad. To-day I thought much, read, began to write but stopped at once. Went to Yasenki, took S’s letter.[251] Received nothing.

Maria Alexandrovna was here. She is evidently tired, a poor girl and nice.[252]

I thought and noted down:

1) I thought about death—how strange it is that one does not want to die, although nothing holds one—and I thought of prisoners who have become so at home in their prisons that they do not want to leave them for freedom and are even[173] afraid to. And so we have become at home in the prison of our life and are afraid of freedom.

2) We have been sent here to do the work of God. In this sense, how good is the parable about the servants who in the absence of their master, squander his fortune away instead of doing his work.

3) When you are angry, when you do not love some one, know that it is not you, but a dream, a nightmare, a most horrible nightmare. As when they stop mowing in order not to spoil the grass, so it is here. One ought to pray.

Rozanov discusses Menshikov and makes fun of him.[253] How ... (I have forgotten) made fun of Nicholai, but he remained silent and smiled at me gaily. How touching this always is.

Nov. 22, Y. P. If I live.

Nov. 22, Y. P.

I saw very clearly in a dream, how Tania fell from a horse, has broken her head, is dying, and I cry over her.

Nov. 24, Y. P.

... Yesterday and to-day I prepared some chapters to send them off to Maude[254] and to Grot. There have been no letters for a long time either from Maude, or from Chertkov. To-day[174] there was a nice letter from Galia. Exquisite weather; I took a walk far on the Tula road.

In the morning I worked seriously revising Art. Yesterday I worked on Hadji Murad. It seems clear.

During this time I thought:

1) What a strange fate: at adolescence—anxieties, passions begin, and you think: I will marry and it will pass. And indeed it did pass with me, and for a long period, 18 years, there was peace. Then there comes the striving to change life and again the set-back. There is struggle, suffering, and at the end, something like a haven and a rest. But yet it wasn’t so. The most difficult has begun and continues and probably will accompany me unto death....

2) It would be easy to treat erring people mildly, simply, patiently, with compassion, if these people would not argue and would not argue in such a truth-like fashion. One has to answer these arguments somehow or other, and this you cannot stand.

3) Each of us is in such a condition that whether he wants to or does not want to, he has to do something, to work. Every one of us is on the treadmill. The question lies only in this, on which step will you stand?

Nov. 25. Y. P. If I live.


Nov. 25, Y. P.

... Corrected Art, it is pretty good; wrote a letter to Maude. A good letter from Galia.

Have been thinking:

1) It always seems to us that we are loved because we are good, but it does not occur to us that we are loved because they who love us are good. This can be seen if you listen to what that miserable, disgusting and vain man says whom with a great effort you have pitied: he says that he is so good you could not have acted otherwise. The same thing, when you are loved.

2) “Lobsters like to be boiled alive.” That is no joke. How often do you hear it, or have said it yourself or are saying it: Man has the capacity of not seeing the suffering which he does not want to see. And he does not want to see the suffering which he himself causes. How often I have heard it said about coachmen who are waiting, about cooks, lackeys, peasants at their work, that they are having a good time—“Lobsters like to be boiled alive.”

Nov. 26. Y. P. If I live.

To-day, Nov. 28, Y. P.

Two days I haven’t written. I am still busy with Art and the preface to Carpenter....

This morning Makovitsky arrived, a nice, mild, clean man. He told me many joyful things about[176] our friends. I went to Yasenki: a letter from Maude, a good one, and from Grot—not a good one.[255]

All these days, have not been in a good mood. How to be in Moscow in such a state?

Have been thinking:

1) Often it happens that you are speaking to a man and suddenly he has a tender, happy expression, and he begins to speak to you in such a way that you think he is going to tell you something most joyful, but it turns out—he is speaking about himself. Zakharnin[256] about his operation, Mashenka[257] about her audience with Father Ambrose[258] and his words.

When a man speaks about something which is very near to him, he forgets that the other one is not he. If people do not speak about abstract or spiritual things, they all speak necessarily about themselves, and that is terribly tedious.

2) You dash about, struggle—all because you want to swim in your own current. But alongside of you, unceasing and near to every one, there flows the divine and infinite current of love, in one and the same eternal course. When you are thoroughly exhausted in your attempts to do something for yourself, to save yourself, to secure yourself—then drop all your own courses, throw yourself into that current—and it will carry you[177] and you will feel that there are no barriers, that you are at peace forever and free and blessed.

3) Only not to love oneself, one’s very self, one’s own Leo Nicholaievich (Tolstoi)—and you will love both God and people. You are on fire and you can’t help but burn; and burning you will set fire to others and you will fuse with that other fire. To love oneself means to be niggardly with one’s light and to put out the fire.

4) When a man says an obvious untruth or an offence to you, then certainly he doesn’t do it from joy: and both are very difficult. If he does it then evidently he can’t do otherwise, and doing it, he suffers. And you, instead of pitying him, get angry at him. On the contrary, you ought to try to help him.

5) The tragedy of a man kindly disposed, wishing only the good, when in this state and for this state, which he cannot help but count as good, he meets hissing malice and the hatred of people.

Nov. 28. If I live. Y. P.

To-day, Dec. 2. Y. P.

Agonising, sad, depressed state of body and spiritual force, but I know that I am alive and independent of this condition, yet I feel this “self” but little....

I was busied all this time with corrections and[178] additions to Art. The principal thing during this time, was that Dushan was here whom I love very much and learned to love still more. Together with the Slavonian Posrednik, he is forming a center of a small, but I think divine work.[259] From Chertkov there is still no news.

An anguish, a soft, mild, sweet anguish, but yet an anguish. If I were without the consciousness of life, then probably I would have had an embittered anguish.

Have been thinking:

1) I was very depressed at the fear of vexation and severe conflicts, and I prayed God—prayed almost without expecting aid, but nevertheless I prayed: “Lord, help me to go away from this. Release me.” I prayed like this, then rose, walked to the end of the room and suddenly I asked myself: Have I not to yield? Yes, to yield. And God helped—God who is in me, and I felt light-hearted and firm. I entered that divine current which flows there alongside of us always and to which we can always give ourselves when things are bad.[260]

2) I had a talk with Dushan. He said that since he has become involuntarily my representative in Hungary, then how was he to act. I was glad for the opportunity to tell him and to clarify it to myself that to speak about Tolstoyanism, to seek my guidance, to ask my decision on problems,[179] is a great and gross mistake. There is no Tolstoyanism and has never been, nor any teaching of mine; there is only one eternal, general, universal teaching of the truth, which for me, for us, is especially clearly expressed in the Gospels. This teaching calls man to the recognition of his filiality to God and therefore of his freedom or his slavery (call it what you want): of his freedom from the influence of the world, of his slavery to God, His will. And as soon as man understands this teaching, he enters freely into direct communication with God and he has nothing and no one to ask.

It is like a man swimming in a river with an enormous overflow. As long as the man isn’t in the middle current, but in the overflow, he has to swim himself, to row, and here he can be guided by the course taken in swimming by other people. Here also I could direct people while I myself approach the current. But as soon as we enter the current, then there is no guide and cannot be. We are all carried along by the strength of the current, all in one direction, and those who were behind can be in front. When a man asks where shall he swim, that only shows that he has not yet entered the current and that he from whom he asks, is a poor guide if he were unable to bring him into the current, i.e., to that state in which it is impossible—because it is senseless—[180]to ask. How ask where to swim, when the current with irresistible force is drawing me in a direction that is joyous to me?

People who submit themselves to a guide, who have faith in him and listen to him, undoubtedly wander in the dark together with their guide.

I think I have finished Art.

Dec. 3. Y. P. If I live.

My work on Art has cleared up much for me. If God commands me to write artistic things, they will be altogether different ones. And to write them it will be both easier and more difficult. We shall see.

To-day, Dec. 6, Moscow.

On the 4th I went to Dolgoe.[261] I had a very tender impression from the ruined house; a swarm of memories.

Almost two days that I haven’t written. I only prepared the chapters on Art and packed my things ... I have jotted down nothing. I woke feeling badly.

Dec. 7, Moscow.

... I was at Storozhenko’s.[262] Kasatkin was here[263] in the evening. I asked for examples. In the morning I corrected Art.

I jotted down nothing: there is much bustle. Health good.

Dec. 8, Moscow. If I live.


To-day, 11th.

I have already spent so many days in Moscow. I have done almost nothing, only corrected Art. A pile of people and letters. Thank God the most important is good, i.e., I have done nothing that I ought not to have done. To-day I wrote a letter to Gali.

It seems to me that the divisions of Art have turned out just as they were before.

A sad impression was produced by what N told about Chertkov[264] and by the letter of Ivan Michailovich. Moreover, A, B, C, D,—they are all suffering. Well, it is forgivable in them, but how can a Christian suffer?

During this time N N’s condition became clear. He is mentally diseased, like all people who are non-Christians.

I have consented to give to Troubetskoi by instalments.[265]

A sad letter from Chertkov. I want to write to him.

Dec. 12, Moscow. If I live.

To-day, the 13th. Morning.

I wrote a letter to the Chertkovs. It seems to me I have corrected the 16th chapter very well.

Yesterday I read the correspondence of Z on the sex-problem and I was very indignant and I spoke disagreeably to him at Rusanov’s.


Rusanov has the head of Hadji Murad. This morning I wanted to write Hadji Murad—I lost the outline.

I wrote down something. I now want to write out the themes which are worth while and which can be treated as they ought to be:

1) Sergius, 2) Alexander I, 3) Persianninov, 4) the tale of Petrovich—the husband, who died a pilgrim. The following are worse: 5) the legend of the descent of Christ into hell and the reconstruction of hell, 6) a forged coupon, 7) Hadji Murad, 8) the substituted child, 9) the drama of the Christian resurrection and perhaps 10) Resurrection—the trial of a prostitute, 11) (excellent) a brigand killing the defenceless, 12) a mother, 13) an execution in Odessa.[266]

It is depressing in the house, but I want to be and will be joyous.

I am going to write out only two things:

1) That the physical union with an accidental husband is one of the means established by God for the spread of His truth: for the testing and the strengthening of the stronger and for the enlightenment of the weaker.

2) For people professing filiality to God, not to rejoice in life, to yearn, is a dreadful sin, an error. If you understood that the end of life is the activity for God for no personal ends, then nothing could hinder this activity, could hold it[183] back. The main thing is that life willy-nilly goes forward to the better: one’s own life and the life of the world. How not rejoice at this movement? One has only to remember that life is movement.

I write and I sleep and therefore express myself badly. Until evening, if I live.

To-day, December 14, Moscow. Morning.

Yesterday I received an unpleasant letter from Chertkov and sent him an answer (about the publications).[267]

The day before yesterday, I read the correspondence of Z about sex relations and became vexed and went to the Rusanovs’ and met Z there and showed my condemnation of him sharply. That tortured me and I wrote him a note yesterday apologising and I received a nice answer which touched me.

I feel very ill. I am in the worst mood and therefore am dissatisfied with everything and cannot love. And just now am thinking:

We find sickness a burden; but sickness is a necessary good condition of life. Only it alone (perhaps not alone, but one of the most important and generally common conditions) prepares us for death, i.e., for our crossing over into another life. Therefore indeed it was sent to every one: to children, to adults, to old people, because all, at all[184] ages, die. And we find it burdensome. The fact that we find sickness burdensome shows only that we do not live as we ought to: both a temporary and at the same time an eternal life—but we live only a temporary life.

Sickness is the preparation for the crossing-over and therefore to grumble against sickness is just the same as grumbling against cold and rain. One ought to make use of them and not grumble. In fact, only those who live playing, get angry at the rain, but those who live seriously rejoice at it. The same with sickness. More than this: not only sickness but a bad mood, disappointment, sorrows, all these help to detach oneself from the worldly and facilitate the crossing-over into the new life.

I am now in such a state of crossing-over.

Evening, the 14th.

The whole day I have been ill and I am in the worst mood. I cannot master myself and everything is disagreeable and burdensome. I did nothing. I read and talked.

Dec. 15, Moscow. If I live.

To-day, December 17.

To-day, I am still in the very worst spirits. I am struggling with ill-will. I gave the essay away.[268] Telegraphed to England. No answer as yet.[269]


A pile of people here, all evening. To-day I wrote twelve letters, but did not work at all.

To-day I thought the very oldest thing: That one ought to perfect oneself in love, in which no one can interfere and which is very interesting. But love is not in exclusive attachments, but in a good, not in an evil attitude to every living being.

Wrote letters: 1) Posha, 2) Masha, 3) Ivan Michailovich, 4) Prince Viazemsky, 5) Bondarev, 6) Strakhov, 7) the school teacher Robinson, 8) Priest, 9) Crosby, 10) Chizhov,[270] 11) Nicholaev in Kazan, and 12) ——[271]

I am finishing the note-book in a bad mood. To-morrow I begin a new one. To-day I am also displeased with the essay on art.

The diary of the year 1897, Dec. 21, ’97. Moscow.

I am beginning a new notebook, almost in a new spiritual mood. Here are already 5 days that I have done nothing. I am thinking out Hadji Murad, but I have no desire or confidence. On Art is printed. Chertkov is displeased and those here also.[272]

Yesterday I received an anonymous letter with a threat to kill, if I do not reform by the year 1898; time is given only up to 1898. I was both uneasy and pleased.[273]


I am skating. A sign of an inactive mood is that I have noted down nothing.

Just now I read through Chekhov’s, On a Cart. Excellent in expressiveness, but rhetorical as soon as he wants to give meaning to his story. There is a remarkable clearness in my mind, thanks to my book on art.

Dec. 26, ’97. Moscow.

The day before yesterday I fell ill and I am still not well.[274] I am reading much. My heart is heavy. Evening.

Dec. 27, ’97. Moscow. If I live.

To-day, Dec. 29, ’97. Moscow. Morning.

I thought of Hadji Murad. All day yesterday a comedy-drama, “The Corpse,”[275] took shape. I am still unwell. Yesterday I was at Behrs’.[276]

I have received letters with threats of killing. I regret that there are people who hate me, but it interests me little and it doesn’t disturb me at all.

Have jotted down something.

A conversation with N: what a pitiable youth: understanding everything and at the same time not having the capacity to put anything in the right place and therefore he is living in unimaginable confusion.

Have been thinking:

1) They say usually that Christ’s teaching, the[187] real Christ’s teaching ... destroys all union, that it is a disuniting “individualism.” How false this is! Christianity only therefore preaches personal salvation, “individualism,” as they say, because this personal salvation is indispensable, accessible, joyous to all, and therefore inevitably unites people—not mechanically by the pressure of force from without or by stirring with “culture,” but chemically by an inner, indissoluble union.

2) Sometimes you complain that they do not love your soul, but love or do not love your body, and you are angry at them, condemning them, but you do not see that they cannot do otherwise: for them your soul, the holy of holies of your soul, that which—as you know—is the only real thing, the only thing that acts—is nothing, because it is invisible, like the chemical rays of the spectrum.

3) There are people, mainly women, for whom the word is only the means for an attainment of an end, and it is entirely devoid of its fundamental significance which is to be an expression of reality. These people are sometimes terribly strong. Their advantage is like that which a man would have who in fencing took off the cork from the rapier. His adversaries are bound by conditions that ... No, the comparison is not good. The best of all: they are like a gambler in cards, a sharper. I will find one.


The examples of this are such: a man wants, for instance, to steal; he takes other people’s money; he says that he was charged to do it, they asked him to, and he believes that he was asked to. And the proof of the untruth of his evidence he refutes with a new lie. He kills: the murdered one suffered so, that he begged him to kill him. He wants to do something nasty or something foolish. Well, to turn all the furniture upside down or to debauch—and he explains in detail, how it was recognised by doctors, that it was necessary to do this periodically, etc. And he convinces himself that it is so. But when this proves to be not so, he does not hear, he brings forth his own arguments and then at once forgets both his own arguments and other people’s. These people are terrible, horrible.

4) The spiritualists say that after death the soul of people lives on and communicates with them. Soloviev, the father,[277] said truly, I remember, that this is the Church dogma of saints, of their intercession and of prayers to them. Evgenie Ivanovich also said truly that as the Pashkov Sect is a taking out of the dogma of the Redemption alone and the adaptation of everything to it, so spiritualism is the taking out of the dogma of saints, and the adaptation of everything to it.

5) But I say the following in regard to this dogma of the soul: What we call the soul, is the[189] divine, spiritual, limited in us in our bodies. Only the body limits this divine, this spiritual. And it is this limiting which gives it a form like a vessel gives form to a liquid or a gas which is enclosed in it. But we only know this form. Break the vessel and that which is enclosed in it will cease to have that form which it has and will spread out, be carried off. Whether it combines with other matter, whether it receives a new form—we know nothing about this, but we know for a fact that it loses that form which it had when it was limited, because that which limited it was destroyed. The same with the soul. The soul after death ceases to be the soul and remaining a spirit, a divine essence, becomes something other, such that we cannot judge.

I wrote the preface to Chertkov.[278]

Dec. 30. Moscow. If I live.




Two days have passed. Jan. 1st.

I meet the new year very sad, depressed, unwell. I cannot work and my stomach aches all the time.

Received a letter from Verkholensk from Phedoseev about the Dukhobors, a very touching one.[279]

Still another letter from the editor The Adult about free love.[280] If I had time, I would like to write about this subject. Probably I shall write. The most important is to show that the whole matter lies in appropriating to oneself possibilities of the greatest enjoyment without thinking of consequences. Besides, they preach something which already exists and is very bad. Why would the absence of outer restraint[281] improve the whole thing? I am, of course, against any regulation and for full freedom, but the ideal is chastity and not pleasure.

I have been thinking during this time only one thing and it seems an important thing, namely:

1) We all think that our duty, our vocation, is to do various things: bring up children, make a[194] fortune, write a book, discover a law in science, etc. But for all the work is only one thing: to carry out one’s own life—to act so that life would be a harmonious, good, and rational matter. And the work ought to be not before people, to leave behind one a memory of a good life, but the work is before God: to present to Him oneself, one’s soul, better than it was, nearer to Him, more submissive to Him, more in harmony with Him.

To think so—and principally to feel so—is very difficult: One always wanders off for human praise. But it is possible and ought to be done.

Help me, Lord. I sometimes feel this and do at this moment.

Jan. 2. Moscow. If I live.

To-day, already the 4th.

I am a little better. I want to work. Yesterday Stasov and Repine,[282] coffee.... When will I remember that much talk is much bother?

I received a pamphlet uncensored.

Only one thing has to be noted down: that all life is senseless, except that which has for its end the service of God, the service of the fulfilment of the work of God, which is unattainable to us. I shall write that out later. Now I am in a hurry.

Dear Masha arrived, later Tania with Sasha.[283]

Jan. 5. Moscow. If I live.


To-day, Jan. 13.

It is more than a week that I haven’t written and I have done almost nothing. I have been ill all the time, and depressed. At times, I am good and calm, and at times uneasy and not good. The day before yesterday was difficult. Then the peasants arrived: Bulakhov, with St., Pet., and two from Tula. I felt so light-hearted and energetic. One need not yield to one’s own circle, one can always enter the circle of God and His people.

It is long since I have been so depressed. A letter from Posha. Wrote to Posha, Ivan Michailovich, Chertkov, Maude and Boulanger.

I am still endeavouring to find a satisfactory form for Hadji Murad and I still haven’t it, although it seems I am nearing it.

... To-day a telegram about the work, “What is Art?

Have made some notes and I think important ones.

1) Something of enormous importance and ought to be expounded well. Organisation, every kind of organisation, which frees from any kind of human, personal, moral duties. All the evil in the world comes from this. They flog people to death, they debauch, they becloud their minds and no one is to blame. In the tale of the resurrection of hell, this is the most important and new means.[284]


2) Each one of us is that light, that divine essence, love, the Son of God, enclosed in a body, in limits, in the coloured lantern which we have painted with our passions and habits—so that everything we see, we see only through this lantern. To raise oneself so as to see above it, is impossible; on top there is the same kind of glass through which we see even God, through the glass which we ourselves have painted. The only thing which we can do is not to look through the glasses, but to concentrate in ourselves, recognise our light and kindle it. And this is the one salvation from the delusions of life, from its suffering, from its temptations. And this is joyful and always possible.

I do this, and it is good.

3) Dreams—they are nothing else than the looking on the world not through the glasses, but only on the glasses, and on the interweaving of various designs interwoven on the glasses. In sleep you only see the glasses; when awake, the world, through the glasses.

4) A woman can, when she loves a man, see merits in him which he has not, but when she is indifferent, she is unable to see a man’s merits other than through the opinion of others. (However, I think it is untrue.)

5) The following when I wrote it, seemed to me very important:


Christians strive to a union, and unite among themselves and with other people by the Christian tool—by unity, humility, love. But there are people who do not know this means of union, do not believe in it and who endeavour to unite (all people endeavour to unite) with other means, outer ones, with force, threats. It is impossible to demand of these people who do not know, who cannot understand the Christian means of union, that they do not make use of their means; but it is absolutely unjust and unreasonable when these un-Christian people impose their own lower means of union upon people knowing and using a higher means. They say, “You Christians, you profit by our means; if you have not been robbed and killed, it is thanks to us.” To this the Christians answer, that they don’t need anything which force gives them (as is really the fact for a Christian).

And that is why, though it is legitimate for people not knowing a higher means of union, to use a lower, it is illegitimate, that they look upon their own lower means as a general and unique one, and want to compel those for whom it cannot be necessary to use it. The principal step before humanity now consists in this, that people should not only recognise and admit the means of Christian union, but that they should recognise that it is the highest, the one to which all humanity is striving and to which it will inevitably reach.


6) When you are full of energy, then you live, and you ought to live for this world; when you are sick, then you are dying, i.e., you begin to live for that other after-death world. So that in either phase, there is work. When you are sick, dying, then concentrate in yourself and think about death and about life after death, and stop longing for this one. Both processes are normal and in both there exists work proper to each state.

I feel somewhat fresher spiritually.

Jan. 14, Moscow. If I live.

To-day, 18.

My health is a little better. It is now evening. Wrote letters, 1) Chertkov; 2) Dubrovin; 3) Dubrovsky; Tver; 4) Tula: N. l. Kh.; 5) Nakashidze; 6) Ivan Michailovich.

To-day the plot of Hadji Murad became clearer than ever before.

Jan. 19. Moscow.

Depressing and unproductive. I cannot work. Several times a week I remember that everything disagreeable is only an Ermahnung for an advance onward towards perfection.

Help, Father. Come and dwell within me. You already dwell within me. You are already “me.” My work is only to recognise Thee. I[199] write this just now and am full of desire. But nevertheless I know who I am.

To-day, Feb. 2. Moscow.

Very weak and apathetic. All the time I either read or corrected proofs of Art. There is much to be noted. But I have neither strength nor desire. There have been no events, no letters.

Feb. 3, Moscow. If I live.

February 3, Moscow.

I am still as unproductive intellectually. In the morning it flashed across my mind that I left out the places in Art about the trinity, and doing no work, I went to Grot and from there to the publishing house. I returned past two, read, lay down, dined. Tarovat[285] arrived, then Menshikov, Popov, Gorbunov, and then—Gulenko,[286] Suller.[287]

Read Liapunov’s The Ploughman. I was very touched.[288]

Have noted down the following:

1) In moments of depression I want to ask help from God. And I may ask it. But only such help which might help me and not interfere with any one else. And such help is only one thing: love. Every other kind of help, material help, not only might, but must come in conflict[200] with the material good of others. Only love alone—the enlargement of love in oneself—satisfies everything which one can want and does not come in conflict with the good of others. “Come and dwell within us.

2) Women do not use words to express their thoughts, but to attain their ends, and it is this purpose they hunt in the words of others. That is why they so often understand people wrong side out. And this is very disagreeable.

3) The meaning of life is only one: self-perfection—the bettering of one’s soul. “Be perfect like our Father in Heaven.”

When things are difficult, when something tortures you, remember that in life, only you are the life—and immediately it will become easier. And joyful. As a rich man rejoices when he gathers his wealth, so will you rejoice if you place your life only in this. And for the attainment of this, there are no barriers. Everything which appears like sorrow, like a barrier in life—is a wide step which offers itself to your feet that you may ascend.

4) If you have the strength of activity then let it be a loving one; if you have no strength, if you are weak, then let your weakness be a loving one.

5) Inorganic matter is simply the life of that which we do not understand. For fleas the inorganic[201] is my finger-nail. In the same way, evil is the non-understood good.[289]

6) To serve God and man, but how, with what? Perhaps the possibility doesn’t exist? It is not true: the possibility has always been given you—to become better.

7) Man is an ambassador, as Christ said, an ambassador indeed for whom the important thing is only to fulfil the errand given to him, and it doesn’t matter what is thought about him. Let them think badly—sometimes it is necessary. Only let the errand be fulfilled.

8) One of the most common errors consists in this, that people are considered good, malicious, stupid, intelligent. Man flows on and every possibility is in him: he was stupid, and has become intelligent; he was wicked and has become good, and the reverse. In this is the greatness of man. And therefore it is impossible to judge man as he is. You have judged and he is already another. It is impossible to say—I do not love him: you have said it and he is already another.

9) ...

10) The fact that the end of life is self-perfection, that the perfection of the immortal soul is the only end of the life of man, is already true because every other end in the view of death, is senseless.

11) If man deliberates upon the consequences[202] of his act, then the motives of his act are not religious.

12) The paper-knife on my knees fell over on account of its weight, and it seemed to me that it was something alive, and I shuddered. Why? Because there is a duty to everything living and I grew frightened lest I hadn’t fulfilled it, and lest I had crushed, squeezed a living being.

13) ... In this lies the whole matter—to destroy this hypnosis.

14) It is impossible not to wish that our acts be known and approved. For him who has no God, it is necessary that his acts be known and approved. But for him who has God, it is sufficient that they be known. By this can it be verified if a man has God.

4th Feb. Moscow. If I live.

To-day, the 5th. Morning.

I do not feel like writing at all. All these last days, especially yesterday, I have been feeling and applying to life, the consciousness that the end of life is one: to be perfect like the Father, to do that which He does, that which He wants from us, i.e., to love; that love should guide us in the moments of our most energetic activity, and that we breathe with it alone in the moments of our greatest weakness. Whenever there is something[203] difficult, painful, then it suffices to remember this, and all this difficulty, this pain, will vanish and only the joyous will remain.

To a man who seriously, truly uses his reason, it is obvious that all ends are closed to him. One alone is reasonable: to live for the satisfaction of the demands of God, of his conscience, of his higher nature. (It is all the same thing.) If this is to be expressed in time, then to live so as to prepare one’s soul to the passing-over into a better world: if this is to be expressed accurately in terms outside of time, then it is to fuse one’s life with its timeless principle, with the Good, with Love, with God. I am afraid only of one thing, that this strong consciousness acting beneficially on me, that the only thing reasonable and free and joyous is the life in God, be not calloused, that it do not lose its effect of lifting me out of the petty annoyances of life, and of freeing me. Oh, if that could be so to every one and if it could be so forever! In this light last night I considered the various manifestations of life and I felt so well and joyous. I will await the examination. I shall prepare for it.

When I wrote out the notes, I forgot:

1) How absurd is the argument of the enemies of moral perfection, that a man, sacrificing himself really, will sacrifice his perfection for the good of others, i.e., that a man is ready to become evil,[204] in order to act well. If one understands by this that a man is ready to act badly before people, if only he could thereby fulfil the demands of his conscience and not serve a certain cause or even certain people, then this is true. The serving of a cause and of people can sometimes coincide, and can sometimes not coincide with the demands of conscience; and not serving a certain cause or people, can sometimes coincide and can sometimes not coincide with the demands of conscience. These are individual cases.

2) To doubt that the source of all evil is false religious teaching, can only be done by a man who hasn’t thought of the causes of the daily manifestations of social life. The causes of all these manifestations are thoughts—thoughts of people. How then could false thoughts not have an enormous influence on the social system? People, some of them, are well off in a false system based on false thoughts; it is natural that they support false thoughts, false-religious teaching.

3) I cannot write and I suffer, I force myself. How stupid! As if life lay in writing. It does not even lie in any outer activity. It is not as I will, but as Thou wilt. It is even fuller and more significant without writing. And here now I am learning to live without writing. And I am able to.

4) I see that I have made a note and have already[205] said it here, namely, that to perfect oneself does not mean to prepare oneself for a future life[290] (that is said for convenience, for simplicity of speech); but to perfect oneself means to get nearer to that basis of life for which time does not exist and therefore no death, i.e., to carry one’s “self” more and more away from the bodily life into the spiritual.

5) Evgenie Ivanovich says about N: she is at peace only when one occupies oneself with her. Any occupation with anything not concerning her, does not interest her. Every such occupation with other people offends her. It seems to her that she bears the life of every one near her, that without her everybody would be lost. For the least reproach, she insults every one. And in 10 minutes she forgets it, and she hasn’t the least remorse.

This is the highest degree of egotism and madness, but there are many grades approaching this. At bottom, to think that I live for myself, for my own enjoyment, for fame, is absolute potential madness. In living—it is impossible not to live for oneself, impossible not to defend oneself when attacked,[291] not to fall on the food when hungry; but to think that in this is life, and to use that very thought given you to see the impossibility of such a life, to use it for the strengthening of such a separate individual life, is absolute madness.


6) A wife approaches her husband and caressingly speaks to him as she did not speak before. The husband is moved, but this is only because she has done something nasty.

7) Jean Grave,[292]L’individu et la Société,” says that revolution will only then be fertile when l’individu will be strong-willed, disinterested, good, ready to help his neighbour, will not be vain, will not condemn others, will have the consciousness of his own dignity, i.e., will have all the merits of a Christian. But how will he acquire these virtues if he knows that he is only an accidental chain of atoms? All these virtues are possible, are natural, in fact, their absence is impossible when there is a Christian world-point-of-view—that is, that we are sons of God sent to do His Will; but in a materialistic world-point-of-view these virtues are inconsistent.

It is now past one. I am going downstairs. I am going to write to-morrow.

Feb. 6. Moscow. If I live.

To-day, Feb. 19. Moscow.

It is long since I have made any entries.[293] At first I was ill. For about 5 days I have been better. During this time I was correcting, putting in things and spoiling the last chapters of Art. I decided to send away Carpenter with the introduction to Sieverni Viestnik. Was correcting the[207] preface also. The general impression of this article “On Science” as well as that of the 20th chapter—is remorse.[294] I feel that it is right, that it is necessary, but it is painful that I hurt and grieve many good people who err. It is obvious that .0999 will not understand why and in the name of what I condemn science, and will be indignant. I should have done that with greater kindness. And in this I am guilty, but it is now too late.

The last time I wrote, I expressed fear lest the carrying over of myself from this worldly life, the offending, the irritating one, into the life before God, the eternal life (now, here) which I experienced would become lost, would become calloused. But here 13 days have passed and I still feel this and felt it all the time and rejoiced and am rejoicing.

Sometimes I begin to lay out patience, or hear an irritating conversation, contradiction, or am dissatisfied with my writing, with the condemnation of people, or I regret something—and suddenly I remember that it only seems so to me, because I am bent over searching on the floor, and it suffices to straighten up to my full height and everything that was disagreeable, irritating, not only vanishes, but helps the joys of triumph over my human weakness.

I haven’t yet experienced this in strong physical[208] suffering. Will it endure? It ought to endure. Help, Lord.

Otherwise I am very joyous.

I am joyous, that in old age there has been disclosed absolutely a new condition of the great indestructible good. And this is not imagination, but a change of soul as clearly perceived as warmth and cold, it is a going over from confusion, suffering, to a clearness and peace and a going over which depends upon myself. Here, in truth, is where wings have sprouted. As soon as it becomes difficult, painful, to walk on foot, you spread the wings. Why not always then on wings? Evidently, I am still too weak; still untrained; and perhaps a rest is necessary.

It is interesting to find out if this state is an attribute of old age, if young people can experience it also? I think that they can. One must accustom oneself to this. This indeed is prayer.

“You must hide something, be afraid of something, something tortures you, something is lacking,”—and suddenly: there is nothing to hide, nothing to be afraid of, nothing to be tortured over, nothing to want. The main thing is to go away from the human court into God’s court.

Oh, if this would only hold out unto death! But even for that which I have experienced, I am grateful to Thee, Father.


I jotted down the following:

1) People can in no way agree to the unreality of all that is material. “But a table exists and always, even when I go out of the room it is there, and for all it is the same as it is for me,”—they generally say. Well, and when you twist two fingers and roll a little ball under them do you not unquestionably feel two? It is certainly so, every time I take up a little ball in that way there are two and for every one who takes up a ball in that way there are two, and nevertheless there are no two little balls. In the same way, the table is a table only for the twisted fingers of my senses, but it is perhaps half a table, a thousandth of a table—in fact, no part of a table at all, but something altogether different. So that what is real is only my ever recurring impression, confirmed by the impressions of other people.

2) ... I acted badly when I gave my estate to the children. It would have been better for them. Only it was necessary to have been able to do this without violating love, and I was unable.

3) You are often surprised how intelligent, good people can defend cruelty, violence, savage superstitions...? But it is sufficient to remember the exilings, the oppressions, the offences, which are beginning to penetrate the working-classes and you see that this is only a feeling of[210] self-preservation. Only by this is explained the tenacity of life....

4) Pharesov told me about Malikov’s[295] teaching. All this was beautiful, all this was Christian: be perfect like your Father; but it was not good that all this teaching had for its end influence over people and not inner satisfaction, not an answer to the problem of life. Influence on others is the main Achilles’ heel.

So that my condition, which is false for people, is perhaps the very thing necessary.

5) ... In order to wipe out one’s sin, one ought to ... repent before all the people for the deception, to say: forgive me that I have deceived you ... What a strong scene! And a true one.

6) Our art with its supplying of amusement for the rich classes, is not only similar to prostitution, but it is nothing else than prostitution.

Feb. 20. Moscow.

To-day, Feb. 25. Moscow.

Have made no entries; corrected something. Wrote letters to-day, more than 7 letters. But I can’t write anything, although I haven’t stopped thinking about Hadji Murad and The Appeal.

Feb. 26. Moscow. If I live.

Have made no entries for more than three weeks. To-day March 19. Moscow.


Finished all my letters. During this time wrote serious letters:

1) To the American colony,[296] 2) Peterburgskia Viedomosti about the Dukhobors;[297] 3) to the English papers also about the Dukhobors, and 4) a preface to the English edition What is Art—about the censor distortions.[298]

My inner life is the same. As I foresaw, the new consciousness of life for God, for the perfection of love, has become dulled, weakened, and when I needed it, these days, it proved itself to be, if not exactly ineffectual, yet less effectual than I expected.

The principal event during this time was the permission to the Dukhobors to emigrate.

What is Art? seems to me to be entirely finished now.


I have worked very little during all this time. I made rather many notes; I shall try to write them out:

1) One of the greatest errors in summing up a man, is that we call, we define a man as intelligent, stupid, good, evil, strong, weak. But man is everything, all possibilities, is a flowing matter.[299] This is a good theme for an artistic work and a very important one and a good one, because it destroys malicious judging—“the cancer”—and assumes the possibility of everything[212] good. The workers of the devil, convinced of the presence of bad in man, achieve great results: superstition, capital punishment, war. The workers of God would attain greater results, if they believed more in the possibility of good in people.

2) They want to become the masters of China—the Russians, Japan, England, the Germans: there are quarrels, diplomatic struggles, there will even be military ones. And all this is only for the mixing of the yellow race into one Christian batter, the propagating and the assimilating of ideas like the Crusades and the Napoleonic wars.

3) Lebon writes: “Not only are they going to make food in laboratories, but there will be no need for labour.” People have so badly distributed their two functions, food and labour, that instead of joy, these functions are a torture to them and therefore they want to be freed from them. It is just the same as if people would so pervert their functions of perspiration and breathing, that they would seek a way of changing them by an artificial method.

4) The longer you live, the less time there remains for life. For an endless duration of life, there would then be absolutely no life.

5) Only when you live without consideration of time, past or future, do you live a real, free life for which there are no obstacles. You are only then dissatisfied, in straits, when you remember[213] the past (the offences, the contradictions, even your own weaknesses) and when you think of the future: will something be or will it not be? Only at one point, do you fuse with God and live your divine essence: in the present (even when you live your animal life). Whenever you use your reason to consider what will be, then you are weak, insignificant; but whenever you use it to do the will of Him who sent you, then you are omnipotent, free. You can even see this in the way you immediately weaken, become deprived of strength, when you consider the consequences of your act.

To-day, March 21. Moscow.

I continue copying. I am very indisposed, weak, but thank God, in peace, I live in the present. Just now I put in order the papers on Art.

6) Socialists will never destroy poverty and the injustice of the inequality of capacities. The stronger, the more intelligent, will always make use of the weaker, the more stupid. Justice and equality of goods will never be attained by anything less than Christianity, i.e., by negating oneself and by recognising the meaning of one’s life in the service to others.

7) I have written down the same as in the 5th, but differently. In order to live with God, by God and in God, it is necessary not to be guided[214] by anything from without. Neither by that which was nor by that which can be; to live only in the present, only in this, to fuse with God.

8) Intelligent Socialists understand that for the attainment of their ends the principal thing is to lift the working men intellectually and physically. This is possible to be done only by religious education, but they do not understand this and therefore all their work is in vain.

9) “Seek the Kingdom of God and His Right, the rest will follow you”—this is the only means of attaining the ends of Socialism.

10) For The Appeal:

All are agreed that we live not as we ought to or as we could. The remedy of some is this: a religious fatalism and, still worse, a scientific, evolutionary one. Others comfort themselves by the gradual bettering and bettering of things by themselves: the step by step people. The third assert that everything will establish itself when things will reach their very worst (Socialism), when the Government and the rich classes will control everybody fully, i.e., the working-men, and then the power will somehow or other make a somersault not only to working-men, but to unerring disinterested self-sacrificing working-men, who will then direct all affairs without error and without sin. The fourth say that to improve the whole matter, it is possible only by the destruction of evil people,[215] the bad ones. But there is no indication where the bad people end and where the harmless ones, if not the good ones, begin. Either they will destroy every one as bad or as in the big revolution they will catch the good ones with the bad. As soon as you begin to judge strictly, no one will remain in the right. What is to be done? But there is only one instrument: a religious change in the soul of people. And it is this change which is interfered with, by all imaginary remedies.

11) My body is nothing else than that piece of everything existing which I am able to govern.

12) The whole world is that which I sense. But what am I? It is that which acts.

13) How good it would be to write a work of art, in which there would be clearly expressed the flowing nature of man: that he, one and the same man, is now a villain, now an angel, now a wise man, now an idiot, now a strong man, now the most impotent being.

14) Every man, as all people, being imperfect in everything, is nevertheless more perfect in some one thing than in another. And these perfections, he puts over another human being as a demand, and condemns him.

15) It is impossible to serve, not “God and mammon,” but “mammon and God.” The service of mammon—every kind of vanity—is a hindrance to the service of God. Peace, solitude,[216] even boredom, is a necessary condition to the service of God. In Moscow religiously they are the most savage of people. In Paris—they are still more savage.

16) There is a kind of English toy called peepshow: behind a little glass, now one thing is shown, now another. This is the way one ought to show man—Hadji Murad: a husband, a fanatic, etc.

17) Not long ago I experienced a feeling, not exactly a reasoning, but a feeling—that everything that is material, and I myself with my own body, is only my own imagination, is the creation of my spirit and that only my soul exists. It was a very joyous feeling.

18) ... does on the other hand the same thing that a false religious education does; it accustoms people to deny their reason.

19) There are two points of view of the world: 1) the world is something definitely existing, that is, existing in definite forms, and 2) the world is something continually flowing, being formed, going towards something. In the first point of view, the life of humanity also appears as something definite, consisting in the peaceful use of the goods of the world. In this point of view—there is a continuous dissatisfaction, and discontent with the construction of the world. It does not fulfil the demands which are presented.[217] In the second point of view, the life of humanity is conceived as something which in itself changes and helps to the change and the attainment of the ends of the world. And in this point of view there is no dissatisfaction or discontentment with the construction of the world. And if there is discontent, it is only with one’s self, for one’s insufficient harmony to the movement of the world and in not helping this movement. (Unclear.)

20) Administrative ambition and greed of misers are therefore alluring, because they are very simple. For every other end of life one has to reflect much, to think, and often you do not see the results clearly. And here it is so simple: where there was one decoration there will be two: where there was one million there will be two, etc.

21) I spoke to Evgenie Ivanovich and said to him that I envy his freedom; but he said to me that things are very difficult for him just on account of this freedom and even on account of the authority and the responsibility which is connected with it. So that it only seems to me, that some one is better off and that another is worse, as the strong man to the weak, the healthy to the sick, the rich to the poor. And it became suddenly clear to me that all the differences in our conditions in the world are as nothing compared with our inner conditions. It is just the same, as[218] it would be a matter of indifference if a man fell from a boat into the Azov Sea, the Black, the Mediterranean or into the ocean, in comparison with whether he was able to swim or not.

22) I spoke with P about the woman question. There is no woman question. There is the question of freedom of equality for all human beings. The woman question is only quarrel hunting.

23) The more one is guilty before his own conscience, though hidden, the more willingly and involuntarily he seeks the guilt of others and especially those before whom he had been guilty.

24) As soon as you go away into the past or the future, you go away from God and then you immediately become lonely, deserted, unfree.

25) I began to think about myself, about my own hurts and my own future life—and I came to my senses. And it was so natural to say to myself: and you, what business is Leo Nicholaievich (Tolstoi) of yours? And I felt better. Thus there is the one who is hindered by the base, stupid, vain, sensual, Leo Nicholaievich.

26) As soon as you begin to think of the future, you begin to guess. If the patience comes out, then this will happen. But this is madness! And it is bound to come, because to think of the future is the beginning of madness.

I have finished everything. It is now past one, the 21st.


March 22. Moscow. If I live.

April 12. Moscow.

Among the events during this time was the arrival of the Dukhobors,[300] the cares for their emigration, the death of Brashnin.[301] Occupations: Carthago delenda est[302] and Hadji Murad. Worked rather little. The spiritual state rather good. Visitors—most of them peasants, young, good ones.

Since yesterday have been in a very depressed mood. I am not surrendering, I do not disclose myself to any one, but to God. I think that is very important. It is important to keep silent and to suffer a thing through. Otherwise the suffering will go over to others and will make them suffer, but here it will burn itself down in yourself. That is the most precious of all.

This thought helps very much, that in this lies my task, in this is my opportunity to elevate myself, to approach perfection somewhat. Come and dwell within me so that my baseness will be stifled. Awake in me.

I want to cry all the time.

Thought and noted:

1) I found jotted down: “Every victory over the enemy is an enlargement of one’s own strength.” I ought to remember that now especially. There is a struggle going on between my[220] spiritual and animal self, and all that I gain for the former, by all this will I weaken the latter. I carry over from one scale of the weights to another. If I fall into temptation, it means a rolling down the road to evil; if I resist, it is the beginning of a rolling on a new road towards the good.

2) It is astonishing how we get accustomed to the illusion of one’s own individuality, separateness from the world. We see, we feel—that life compels us every minute to feel our union and dependence on the world, makes us feel our incompleteness; and we nevertheless believe that we ourselves, our very selves, is something in the name of which we can live. However, when you understand this illusion clearly, then you are surprised, how you could not have seen that you are not a piece of a whole, but a manifestation in time and space, of something timeless and infinite.

Women have always recognised the power of men over them. And it could not have been otherwise in an unchristian world. Men are the stronger and men have ruled. It was the same in all the worlds (with the exception of the doubtful Amazons and the law of maternity), and it is the same now among .0999 of mankind. But Christianity has appeared and has recognised perfection not in strength but in love, and by this all the subjected, the captive, the slaves and the[221] women have been freed. But that the freedom of slaves and women be not a calamity, it is necessary that the freed be Christians, i.e., that they affirm their life in the service of God and people, and not in the service of themselves. Slaves and women are not Christians, and nevertheless they are freed. And they are terrible. They act as the main-spring of all the calamities of the world.

What must be done? Bring slaves and women back again into slavery? That is impossible to do, because there is no one who will do it: Christians cannot subject. And non-Christians will no longer surrender themselves into slavery, but will fight. They will fight among themselves and one or the other will subject and hold the Christians in slavery. What must be done? One thing must be done: attract people to Christianity, turn them into Christians. It is possible to do this only by fulfilling in life the law of Christ.

Help me, Lord. Help me. Come into me, awake in me.

Apr. 13. Moscow. If I live.

To-day April 27. Grinevka.[303]

The 3rd day here. I am all right. A little indisposed....

The latter days in Moscow I spent finishing Carthago delenda est. I am afraid I have not[222] finished it, and that it is still before me. Still I did quite a lot. Here I have not worked at all.

The misery of the famine is by far not as great as it was in 1891. There are so many lies in all the affairs among the upper classes, everything is so tangled up with lies that it is never possible to answer any question, simply—for instance, is there a famine? I am going to try to distribute as well as I can the money which has been contributed.

Yesterday there was a conversation about the same thing: Is exclusive love good? The résumé is this: a moral man will look on exclusive love,—it is all the same whether he be married or single—as on evil and will fight it; the man, who is little moral, will consider it good and will encourage it. An entirely unmoral man does not even understand it and makes fun of it.

The Russkia Viedomosti was suspended because of the Dukhobors and of me; that is too bad and I am grieved.[304]

1) The proverb: for a good son you do not have to make a fortune, for a bad one, do not leave one.

2) I have made the following note: “God doesn’t know when the awakening of people will take place.” This is what it means: I think that the life of humanity consists in a greater and[223] greater awakening, in an enlightening. And this awakening, this enlightening, will be done by people themselves (by God in people). And in this is life, in this is the good, and therefore this life and this good cannot be taken away from people.

3) My awakening consisted in this, that I doubted the reality of the material world. It lost all meaning to me.

To-morrow Apr. 28. Grinevka. If I live, I’ll finish.

To-day Apr. 29. Morning. Grinevka.

Felt great weakness. Am better since yesterday. But unable to write anything. Went to Lopashino,[305] took notes.[306]

Read Boccaccio—it is the beginning of the master-class, immoral art.

No letters. Serezha was here.[307]

I continue. Thought:

1) You look deeply into the life of man, especially of women,—and you see from what world point of view their acts flow, and you see, principally, how inevitably all argument against this world point of view recoils and you cannot imagine how this world point of view will be changed—in the same way as how a piece of a date-stone has grown through a date. But there are conditions when a change is produced[224] and accomplished from within. Live man can always be born, from seeds there are sprouts.

2) I look into the future, and ask: were I to act as I ought to, would everything then be all right, would all obstacles then be destroyed? This question is pleonism. The question is this, whether, were I to act in a realm where there were no obstacles, would there then be any obstacles?

3) It is remarkable how we are without understanding and without gratitude. God arranged our life so, that he forbade us all false paths, that everything drives us from these false, harmful paths, impoverishing us to ruination, and making us suffer, onto the only free, always joyous path of love—but we nevertheless do not go on this path and we complain that we suffer from the attempts of going on the false, ruinous paths.

4) One of the most urgent needs of man, equal with and even more urgent than eating, drinking, sex desire, and the existence of which we often forget, is the need to manifest oneself, to know that it is I who have done a thing. Very many acts which are otherwise inexplicable, are explained by this need. One ought to remember this both in their bringing up, and in dealing with men. The main thing is that one has to try to make this an activity and not a boast.

5) Why is it that children and simple people[225] are by such an awful height higher than the majority of people? Because their reason is not perverted by the deception of faith or by temptations or by sins. Nothing stands on their road to perfection, while adults have sin and temptation and deception on theirs. The former have only to walk forward, the latter must struggle.

6) They spoke about love and falling in love, and I made the following conclusion for myself: a moral man fights falling in love and exclusive love, an unmoral man—condones it.

7) Children are selfish without lies. All of life teaches the aimlessness, the ruination of selfishness. And therefore old people attain unselfishness without lies. These are two extreme limits.

8) I began to consider soup-kitchens and the purchase of flour, and money, and my soul became so unclean and sad. The realm of money, i.e., every kind of use of money, is a sin. I took money and undertook to use it only so as to have a reason for going away from Moscow and I acted badly.

9) I thought much about The Appeal, yesterday and to-day. It became rather clear how a bad arrangement of life results in religious deception. If something is unclear in one’s mind, if life is disorderly and you don’t want anything.... (Somehow I haven’t succeeded.)


10) In my sleep I thought to-day that the shortest expression of the meaning of life is this: the world moves, perfects itself; the task of man is to take part in this movement, to submit himself to it and to help it.

My weakness still continues. I have written this out very badly.

May 4. Grinevka. (Evening.)

Yesterday there was a whole house full of guests: The Tsurikovs, Mme. Ilinsky,[308] Stakhovich. I have done nothing during the day. In the morning I wrote a letter to Chertkov[309] and to S[310] and to still some one else. The day before yesterday I was in Sidorovo and at Serezha’s.[311] In the morning I read Chertkov’s article.[312] It is very good.

The 1st of May, Lindenberg[313] was here and a teacher[314] and they went to Kamenka. On the 30th, I went to Gubarevka.

What hurts me, is that I seem to have lost entirely the capacity for writing. To my shame I am indifferent. Latterly in my sleep, I thought keenly about the contrast between the crushed people and the crushers, but did not write it out.

To-day, yes and in the preceding days, it seemed to me that Hadji Murad became clear, but I could not write it. It is true they interfered.



1) Just as an athlete follows the growth of his muscles, so you ought to follow the growth of love, or at least the decrease of evil and lies—and life will be full and joyous.

2) Yesterday there was a discussion about the old question: what is better—to take part in evil, to endeavour to diminish it (...) or to keep away from it? The eternal objection is:—“There will be anarchy”—yes, but now it is worse than anarchy: injustice.—“What, then, if to begin everything from the beginning; the strong will again offend the weak.” Yes, everything from the beginning again, but with this difference, that while now we continue the cruelty and injustice which have been established in heathen barbaric times, we now live in the light of Christianity and the cruelty and injustice will not be the same cruelty and injustice.... (It isn’t quite all right, but it was.)

3) I look about me and the lines which I see I force into that form which lives in my imagination. I see white on the horizon and involuntarily I give this white the form of a church. Is it not in this way that everything we see in this world takes on the form which already lives in our imagination (consciousness), which we carried over from our former life? (An idea.)

Exquisite weather. Friendly, hot Spring. I am at peace and am well.


May 5. Grinevka. If I live.

To-day May 9. Grinevka.

During these days we had visitors: Masha, Varia. I go every day somewhere to open a soup-kitchen. I am not writing at all. I feel weak. Yesterday there was a rain storm. I went to Bobrika. To-day I went to Nicholskoe. I went to Gubarevka and returning through the wood, thought.... I don’t feel like writing, later I shall write out two thoughts, very important ones:

1) One, that I cannot put before me, that which tortured me before: my destruction.

2) That the other life begins to attract me, only the process of getting there is terrible. If only I could arrive safely, everything there will be all right;

3) To-day I thought that the object of faith is only one—God. This I must write out, explain.

To-day I am in a very weak state.

May 10. Grinevka. If I live.

To-day May 11. Grinevka.

Yesterday I wrote a little on The Appeal.[315] Then I went to Mikhail’s Ford.

Saw Strakhov in my sleep,[316] who said to me[229] that I should write out clearly, for the plain man, what God is. “You ought to write it, Leo Nicholaievich,” (Tolstoi.)

To-day my stomach ached a little. I didn’t dine and wrote much on The Appeal. It seems to be taking form. I am feeling fresh in the head, a thing I haven’t felt for a long time. Thanks to my gymnastic exercises, I have become convinced for the first time, that I am old and weak and I must stop physical exercise entirely. This is even pleasant.

I forgot for a moment, my rule, not to expect anything from others, but to do what one ought to do oneself before God,—and there arose in me an evil feeling.... But I remembered, asked in good faith what was necessary and I felt better.

1) There is one object of faith—God, He who sent me. He who sent me, He who is everything of which I feel myself to be a part. This faith is indispensable and satisfying. If you have this faith then there is no room for any other. Everything else is trust and not faith. You can only have faith in that which undoubtedly is, but which we cannot embrace with our reason.

2) Yesterday I thought that the form of thinking—categories—are not seven but four: cause, matter, space, time. But only one: movement, encloses everything in itself. Movement is a[230] change of place, therefore there is space; change of place can be swifter and slower, therefore there is time; and a preceding movement is a cause, a following one, an effect; that which is displaced is matter. Everything is movement. Man himself moves incessantly and therefore everything explains itself to him by movement alone.

3) The most harmful effect of an evil act is that when a man accomplishes it he frees himself from the demands of his conscience. “We eat animals, therefore why not hunt?”—... and so you have no need to stand on ceremony ... etc.

4) A strange thought came to me. Our whole life is in this, that we consider ourselves a separate unit, an individual, a man. But besides this being specialised, individualised, from all others, chemistry discloses for us entirely different separate units, acids, nitrogen, etc. They are separate and therefore they have life. (Nonsense.)

May 12. Grinevka. If I live.

To-day May 15. Morning. Grinevka.

Within these two days I went to Mtsensk,[317] Kukuevka, and yesterday to Batyevo.[318] Wrote Hadji Murad unwillingly. I have exercised again.[319] It is stupid, almost an insanity. Wrote a poor letter to Posha. I am pleased with every one here.


Just now I have reread this journal and it did not leave me very dissatisfied. Oh, if I would only remember more my transitory, subservient condition here!

Have made no entries. My health would be good if my back weren’t aching. Began to write letters. Not succeeding. One must wait peacefully and live before God.

May 16. Grinevka. If I live.

To-day May 19. Grinevka.

Sonya was here. She arrived the 17th. This morning she went away. I have been trying to write these two days. Can’t do anything. An exceptional weakness and pain in my spinal column.

To-day May 20. Evening. Grinevka.

This morning I wrote rather much on The Appeal. In the evening I wrote 13 letters. Went nowhere. My back is better. The main thing, is that my brain is working and I am happy.

Received 500 roubles, and 1000 roubles are lying in Cherni.[320]

I am not going to write any more, although I have many notes.

To-day May 27. Grinevka. In the morning.

During this time I wrote The Appeal and[232] finished the article on the condition of the people.[321]

Just now I am writing to write out my notes—there is much that has to be written out—that everything which is said in Paul (Corinthians xiii) about love has to be said, and even more—about the renunciation of oneself. It is impossible to lay up love within oneself—but the renunciation of oneself is possible. It suffices to renounce oneself and love will arise.

I thought this, because just now in the morning, I began to remember all the difficulties which might arise from the distribution of the contributions, about everything which had to be done for the Dukhobors, for my own writing, and of which I had done nothing, and about all my weaknesses, errors, about my joyless life with the children, and such as I had not wanted it to be, and my lack of consequence—and it sufficed only to negate myself, my own desires, and immediately all wrong passed away, both of the past and the future, and one thing remained, the need of service in the present. How time vanishes remarkably in the consciousness of one’s mission.

To-day, I think, June 12. Yasnaya Polyana.

I went with Sonya (my daughter-in-law)[322] to the Tsurikovs, Aphremovs, and the Levitskys.[323] I have a very pleasant impression and fell in love[233] with many; but fell ill and did not do my work and made a lot of fuss both for Levitsky and the household.[324]...

It is four days since I arrived in Yasnaya and I am recovering nicely. Wrote many letters.

I received almost 4,000 roubles, which I cannot use this year.[325]

Masha is here with her husband and Iliusha. The Westerlunds were here.[326]...

To-day, entirely unexpectedly, I began to finish Sergius.[327] No news from England.[328]

I have made many notes.

1) I cannot remember now what and how I thought it: this is the note: “You are often too strict with people, and he, poor man, is good for nothing.”

2) Although I noted it before, I can’t help but repeat: ...

3) ...

4) The life of the world is one, i.e., in the sense that it is impossible to apply the conception of number to it. Plurality comes only from the partitions of consciousness. For a universal consciousness there is no number, no plurality.

5) Non-resistance to evil is important not therefore only, because a man has to act so for himself, for attaining the perfection of love, but also because only non-resistance alone stops evil, localises it in itself, neutralises it, does not permit it[234] to go farther, as it inevitably does, like the transmission of movement to elastic balls, if there be no force which would absorb it. Active Christianity is not in doing, creating Christianity, but in absorbing evil.

I feel very much like writing out the story, The Coupon.[329]

6) Death is the crossing-over from one consciousness to another, from one image of the world to another. It is as if you go over from one scene with its scenery to another. At the moment of crossing over, it is evident that that what we consider real, is only an image, because we are going over from one image into another. At the moment of this crossing-over, there becomes evident, or at least one feels, the most actual reality. Because of this, the moment of death is important and dear.

7) For a universal consciousness, for God, matter does not exist. Matter is only for beings, separated one from another. The limits of separateness is that which we call matter, in all its infinite forms.

8) It is impossible to remember sufficiently that the life of all beings is continuous movement. Almost all our misery comes from the fact that we do not know this or forget this. And imagining that we do not go forward, but that we stand still, we grasp the beings moving alongside of us—[235]some going faster, some going slower than we—we grasp them and hold on as long as the force of the movement does not tear us away. And we suffer.

9) We are all rolling down a slope, going down lower and lower to the plain. Every attempt to hold to one’s place, only makes the fall bigger, the more you hold on.

10) We are sent to cross this sloping path, carrying across it that light which is entrusted to us. And all that we can do—is to help each other on the road to carry this light; but we hold back, pushing each other down, extinguishing our light and that of the others. (It isn’t good, not what I wanted to say.)

11) I know, that when people yawn in front of me, I can become infected, and therefore I say to myself: I don’t want to yawn and I won’t. I have learned to do this as to yawning, but I am only beginning to learn this as to anger.

12) The sight depresses me strangely ... of those owning the land and compelling the people to work. How my conscience is struck. And this is not something reasoned, but a very strong feeling. Was I wrong in not giving my land to the peasants? I don’t know.

13) Lieskov made use of my theme and badly.[330] I had an exquisite thought—three problems: What was the most important time?[236] what man? and what act? The time is the immediate, this minute; the man—he with whom you have immediate business; the act, to save your soul, i.e., to do the act of love.[331]

14) It is impossible to save humanity from that deception in which it is caught.... Only a religious feeling can give the counterstroke and conquer.

June 13. Y. P. If I live.

June 14. Y. P. Evening.

Both days I wrote Father Sergius. It is coming out well. Wrote letters. To-day there was a christening.[332]

I still cannot be fully good.... It is difficult, but I do not despair.

To-day June 22. Y. P.

On the 16th I fell very ill.[333] I never had felt so weak and so near death. I am ashamed to have made use of the care which they gave me. I could do nothing. I only read and made some notes. To-day I am a great deal better. Ukhtomsky[334] was pleased with my article,[335] but nevertheless he refused to print it. I telegraphed to Menshikov that he should try the Viestnik Evropa and the Russki Trud.[336] I am afraid I am going to become tiresome.


The youth have been driven away. For they have forbidden that the flour that was bought be sold.[337]

... Received a letter from Chertkov, a good one. The Dieterichs arrived.[338] Dear Dunaev was here. They talked about the great riot of the factory workers. I shall finish later.

To-day June 28. Y. P. Evening.

I am only now recovered, and am experiencing the joy of convalescence. I feel nature very vividly, keenly, and have a great clarity of thought.

I wrote a little on The Appeal. To-day I wrote Father Sergius and both are good. Wrote many letters yesterday. All that I received yesterday were unpleasant: from N, but principally from Gali, with the news that they have all quarrelled.[339] Posha is going to Switzerland and Boulanger to Bulgaria.

Tania went to Masha’s....

There is only one thing; one real thing that has been given us: to live lovingly with one’s brothers, with every one. One must renounce oneself. I wrote that to my friends and I am going to be strict with myself.

Here is what I have written down....

I have just read up to this point, where everything that is difficult can be made to vanish when you throw off the illusion of a personal life, when[238] you recognise your mission in the service to God, and that it would be good to experience this in physical suffering, whether it will stand physical suffering. And here was a chance to experience it and I forgot and did not experience it. It is too bad. But the next time.

Have written down:

1) Paul Adam[340] gives the peasants a cruel characteristic, especially the working men: they are vulgar, selfish, slaves, fanatics—perhaps all this is just, but the one thing, that they can live without us and we cannot live without them, wipes out everything. And therefore it is not for us to judge. (Something is wrong here.)

2) It is especially disagreeable for me when people who have lived little and thought little, do not believe me, and not understanding me, argue with me about moral problems. It would be the same for which a veterinary surgeon would be hurt, if people who were not familiar with his art were to argue with him. The difference is only in this, that the art of the veterinary, the cook, the samovar-maker or any kind of art or science, is recognised as an art or a science where only those people are competent who have studied that realm; in the matter of morality every one considers himself competent, because every one has to justify his life. But life is justified only by theories of morality. And every one makes them for himself.


3) I have often thought about falling in love, about the good, ideal falling in love, which is exclusive of every sensuality, and I cannot find either place or meaning for it. But its place and meaning is very clear and definite: it is to lighten the struggle between sex desire and chastity. Falling in love ought to be for a young man who cannot keep to full chastity before marriage, and to release the young men in the most critical years, from 16 to 20 or more, from the torturing struggle. Here is the place for falling in love. But when it breaks out in the life of people after marriage, it is out of place and disgusting.

4) I am often asked for advice as to the problem of owning land. It is my old custom to answer: that it is unsuitable for me to answer such problems, just as it would be unsuitable for me to answer the problem how to make use of the ownership or the labour or the rent of a bonded serf.

5) People who stand on a lower moral plane or religious world point of view cannot understand people standing on a higher plane. But that there should be a possibility of union between them, there has been given to people standing on a lower plane the instinct for the good and a respect for this good. If there is not this instinct and respect, then it is very bad. But in our society, among so-called educated people, this is getting to be less and less.


To-day June 30. Y. P.

I am still ill, and very weak. But I think I am improving, and my spiritual state is good. The day before yesterday I received a letter about the quarrel in England.[341] I wrote to them. It is very sad and very instructive. Yesterday I received a letter from Khilkov with a letter from Miss Pickard about the Dukhobors.[342] I wrote letters to Crosby, and Willard[343] and Khilkov. The affair of the Dukhobors is important and big and evidently something will come out of it which is entirely different from what we are preparing, but it is God’s affair. To-day Mme. Annenkov arrived. Menshikov telegraphed that Gaideburov[344] will print with omissions. During these days I wrote Sergius—it isn’t good.

I am going to continue to write out the former:

6) ...

7) A man is a being separated from all others, who feels his limits. Among the number of general limits by which he separates himself from other beings, are his limits which are in common with that being incomprehensible to him—the earth. Death is the destruction of all the various common limits with other beings and always of the common limit of the being of the earth—a fusion with earth. Every sickness, wound, old age, is a destruction of these limits.


8) The work of life is to love. It is impossible to love expressly those people unworthy of love; but it is possible not to love—to behave well, in a good way, toward such people in every given moment.

9) I remembered keenly what a matter of enormous importance was complete truthfulness in every detail, in everything, the avoidance of all outer false forms. And I decided to keep to this. It is never too late to mend.[345]

10) The minister said to the murderer: “Oh brother, don’t worry. God has pardoned even greater sinners. But who are you? Don’t lose heart. Pray.” The murderer burst into tears.

11) How great and stable seemed the happiness of the American people, and how unstable it proved to be, like all happiness not founded on life, according to the law of Christ. The Spanish-American War, Jingoism.

12) I have often prayed (almost without believing, to try out) that God arrange my life as I wish. To-day I simply prayed my customary morning prayer and rather attentively. And after this prayer, I recalled my wish and wanted to add a prayer about the fulfilment of this wish, and tried to address God about it. And immediately I realised my mistake—that it would be very much better if everything was not according to[242] my will, but according to His. And without the least effort and with joy I said: “Yes, let there not be my will, but Thine.”

13) A spiritual life means that you should see the connection between cause and effect in the spiritual world and that you be guided in life by this connection. Materialists do not see this connection and therefore do not take it as a guide for their acts, but they take as a guide for their acts the physical, causal connection, the one which is so complicated that we never fully know it, because every effect is an effect of an effect; but the fundamental cause of everything—is always spiritual. (Not clearly expressed, but important).

14) Epictetus says this very thing when he reproaches people for being very attentive to the phenomenon of the outer world—to that which is not in our power and being inattentive to the phenomenon of the inner, to that which is in our power.

15) To many it seems that if you exclude personality from life and a love for it, then nothing will remain. It seems to them that without personality there is no life. But this only appears so to people who have not experienced self-renunciation. Throw off personality from life, renounce it, and then there will remain that which makes the essence of life—love.

16) (For The Appeal) ...


To-morrow, July 1st. If I live.

July 6. Y. P.

Am entirely well. Yesterday I took leave of Dunaev and Mme. Annenkov, who were here. I live very badly. I cannot reconcile myself to the will of God.

To-day I thought:

The life of Christ is very important as an instance of that impossibility of man to see the fruits of his labours. And the less so, the more important the work. Moses could enter into the promised land with his people, but Christ could in no way see the fruit of his teaching even if he had lived up to now. This is what one has to learn. But we want to do the work of God and to receive human reward.

July 17. Y. P. ’98. Morning.

There was nothing very special during these 11 days. I have decided to give my novels away, Resurrection and Father Sergius, to be printed for the Dukhobors.[346]

S. went to Kiev.

An inner struggle. I believe little in God. I do not rejoice at the examination, but am burdened by it, admitting in advance that I won’t pass. All last night I didn’t sleep. I rose early and prayed much.


To-day the Dieterichs and the Gorbunovs arrived. It was pleasant with them. Took hold of Resurrection, and in the beginning it went well, but from the moment when I became alarmed, these two days, I have been unable to do anything. I took a very nice walk.

I wrote a letter to Järnefelt[347] and prepared a postscript. This is the only important thing. But I haven’t the strength to withstand the customary temptation.[348] Come and dwell within us. Awake the resurrection in me!

I have made many notes. I will hardly have time to write them out now.

1) Brooding leads to dreams, dreams to passions, passion to devils. (From Love for the Good.)[349]

2) The æsthetic pleasure which you receive from Nature is attainable to all. Every one is affected by it differently, but it affects every one. Art should have the same effect.

3) How difficult it is to really live for God alone. You think you are living for God, but as soon as life jolts you, as soon as that support in life to which you are holding on, fails you, then you feel that there is no holding power in God and you fall.

4) For Father Sergius: Alone he is good, with people he falls.

5) What an obvious error: to live for worldly[245] ends. Whenever the purpose is not narrowly egotistic then this purpose is not quickly attained in life. Moses did not enter the promised land and Christ despaired of His labour: “Why hast Thou abandoned me?”...

6) There is no peace, either for him who lives for worldly ends among people, or for him who lives for spiritual ends alone. There is peace only then when a man lives for the service of God among people.

To-day, July 20. Y. P.

A letter from S and from Masha. I still do not sleep, but things are settling themselves in my soul, and as always, suffering is of benefit. Yesterday I went to Ovsiannikovo, spoke with Ivan Ivanovich.[350] Yesterday I worked well on Resurrection.

It is morning now. I am not continuing to write out from the notebooks, but I am going to write out what I—not being asleep—have just now been thinking; it is an old but easily forgotten thing, and an important one which should be also told to N with whom they talked last night. Namely:

1) Life for oneself is a torture, because you want to live for an illusion, for that which does not exist, and it not only cannot be happy, but it cannot be at all. It is the same as dressing and[246] feeding a shadow. Life exists only outside of oneself, in the service of others, and not in the service of one’s near ones, beloved ones—that is again for oneself—but in the service of those whom we do not love, and better still, in the service of enemies. Help, Father. The terrible error is that one confuses sex-love, love for children, for friends, with love of people through God, of people to whom you are indifferent, and still more of enemies, that is, of erring people.

Aug. 3. Pirogovo.

Again everything is in the old way, again my life is horrid. I have lived through very much; I haven’t passed the examination. But I do not despair and I want a re-examination. I passed the examination exceptionally badly, because I had the intention of going over to another institution. It is just these thoughts one must throw away, then one will learn better.

During this time Sonya returned and dear Tania Kuzminsky was here. The work on Resurrection goes very badly, although it seems to me I have thought it out much better. The 3rd day in Pirogovo. Uncle Serezha[351] is not as good as he was before: he is not in the mood. Maria Nicholaievna.[352] For two days nothing has come into my head.

During this time there was alarming news about[247] the condition of the Dukhobors[353] and that Mme. M. N. Rostovtzev was put in prison.[354] For a long time there has been no letter from Chertkov. Perhaps they intercept them.[355]

Am going to continue to write out that which I had not written out:

1) ...

2) There are two methods of human activity—and according to which one of these two kinds of activity people mainly follow, are there two kinds of people: one use their reason to learn what is good and what is bad and they act according to this knowledge; the other act as they want to and then they use their reason to prove that that which they did was good and that which they didn’t do was bad.

3) It is absolutely clear that it is much more profitable to do everything in common, but the reasoning about this is insufficient. If the reasoning were sufficient then it would have happened long ago. The fact that it is seen among Capitalists is unable to convince people to live in common. Besides the reasoning that this is profitable, it is necessary that the heart be ready to live like that (that the world point of view should be such that it would harmonise with the indications of the reason), but this is not so and will not be so until the desires of the heart are changed, i.e., the world point of view of people.


4) Even if that which Marx predicted should happen, then the only thing that will happen, is that despotism will be passed on. Now the capitalists rule, but then the directors of the working people will rule.

5) The mistake of the Marxists (and not only they, but the whole materialistic school) lies in the fact that they do not see that the life of humanity is moved by the growth of consciousness, by the movement of religion, by an understanding of life becoming more and more clear, general, meeting all problems and not by an economic cause.

6) The most unthought thing, the error, of the theory of Marx is in the supposition that capital will pass from the hands of private people into the hands of the government, and from the government, representing the people, into the hands of the workers....

7) There is nothing that softens the heart so much as the consciousness of one’s guilt, and nothing hardens it so much as the consciousness of one’s right.

8) Working people are so ... that it seems to them they have no outlet. Salvation lies in truth, in preaching and professing it.

9) They prove the law of the conservation of energy; but energy is nothing else than an abstract notion, just the same as matter. But an abstract notion is always equal to itself. In fact, this is[249] nothing else than as if we were to begin to prove that the law of gravitation, notwithstanding seeming departures, exists unchangingly in everything. (Unclear and perhaps untrue.)

10) The belief in miracles has for its basis the consciousness that our world just as it is, is the product of our senses. But the error lies only in supposing that the miraculous, that is, that something which is against the laws of reason, when applied to our senses, can happen for us with our tool of consciousness, i.e., with our senses. That which is against our laws of reason, when applied to our senses, can happen for other beings, for beings with other senses, just as our tool of consciousness, our sense, is only one particular instance from the innumerable quantity of other possibilities.

11) It is a great error to think that the reason of man is perfect and can disclose everything to him. The limitation of reason is best seen and most obvious from the fact that a man cannot solve (he clearly sees that he cannot) the problems of infinity: for each time there is still more time, for each space there is still more space, for each number there is still a number, so that all time and space is unknowable.

12) The reason of man is just as weak and insignificant in comparison (and in an infinite number of times more so) with that which is, as is the[250] reason (the means of perception) of a beetle and an amæba in comparison with the reason of man. The reason of man in comparison, not only with the highest reason, but with the reason which is higher than his—is just the same as the understanding of a complicated problem of higher mathematics or even of algebra for a man not knowing mathematics, to whom it seems insoluble, as are the problems of the infinity of space and time to us. While the problem is simple and clear for one knowing mathematics. The difference is only in this, that one can learn mathematics, but no study will help to solve the problem of space and time. This is the limit of the possibility of our knowledge under our reason.

13) I pray God that He release me from my suffering which tortures me. But this suffering is sent to me by God in order to release me from evil. The master whips his cattle with the whip in order to drive them from the burning yard and save them, and the cattle pray that he do not whip them.

14) There are common, sometimes intentional, sometimes unintentional, misunderstandings of my opinions which I confess irritate me:

a) I say that God ... is not God and that God is that which alone is—the unattainable good, the beginning of everything: against me they say, that I deny God;[251]

b) I say that one ought not to resist violence by violence: against me they say, that I say it is not necessary to fight evil;

c) I say that one ought to strive towards chastity and that on this road the highest grade will be virginity, and second a clean marriage, the third not a clean, that is, not a monogamous marriage: against me they say, that I deny marriage and I preach the destruction of the human race.

d) I say that art is an infectious activity and that the more infectious art is, the better it is. But that this activity be good or bad, does not depend on how much it satisfies the demands of art, i.e., its infectiousness, but on how much it satisfies the demands of the religious consciousness, i.e., morality, conscience; against me they say that I preach a tendence art, etc.

15) Woman—and the legends say it also—is the tool of the devil. She is generally stupid, but the devil lends her his brain when she works for him. Here you see, she has done miracles of thinking, far-sightedness, constancy, in order to do something nasty; but as soon as something not nasty is needed, she cannot understand the simplest thing; she cannot see farther than the present moment and there is no self-control and no patience (except child-birth and the care of children).

16) All this concerns women, un-Christians, unchaste women, as are all the women of our Christian[252] world. Oh, how I would like to show to women all the significance of a chaste woman. A chaste woman (not in vain is the legend of Mary) will save the world.

17) People are occupied with three things: 1) to feed themselves, i.e., to continue their existence, 2) to multiply—to continue the existence of the specie, and 3) to fulfil that for which they had been sent in the world: to establish the kingdom of God. For this there is one means—to perfect oneself. Almost all people are occupied with the first two matters, forgetting the last, which at bottom is the only real work.

18) The decline of the moral consciousness of humanity lies in the greatest part of the people being placed in such a situation that all interest in life for them is only to feed and to multiply. It is just the same as if the master kept his cattle, caring only that they be fed, or better, that they do not die from hunger and that they multiply, and never received any income from them: no wool, or milk, or work from them—from these cattle. The Master who sent us in this world requires from us, besides existence and its continuation, also the labour He needs.

19) For Resurrection. It was impossible to think and remember one’s sin and be self-satisfied. But he had to be self-satisfied in order to live, and therefore he did not think and forgot.


20) It is impossible to demand from woman that she valuate the feeling of her exclusive love, on the basis of moral feeling. She cannot do it, because she hasn’t got a real moral feeling, i.e., one that stands higher than everything.

To-day I plan to go home.

Aug. 4. Y. P. If I live.

Why does the 4th of August come to my mind as if it were important? Nothing important has happened.

To-day, August 24. Y. P.

During this time I received no letters from Chertkov and am very perplexed.[356] I think that during this time the Dukhobors were here. Letters from Khilkov, from Ivan Michailovich. I answered them all. To-day Sullerzhitsky arrived.[357] I am working all the time on Resurrection and am pleased, even very much so. I am afraid of shocks.

... And I feel well. A full house of people: Mashenka,[358] Stakhovich, Vera Kuzminsky,[359] Vera Tolstoi.[360]

I am copying:

1) People were sent into the world to do the work of God, but they quarrelled, fought and established things in such a way that for some, there is no time to do the work, because they have to[254] feed themselves, and for others there is no time, because they have to guard that which they took away. What a waste of strength! It is just as if workers had been sent to work and given food; some have taken the food away and they have to guard it and the others have to get food, and the work stands still.

2) People live in the world not fulfilling their mission—it is the same way as if factory workers were only busied with how to lodge themselves, feed themselves and amuse themselves.

3) One of the most important tasks of humanity consists in the bringing up of a chaste woman.

4) I often think that the world is such as it is, only because I am so separated from all the rest. As soon as my separateness from Everything will end, then the limits will be torn away and other limits will be established—and then the world will become altogether different for me.

5) You wish to serve humanity? Very well. That which you wish to do, another will do. Are you satisfied? No, dissatisfied, because the important thing for me is not what will be done, but what I will do; that I do my work. This is the best proof that the matter is not in the doing, but in the advancement towards the good.

Is it possible that I am advancing? Help, Lord.


6) How difficult it is to please people: some need one thing, others another. They need both my past and my future. God is one, and His Will in respect to me is one, and He wants only my present, what I am doing this minute is what He wants. And what was, has been, and what will be, isn’t my business.

7) Egoism, the whole egoistic life, is legitimate only as long as reason has not awakened. As soon as it has awakened, then egoism is lawful, only to that degree in which one has to sustain oneself as a tool necessary for the service of people. The purpose of reason—is the service to people. All the horror lies in its being used for service to oneself.

8) Man gives himself to the illusion of egoism, lives for himself—and he suffers. It suffices that he begin to live for others, and the suffering becomes lighter and there is obtained the highest good in the world: love of people.

9) As one disaccustoms oneself from smoking or other habits, so one can and must disaccustom oneself from egoism. When you wish to enlarge your pleasure, when you wish to exhibit yourself, when you call forth love in others, stop. If you have nothing to do for others, or you have no desire to do anything, then do nothing—only don’t do anything for yourself.

10) The Bavarian told about their life. He[256] boasts about the high degree of freedom, but at the same time they have compulsory religious teaching, a crude Catholic one. That is the most horrible despotism. Worse than ours.

Aug. 25. Y. P. If I live.

Nov. 2. Y. P.

It is horrible to see for what a long time I have made no entries: more than two months. And not only has there been nothing bad, but rather everything was good. The Jubilee was not as repulsive and as depressing as I expected.[361] The sale of the novel and the receipt of the 12,000 roubles which I gave to the Dukhobors was well arranged.[362] I was displeased with Chertkov[363] and I saw that I was at fault. A Dukhobor arrived from the province of Yakutsk. I liked him very much[364] ...

Masha is pitiable in her weakness, but she is just as near in spirit....

But glory to God and thanks be to Him that he has awakened it in me and has kept it burning so that it is natural for me either to love and rejoice, or to love and to pity. And what happiness!

Archer was here yesterday, arriving from Chertkov—I liked him.[365] There is much to do, but I am all absorbed in Resurrection, being sparing with the water and using it only for Resurrection.[257] It seems to me it won’t be bad. People praise it, but I don’t believe.

Everything that I noted—it was all very important—I will write out later, but now I want to write that which I just now, walking on the path, in the evening, not only thought but felt clearly:

1) Under my feet there is the frozen, hard earth; around, enormous trees; overhead a cloudy sky; I fed my body, I feel pain in the head; I am occupied with thoughts on Resurrection; and yet I know, I feel in all my being, that both the firm and frozen earth and the trees and the sky and my body and my thoughts—all this is only a product of my five senses, my image, the world, made by me because such is my partition from the world. And that it will be sufficient for me to die—and all this will not disappear but will become transformed, as they make transformations in the theatres: from bushes and stones, they make castles, towers, etc. Death is nothing else than such a transformation, dependent from another partition from the world, another personality: Here I consider as myself, my body with my senses, and then something else will detach itself to be myself. And then the whole world will become something else. But the world is such and not something else, only because I consider myself as this and not as something else. But there can be[258] an innumerable quantity of divisions of the world. (This is not entirely clear for others, but for me—very.)[366]

Nov. 3. If I live.

Nov. 14. Y. P.

Again I have not noticed how 11 days have passed. Have been very intensely occupied with Resurrection and am making good progress. Am absolutely near the end. Serezha and Suller were here and both went away to the Caucasus with my letter to Golitsin.[367] S. arrived yesterday. Very well. It is a long time since I have felt so well and keen, intellectually and physically.

I cannot make out what I have written out and what I haven’t.[368]

1) How difficult it is to please people! In order to please them it is necessary that the past and the future meet their demands. But in order to please God, one has only to satisfy His demands in the present.

2) To live for others seems difficult—just as to work seems difficult. But just as in work, in the care for others there may be the best reward: love of others may and may not be; while in labour there is an inner reward, you work to the end, get tired, and you feel good.

3) The poetry of the past occupied itself only with the strong of the world: with the Czars, etc.,[259] because the strong of the world appeared as the highest and the most complete representatives of the people. But if you take the plain people, then it is necessary that they express general phenomena ... (Unclear.)

4) If you do not permit yourself to live for yourself, then involuntarily, from boredom, you begin to live for others.

5) Woman, just like man, is endowed with feeling and brain, but the difference is in this, that men mostly consider themselves and their feelings bound by the commands of reason, while women consider their feelings binding for themselves and for their reason. The same thing, but only in different places.

6) You get angry at the philosopher who reasons, who considers that the main basis of the life of man is his material nature; but this man does not know the spiritual, but knows only material effect and therefore he cannot think otherwise.

7) You think that you are alone and you suffer from loneliness; yet you are not only in harmony, but you are one with every one; only artificial and removable barriers separate you. Remove them—and you are one with every one. The removing of these barriers according to your strength is the business of life.

8) If a man considers his animal being as himself,[260] then he will represent God also as a material being, a ruler who rules materially over material things. But God is not such, God is spirit and does not rule over anything, but lives in everything.

9) ... If people could have been so deceived, then there is no deception into which they would not fall.

10) I have noted down that it is depressing because there is no life, but only an egoistic existence. I cannot remember what else I could have meant by this.

11) God manifests himself in our consciousness. When there is no consciousness—there is no God. Only consciousness gives the possibility for the good, for continence, service, self-sacrifice. Everything depends to what consciousness is directed. Consciousness directed to the animal “self” kills, paralyzes life. Consciousness directed to the spiritual “self” rouses, lifts, frees life. Consciousness directed to the animal “self” strengthens, ignites passion, creates fear, struggle, the horror of death. Consciousness directed towards the spiritual “self” frees love. This is very important and if I live, I will write it out.

12) Death is a change of consciousness, a change of that which I can recognise as myself. And therefore fear of death is a horrible superstition. Death is a joyous event standing at the[261] end of each life. Suffering is sent to people to hold them back from death. Otherwise every one understanding life and death, would struggle towards death. But now it is impossible to go towards death unless through suffering.

13) The greatest act in life is the consciousness of one’s self, and its consequences are benevolent or most terrible, according to whether you direct your consciousness towards the spirit or towards the body.

14) In order to get rid of moral suffering (and even physical) there are two means: to destroy the cause of suffering or the feeling in one’s self which produces suffering. The first is not in man’s power, the second is. (I am repeating Epictetus).

15) The moral progress of humanity advances only because there are old people. The old people become kinder, wiser, and give over that which they have lived through to the following generations. If this were not so, humanity had not advanced; and what a simple method!

16) If man looks on life materially, then old people do not become better, but worse, and there is no progress.

17) Technical progress is greeted by every one, is pushed on by every one; the moral, the religious progress, is held back by the priests. From this come the main calamities in life.


November 15. Y. P. If I live.

It seemed to me that I made no entries for about three days and now it is ten days. To-day, Nov. 25. Y. P.

... I promised to arrive December 6th.[369]... I feel also like going to Pirogovo. We are alone: Tania, Masha, Kolia. Only Liza Obolensky.[370] I am still diligently occupying myself with Resurrection.

Last night I thought out an article on why the people are corrupted. They have no faith of any kind. They christen naïve infants and then they consider every reasoning about faith (perversion) and every lapse, as a capital crime. Only the sectarians have faith. Perhaps I am going to bring that into the Appeal. What a pity. I thought it out well at night.

Resurrection is growing. It can hardly be compressed into 100 chapters.[371]

I have noted down the following and I think it is very important (which might be good for the Declaration of Faith):

1) We are very much accustomed to the reasoning as to how the life of other people, people in general, should be arranged. And such kind of reasoning does not seem strange to us. And yet such kind of reasoning could in no ways exist among religious and therefore free people; such reasoning is the consequence of despotism, ...[263] In this way reason ... They say: “If I had the power I would do so and so with the others.” That is a dangerous error, not only because it tortures, deforms people who have to undergo violence ... but it weakens in all people the consciousness of the necessity of improving themselves, which is the only effective means of influencing other people.

2) To-day I thought about this from another angle. I recalled the words of the Gospel: “And the pupil is not higher than the teacher; if he learns then he will be like the pupil.” We, the rich master-classes, teach the people. What would happen if we succeeded in teaching them so that they become as we are?

3) They talk, they write, they preach about the knowing of God. What a horrible blasphemy, and horrible admission of the non-understanding of what God is and what we are. We, a particle of the infinite whole, wish to understand not only this whole, but its causes, the origin of the whole. What absurdity and what a recognition of godlessness, or a recognition of God of that which is not God. We can only know that He is, Τὸ ὄν, He exists, and we can only conclude by ourselves, what He is not.

4) Love is God. Love is only the recognition that God is not flesh, not passion, not egoism, not malice. (Doubtful.)


5) Violence rules our world, i.e., malice, and therefore there is always found in society a majority of dependent, unstable members: women, children, stupid ones—brought up on malice, and who side with malice. But the world ought to be ruled by reason, by goodness; then all this majority would be brought up on goodness and would side with it. In order that this should take place it is necessary that reason and goodness manifest themselves, and undismayed, assert their existence; that is very important.

6) The complexity of knowledge is a sign of its falseness. That which is true is simple.

7) How bad it is that people seeking perfection are pained at calumny, at a deserved bad name (or better still, at an undeserved). Calumny, a bad name, gives an opportunity, drives toward an activity, the value of which is only in our conscience. This is so rare, so difficult, and so useful. Involuntary simpleness is the best school for goodness.[372]

8) I have noted down: “Justice is insufficient. It is ...[373] necessary to oppose.” I cannot remember what this means.

9) Physical labour is important, because it prevents the mind from working idly and aimlessly.

10) Perhaps it is more important to know what one ought not to think about, than to know what one ought to think about.


11) Women are weak and they not only do not want to know their own weakness, but want to boast of their strength. What can be more disgusting?

12) A good man if he does not acknowledge his mistakes and tries to justify himself can become a monster.

13) ...

Now Nov. 26. Morning. Y. P.

Did not sleep and thought:

1) Evil is the material for love. Without evil there is none and can be no manifestation of love. God is love, i.e., God manifests Himself to us in victory over evil, i.e., in love. The question of the origin of evil is just as absurd as the question of the origin of the world. It is not “whence comes evil?” that one must know, but “how to conquer it? How to apply love?”




Jan. 2. Yasnaya Polyana.

The last time I wrote it was November 25, which means a month and a week. I made entries in Yasnaya Polyana, then I was in Moscow, where I did not make one entry. At the end of November I went to Pirogovo. I returned on the first and since that time have not been quite well—the small of my back ached and still aches, and lately I have had something like bilious fever. It is the second day that I am better.

All this time I have been occupied exclusively with Resurrection.[374] I have had some communications about the Dukhobors,[375] an innumerable pile of letters. Kolechka Gay is with me, with whom it is a rest to be.... I am calm in the fashion of an old man. And that is all.

There is quite a lot to write out. I am going to write it out on the pages I skipped. Lately I feel as if my interest in Resurrection has weakened, and I joyously feel other, more important, interests, in the understanding of life and death. Much seems clear.

Made an entry, the 2nd of January. To-day, Feb. 21. Moscow.

More than six weeks that I have made no entries.[270] Am all the time in Moscow. At first Resurrection went well, then I cooled off entirely.[376] I wrote a letter to the non-commissioned officer[377] and to the Swedish papers.[378] For about three days I have again taken up Resurrection. Am advancing.

Students’ strike. They are trying to drag me in all the time.[379] I am counselling them to hold themselves passively, but I do not feel like writing letters to them.

... As to me—my back is better. There is living with us, an interesting and live Frenchman, Sinet,—the first religious Frenchman.[380] There is very much that I ought to write out. Have been in a very bad mood; now all right.

Feb. 22. Moscow.

June 26. Yasnaya Polyana.

Four months that I have made no entries. I will not say I have lived badly all this time. I have worked and am working diligently on Resurrection. There is much that is good, there is that, in the name of which I write. During these days I have been gravely ill; now well....

Difficult relations because of the printing and translating of Resurrection,[381] but most of the time am calm.

Neglected correspondence. They continue sending money for the famine-stricken, but I can[271] do nothing else but send it to them through the post.[382] Kolichka is with me helping me in the work.


I continue to write out from my note-book:

14) Nearing the place of destination, one thinks more and more often of that place to which one is nearing. Thus also while nearing death, the change of destination.

15) Only always to remember that there is no other meaning in life, no other way of finding the joy of life, but through fulfilling His will. And how peacefully and joyously one could live!

16) In time of illness, to fulfil His will by preparing oneself for the going over into another form.

17) It seems to us that the real labour is the labour on something external: to make, to collect something; property, houses, cattle, fruit; but to labour on one’s own soul—that is just phantasy. And yet every other labour except on one’s own soul, the enlarging of the habits of good, every other labour is a bagatelle.

18) They do not obey God, but adore Him. It is better not to adore, but to obey.

19) No matter what the work you are doing, be always ready to drop it. And plan it, so as to be able to leave it.

20) The machine ... is a terrible machine.[272] If we would have clearly understood its danger, we would never have permitted it to be formed.

21) It seems strange and immoral that a writer, an artist, seeing the suffering of people, sympathises less than he observes, in order to reproduce this suffering. But that is not immoral. The suffering of one personality is an insignificant thing in comparison with that spiritual effect, if it is a good one, which a work of art will produce.

22) Humanity, it is an enormous animal who seeks and cannot find what it needs. Very slowly, sensations call forth emotions, and emotions are transmitted to the brain and the brain calls forth acts. The activity of the liberals, Socialists, revolutionaries, are attempts to galvanise, to compel the animal to act by arousing its motor nerves and muscles. But there is one organ which does everything when it is not impaired; in the animal it is the brain, in the people, religion.

23) I am depressed and I ask God to help me. But my work is to serve God and not that He should serve me.

24) An individual, personal life is an illusion. There is no such life; there is only function, a tool, for something.

25) ... is vestigial, having no application, like the appendix.

26) We complain at our depressed spirits, but[273] they are necessary. Man cannot stay on that height to which he sometimes rises; but man rises and then hypnotises himself for the time of his depression and in the time of his depression he already acts from the view-point that was disclosed to him in the moment of rising. If only to know how to make use of those moments of rising and to know how to hypnotise oneself!

27) The evil of the world, its cause is very simple. Every one seeks midi à quatorze heures—now in the economic system, now in the political. I just now read the discussions in the German parliament, on how to keep the peasants from running to the cities. But the solution of all problems is one and no one recognises it and it does not even seem to be of interest to them. But the solution is one, clear and undoubted: ... The salvation is one: the destruction of false teaching.

28) The difference between people: N thinks about death, and that does not lead him farther than the question of how and to whom he should leave his money, where and how be buried. And Pascal also thinks about death.

29) ...

30) There is no future. It is made by us.

31) The infinity of time and space is not a sign of the greatness of the human mind, but on the contrary, it is a sign of its incompleteness, of its inevitable falsity.


32) We think of the future, we build it; but nothing future is important, because the important thing is to do the creative work of love, which can be done under every possible condition; and therefore it is altogether indifferent, what the future will be.

33) We get angry at circumstances, are pained, wish to change them, but all possible circumstances are nothing else than indications as to how to act in different spheres. If you are in need, you must work, if in prison—think, and if in wealth, free yourself ... etc.

It is just like a horse getting angry with the road on which he is being led.

34) The press—that is a lie: with a vengeance.[383]

35) Everything is divided. Only God unites us, living in everything. That is why He is love.

36) The conception of God to a religious man, is continuously destroyed and being replaced by a new, higher conception.

37) ...—is not only the loss of labour, of lives, but the loss of the good.

38) With many people it is possible to live only when you treat them as you would a horse: not to take them into consideration, not reproaching them, not suggesting, but only finding a modus vivendi. It is about them: “Not to cast pearls”[275] ... It is terrible, but without this rule, it would be worse.

39) Is it possible to imagine to oneself a Socialist working-man with faith in the Iversk Ikon? Then, first of all, there must be a religious emancipation.

40) We are all agreed that only he is free who has overcome passion, and yet knowing this, we seriously trouble ourselves with the freeing of people who are full of passions.

41) A rational conviction can never be complete. A full conviction can only be irrational, especially with women.

42) Answer good for evil and you destroy in an evil man all pleasure which he receives from evil.

43) God is love. We know God only in love, which unites everything. You know God in yourself through the striving towards this union.

44) One continually thinks that the good will be good for him. But the good is, or it is not—it is not something that will be.

45) The important thing lies in thoughts. Thoughts are the beginning of everything. And thoughts can be directed. And therefore the principal task of perfection is—to work on thoughts.

June 27. If I live. Y. P.


To-day July 4th. Y. P.

All this time I have been ill with my usual stomach sickness. The work which absorbed me very much, has stopped.

Christ as a myth;[384] and Kenworthy’s book, a rational exposition of the life of Christ. The first is better. There is need of a philosophy of moral economy, i.e., of religious truth. There is such a thing.

I have had many good thoughts, being ill and nearing death. I think often with pain of brother S.

I have noted down the 4th:

1) The government destroys faith, but faith is necessary. Some violating themselves believe in the miraculous, in the absurd; others in science. But in which? In the contemporary. But in the contemporary, there is 99/100 of lie and error. In every contemporary science there are lies. Truth revealed by God is of course the right, it is religion; and truth obtained by the reason of man, by science, is also of course, the right. But the matter lies in recognising what is discovered by God and what has been gained by human reason.

2) Death is the destruction of those organs by means of which I perceive the world as it appears in this life; it is the destruction of that glass through which I looked and a change to another.

3) Educated people using their education not[277] for the enlightenment and freeing of the working-classes, but for befogging them, are like workers using their strength not for sustaining life but for destroying it. These are the intellectual Pugachevs, Stenka Razins, only a thousand times more dangerous.

July 5. Y. P. If I live.

To-day September 28. Y. P.

Have worked all the time on Resurrection; now I have stumbled on the third part. It is long since I have made no progress.

... I have wrought for myself a calm which is not to be disturbed: not to speak and to know that this is necessary; that it is under these conditions one ought to live.

There are here Ilya, Sonya[385] with the children, Andrusha with his wife, Masha with her husband.

I am thinking more and more often about the philosophic definition of space and time. To-day, if I have time, I am going to write it out.

I read an interesting book about Christ never having been, that it was a myth.[386] The probabilities that it is right—there are as many for it, as there are against.

Yesterday with the help of Masha I answered all the letters; many remained unanswered. I am still ill; rarely a day without pain. I am dissatisfied[278] with myself, also morally. I have let myself go very much—I do not work physically and I am occupied with myself, with my health. How difficult it is to bear sickness resignedly, to go unto death without resistance—and one must.

I have been thinking during this time:

1) Women demanding for themselves the work of man and the same freedom, mostly demand for themselves unconsciously the freedom for licence, and as a result go down much lower than the family, though aiming to stand higher than it.

2) What is this memory which makes from me one being, from childhood unto death? What is this faculty connecting separate beings in time, into one? One ought to ask not what is it that unites, but what divides, these beings. The faculty of time divides, beyond which I cannot see myself. I am one indivisible being from birth until death; but to manifest and to know myself, I must do so in time. I am now such as I was and will be; but one who had to and even will manifest myself and know myself in time. I have to manifest myself and know myself in time—for communion with other beings and for influencing them.

3) I plucked a flower and threw it away. There were so many of them, it was no pity. We do not value these inimitable beauties of living beings and destroy them, having no pity not only for[279] plants, but for animals, human people. There are so many of them. Culture, civilisation, is nothing else than the ruin of these beauties and the replacing them ... with what? The saloon, the theatre ...

4) They reproach you with malice, debauchery, lies, thefts, bring proof, etc. What is to be done? Answer the question with What time is it? Are you going to take a swim? Have you seen N N, etc. That is the best and only means of bearing these accusations and even clearing them up.

5) The dearest thing on earth is the good relation between people; but the establishment of these relations is not the result of conversation—on the contrary, they become spoiled by conversation. Speak as little as possible, and especially with those people with whom you want to be in good relation.

6) In eating, I destroy the limits between myself and other beings; creating children, I do almost the same thing. The results of the destruction of material limits are visible; the results of the destruction of the spiritual limits and the union resulting from this are invisible, only because they are broader.

7) “People are divided (divided from other beings), and this appears to them as space. The fact that they are inseparable in essence appears to them as time.” That is the way I have noted[280] it. Space divides, time unites. But this is untrue. Both time and space are dividers and they form the impossibility of realising unity. (Unclear, but I understand. I will make it clear later.)

8) Brotherhood is natural, proper to people. Non-brotherhood, divisions, are carefully nurtured.

9) Sometimes one feels like complaining childishly to some one (to God), to beg for help. Is this feeling good? It is not good: it is a weakness, a lack of faith. That which more than anything resembles faith—the beseeching prayer, is in truth a lack of faith—a lack of faith that there is no evil, that there is nothing to ask for, that if things are going badly with you, then it only demonstrates that you ought to improve yourself, and that there is going on, that very thing which ought to be, and under which you ought to do that which has to be done.

10) Just now I wrote this coldly, understanding with difficulty that state in which you wish to live for God alone, and I see through this how there are people who absolutely never understand this, not knowing any other kind of life besides the worldly, for people. I know this state, but cannot just now call it up in myself, but only remember it.

11) Everything which lives without consciousness,[281] as I live when I sleep, as I lived in the womb of my mother, lives not materially, i.e., not knowing matter, but lives. But life is something spiritual. Endeavouring to remember my state before consciousness, on the threshold of consciousness, I know only the feeling of depression, satisfaction, pleasure, suffering, but there is no conception of my body or of another’s. The conception of body (matter) manifests itself only when consciousness is manifested. The conception of body manifests itself only, because consciousness gives understanding of the presence in one’s self of the basis of everything (spiritual). And at the same time, as I know that I am the basis of everything, I know also that I am not the whole basis, but a part of it. And it is this being a part of a whole, these limits separating me from the whole, I know through my body: through my own body and the bodies surrounding me.

12) If you desire something, if you are afraid of something, that means that you do not believe in that God of love which is in you. If you had believed in Him, then you could not have wanted anything or have been afraid, because all desires of that God which lives in you are being always fulfilled, because God is all-powerful; and you would never have been afraid, because for God there is nothing terrible.

13) Not to think that you know in what the[282] will of God really lies, but to be humble; and then you will be loving. And the will of God in relation to you, lies only in this.

14) People convincing others that reason cannot be the guide of life are those in whom reason is so perverted, that they clearly see that they have been led into a swamp.

15) The only instance where a man can and ought to occupy himself with himself, is when he feels unhappy. Unhappiness is the best condition for perfection, the ascent to the higher steps. Unhappiness is a sign of one’s own imperfection. One ought to rejoice at these instances: it is the preparation of one’s self for work, a spiritual food.

16) Now I am an ordinary man, L. N. (Tolstoi), and animal, and now I am the messenger of God. I am all the time the same man, but now I am the public and now I am the judge himself with the chain, fulfilling the highest responsibilities. One must put on the chain more often.

Latterly I have got out of the habit, have weakened. I have only just now remembered.

17) Man is a being beyond time and beyond space who is conscious of himself in the conditions of space and time.

18) Games, cards, women, races, are alluring because they have been thought out for the blasés. It is not for nothing that the wise teachers have[283] forbidden them. Artificial play is corrupting. They are needed for the blasé, but the simple working people need the very simplest plays without preparation.

19) Only then will you produce true love, when you will resist offence, overcome offence with love, will love your enemy.

20) They desire, they are excited, they suffer only for trifles or for bad things. The good things are accomplished without excitement. It is from this that the word heart means malice. (Serdit, to get angry, to put into a passion, comes from sertse, the heart.—Translator’s note.)

To-day Oct. 2. Y. P.

I am still ill,—I am not suffering, but I feel threatened constantly. Morally I am better—I remember God in myself more often, and death. It seems to me I have come out of the difficult place in Resurrection.... Kolichka went away. Sonya arrived—she is ill.

I am continuing to write out from the notebooks:

1) I have made this note: Space comes from the consciousness of limits, from the consciousness of one’s own separateness; I am one, and the world is another. And in the world are similar beings with limits: 2, 3, 4, ... to infinity.

These beings can find place only in space.[284] From the consciousness of limits comes also time. I have thought this out again and can express it in this way: Separateness, the non-all-comprehensiveness of our selves, is expressed in recognising a part of moving matter as ourselves. The part of matter which we recognise as ourselves gives us an understanding of space; that part of motion which we recognise as ourselves gives us a conception of time.

Or, in other words: We cannot imagine a part of matter in any other way than in space. To imagine a part of motion, we cannot in any other way than in time. Space comes from the impossibility of imagining two or many objects beyond time. Time comes from the impossibility of imagining two, many objects beyond space. Space is the possibility of representing to one’s self two, many objects at one and the same time. Time is the possibility of representing to one’s self two, many objects, in one and the same space (one goes out, the other enters).

Divisions cannot be in one space, without time. If there were no time (motion) all objects in space would be unmoving and they would form not many objects, but one space, undivided and filled with matter. If there were no space, there could be no motion and our “self” would not be separated by anything from all the rest. My body understood by me as my “self,” and[285] understanding all the rest, is that part of matter which moves for a definite time and occupies a definite space.

(Not good, unclear, perhaps even untrue.)

2) Anarchy does not mean the absence of institutions, but only the absence of those institutions to which people are compelled to submit by force, but those institutions to which people submit themselves voluntarily, rationally. It seems to me that otherwise there cannot be established and ought not to be, a society of beings endowed with reason.

3) “Why is it that after sin, suffering does not follow that person who committed the sin? Then he would see what ought not to be done”—because people live not separately but in society and if every one suffered from the sin of each one, then every one would have to resist it.

4) Conscience is the memory of society assimilated by separate individuals.

5) In old age you experience the same thing as on a journey. At first your thoughts are on that place from which you are going, then on the journey itself, and then on the place to which you are going.

I experience this more and more often, thinking of death.

6) It is true that a great sin might be beneficial, by calling forth repentance before God, independently[286] from human judgment. Such a sin leads one away from the realm of human judgment, from vanity, which masters man and hides from him his relation to God.[387]

7) The physical growth is only a preparation of material for spiritual work, the service to God and man which begins with the withering of the body.

To-day Oct. 13. Y. P.

I am still not fully well. It is as it ought to be. But that does not hinder from living, thinking and moving towards a fixed goal. Resurrection advances poorly. Have sent away four chapters, I think not passable by the censor, but at least I think I have settled on one point, and that I won’t make any more great important changes. I do not cease thinking of brother Sergei, but because of the weather and ill health I cannot make up my mind to go.... Sonya was in Moscow and is going again to-day. To-day I had a kind of intellectual idleness, not only to-day, but all these latter days. For Resurrection I have thought out good scenes. Concerning separateness which appears to us as matter in space and movement in time, I am thinking more and more often and more and more clearly.

I have also received Westrup’s pamphlets from America about the money,[388] which struck me by[287] explaining everything that was unclear in financial questions and reducing everything as it ought to be, to violence.... If I get time I will write it out. I have another important, joyous thought, although an old one, but which came to me as a new one and which makes me very happy, namely:

1) The principal cause of family unhappiness—is because people are brought up to think that marriage gives happiness. Sex attraction induces to marriage and it takes the form of a promise, a hope, for happiness, which is supported by public opinion and literature; but marriage is not happiness, but always suffering, which man pays for the satisfaction of his sex desire. Suffering in the form of lack of freedom, slavery, over-satiety, disgust of all kinds of spiritual and physical defects of the mate which one has to bear; maliciousness, stupidity, falsity, vanity, drunkenness, laziness, miserliness, greed and corruption—all defects which are especially difficult to bear when not in oneself but in another person, and from which one suffers as if they were one’s own; and the same with physical defects: ugliness, uncleanliness, stench, sores, insanity, etc., which are even more difficult to bear when not in oneself. All this, or at least something of this, will always be and to bear them will be difficult for every one. But that which ought to compensate: the care, satisfaction,[288] aid, all these things are taken as a matter of course; while all defects as if they were not a matter of course, and the more one expected happiness from marriage the more one suffers.

The principal cause of this suffering, is that one expects that which does not happen, and does not expect that which always happens. And therefore escape from this suffering is only by not expecting joys, but by expecting the bad, being prepared to bear them. If you expect all that which is described in the beginning of “The Thousand and One Nights,” if you expect drunkenness, stench, disgusting diseases—then obstinacy, untruthfulness, even drunkenness, can, if not exactly be forgiven, at least be a matter of no suffering and one can rejoice that there is absent that which might have been, that which is described in “The Thousand and One Nights”: that there is no insanity, cancer, etc. And then everything that is good will be appreciated.

But is it not in this, that the principal means of happiness in general lie? And is it not therefore that people are so often unhappy, especially the rich ones? Instead of recognising oneself in the condition of a slave who has to labour for himself and for others, and to labour in the way that the master wishes, people imagine that every kind of pleasure awaits them, that their whole work lies in enjoying them. How not be unhappy under[289] this circumstance? Then everything: work and obstacles and illnesses—the necessary conditions of life—appear as unexpected, terrible calamities. The poor, therefore, are less often unhappy: they know beforehand that before them lie labour, struggle, obstacles, and therefore they appreciate everything which gives them joy. But the rich, expecting only joys, see a calamity in every obstacle, and do not notice and do not appreciate those goods which they are enjoying. “Blessed be the poor, for they shall be comforted; the hungry, for they shall be fed; and woe unto ye, the rich.”

Oct. 14. Y. P. If I live.

Oct. 27. Y. P.

We are living alone: ... Olga,[389] Andrusha, Julie[390] and Andrei Dmitrievich.[391] Everything is all right, but I am often indisposed: there are more ill days than healthy ones and therefore I write little. Sent off 19 chapters,[392] very much unfinished. I am working on the end.

I have thought much, and perhaps well:

1) About the freedom of the will, simply: Man is free in everything spiritual, in love: he can love or not love, more and less. In everything remaining he is not free, consequently in everything material. Man can direct and not direct his strength towards the service of God. In[290] this one thing (but it is an enormous thing), he is free: he can pull or be driven.

2) ... of the workers, prostitution and many other things, all this is a necessary, inevitable consequence and condition of the pagan order of life in which we live, and to change either one or many of these, is impossible. What is to be done? Change the very order of this life, that on which it stands. How? By this, in the first place, by not taking part in this order, in that which supports it ... etc. And, second, to do that in which man alone is absolutely free: to change selfishness in his soul and everything which flows from it: malice, greed, violence, and everything else by love and by all that which flows from it: reasonableness, humility, kindness and the rest. It is impossible to turn back the wheel of a machine by force,—they are all bound together with cogs and other wheels—but to let the steam go which will move them or not let it go is easy; thus it is terribly difficult to change the very outer conditions of life, but to be good or bad is easy. But this being good or evil changes all the outer conditions of life.

3) Our life is the freeing of the enclosed—the expansion of the limits in which the illimitable principle acts. This expansion of the limits appears to us as matter in motion. The limit of expansion in space appears to us as matter. That[291] part of matter which we recognise as ourselves we call our body; the other part we call the world. The limit of expansion in time we call motion. That part of motion which we recognise as ourselves we call our life; the other part we call the life of the world. All of life is the expansion of these limits, the being freed from them.

(All unclear, inexact.)

Nov. 20. Moscow.

Much I have not written out. I am in Moscow.... For 70 years I have been lowering and lowering my opinion of women and still it has to be lowered more and more. The woman question! How can there not be a woman question? Only not in this, how women should begin to direct life, but in this, how they should stop ruining it.

All morning I have not been writing and have been thinking two things:

1) We speak of the end of life—although it is true, not the one which we understand, but the one which would be understood by the highest reason. The purpose is just the same as the cause. The cause is looking backward, the purpose is looking forward, but the cause, the conception of the cause (and therefore of an end) appears only then when there is time, i.e., a being is limited in his conceptions by time. And therefore for God,[292] and for man living a Godly life, there is no purpose. There is life in which consciousness grows (?[393]) and that is all.

2) A drop fusing with a great drop, a pool, ceases to be and begins to be.

To-day December 18. Moscow.

Almost a month I have not written. Have been severely ill.[394] Had acute pain for one day, then a respite, and weakness. And death became more than natural, almost desirable. And so it has remained now, when I am getting well—that is a new, joyous step.

Finished Resurrection. Not good, uncorrected, hurried; but it has fallen from me and I am no longer interested. Serezha is here, Masha and her husband, Maria Alexandrovna.

I am all right. Have not yet begun to write anything. More than anything I am occupied with             ,[395] but I have no desire for anything very much, am resting. Wrote letters.

I am attempting to write out my notes:

1) (Trifles) about many-voiced music. It is necessary that the voice say something, but here there are many voices and each one says nothing.

2) One of the principal causes of evil in our life is the faith cultivated in our Christian world, the faith in the crude Hebrew personal God, when the principal sign (if one can express it so) of[293] God is that he is not limited, by anything, consequently not personal.

3) One should conquer death—not death, but the fear of death coming from a lack of understanding of life. If only you understand life and its necessarily good purpose—death—then you cease to fear it, to resist it. And when you cease to fear it, you cease to serve yourself, a mortal, and you will serve an immortal: God, from whom you came and to whom you are going.

4) Matter is everything which is accessible to our senses. Science forces us to suppose matter inaccessible to our senses. In this realm, there can be beings composed of that matter and perceiving it, matter inaccessible to our senses. I do not think that there are such beings; I only think that our matter and our senses perceiving it, are only one of innumerable[396] possibilities of life.

5) “I am a slave, I am a worm, I am a Czar, I am a God.”[397] Slave and worm true, but Czar and God untrue. It is in vain that people attribute a special significance and greatness to his reason. The limits of human reason are very narrow and are seen at once. These limits are the infinity of space and time. Man sees the final answers to the questions he asks himself, recede and recede in time and also in space, and in both these realms.

6) I read about Englehardt’s book: Evolution, the Progress of Cruelty.[398] I think that here[294] there is a great deal of truth. Cruelty has increased mainly because division of labour has been brought to pass, which assists the increase of the material wealth of man. Every one speaks of the benefits of the division of labour, not seeing that the inevitable condition of the division of labour, besides the mechanising of man, is also the removing of those conditions which call forth a human, moral communion between people. If we are doing the same work, as agricultural labourers, then naturally there would be established between us an exchange of service, a mutual aid, but between the shepherd and the factory-weaver, there can be no communion.

(This seems untrue; I shall think it over.)

7) What would God’s attitude be towards prayer, if there were such a God to whom one could pray? Just the same as would be the attitude of the owner of a house where water had been introduced and to whom the inhabitants would come to ask for water. The water has been introduced. You have only to turn the tap. In the same way everything has been prepared for men which is necessary to them, and God is not at fault that instead of making use of the clean water which was there, some of the tenants carry water from a stagnant pond, others fall into despair from lack of water and beg for that which had been given them in such abundance.


8) ...

9) One can by personal experience verify the truth, that God, a part of Whom is my own self, is love, and by the experimental way convince one’s self of this truth. As soon as love is violated, life ends. There is no desire to do anything, everything is depressing, and on the contrary, as soon as love is restored, as soon as you have made peace with those whom you quarrelled, forgiven, received forgiveness—then you wish to live, to act, everything seems easy and possible.

10) It would be good to express even in approximate numbers and then graphically, that quantity of labour, of working days, which rich people use up in their lives. Approximately more or less, this could be expressed by money. If I spend 10 roubles a day, that means that 20 men are working constantly for me. (Unclear, not what I want to say.)

11) They generally say: “That is very deep, and therefore not to be fully understood.” This is untrue. On the contrary. Everything that is deep is clear to transparency. Just as water is murky on top, but the deeper it is, the more transparent.

12) One small part of people, about 20 per cent., is insane by itself, possessed by a mania of egoism, which reaches to the point of concentration of all spiritual strengths on oneself; another,[296] the greater part, almost 80 per cent., is hypnotised by the scientific, by the artistic ... and principally ... hypnotism, and also does not make use of its reason. Therefore progress in the world is always attained by the insane possessed by the same kind of insanity by which the majority is possessed.

13) I experience the feeling of peace, of satisfaction, when I am ill, when there takes place in me the destruction of the limits of my personality. As soon as I get well I experience the opposite: restlessness, dissatisfaction. Are these not obvious signs that the destruction of the limits of personality in this world, is the entrance of life into new limits?

I have finished.

December 19. Moscow. If I live.

To-day December 20. Moscow.

My health is not good. My spiritual condition is good, ready for death. In the evenings there are many people. I tire. In number 51,[399] Resurrection did not appear and I was sorry. This is bad.

I thought out a philosophic definition of life. To-day I thought well about The Coupon.[400] Perhaps I shall write it out.




By V. G. Chertkov

1. With the words, “I continue,” Tolstoi begins a new note-book of the Journal; this note-book presupposes another which the editors have only in separate fragments. The previous note-book ended with the following note:

“October 8, 1895, Y. P.

“(I am beginning an entry to-day with just what I finished two days ago.)

“I have only a short time left to live and I feel terribly like saying so much: I feel like saying what we can and must and cannot help believing—about the cruelty of deception which people impose upon themselves; the economic, political and religious deception, and about the seduction of stupefying oneself—wine, and tobacco considered so innocent; and about marriage and about education and about the horrors.... Everything has ripened and I want to speak about it. So that there is no time for performing those artistic stupidities which I was prepared to do in Resurrection.

“But just now I asked myself: but can I write, knowing that no one will read? And I experienced something of disappointment; but only for a time; that means that there was some love of fame in it. But there was also the principal thing in it—the need before God.


“Father, help me to follow the same path of love. And I thank Thee. From Thee flows everything.”

2. In the original, merely the initials of the phrase are used. Thus Tolstoi would often finish what he had written during the day with I. I L. (If I live), marking ahead in this fashion the date of the following day.

3. Countess Sophia Andreevna Tolstoi, born Behrs, 1844, wife of Tolstoi. In the Journal, Tolstoi calls her S., S. A., or Sonya.

4. “Catechism” Tolstoi called that systematic exposition of his philosophy in the form of questions and answers which he had begun about this time. In the text, he calls this work, The Declaration of Faith, or simply, The Declaration. (See entries December 23, ’95, and further.) In the following year, 1896, Tolstoi abandoning the catechism form, continued and finished the work, which, in 1898, was published under the title Christian Doctrine by The Free Press (Swobodnoe Slovo) issued by A. and V. Chertkov, England, and later in 1905, it appeared also in Russia.

5. Tolstoi never returned to the continuation and revision of the plot of the story Who is Right? which had been begun by him about this time, and so it has remained unfinished. The beginning of the story as it was written by Tolstoi, is printed in his collected works (see the full collection of works by Tolstoi, edited by P. Biriukov, published by Sytin, 1913).

6. I.e., with Katiusha Maslov and not with Nekhliudov, as the first form of the novel was begun.

7. John C. Kenworthy, an English Methodist minister, a writer and lecturer, who shared at that time the opinions[301] of Tolstoi and who founded in England an agricultural colony composed of his co-thinkers. The author of the work, Tolstoi, His Life and Works, London, 1902. There was printed abroad in the Russian Language in the journal of The Free Press (1899, No. 2, England) his The Anatomy of Poverty. They were lectures to the English workingmen on political economy, which struck Tolstoi favourably and which he included in the manuscript which was then being issued under the title of Archives of L. N. Tolstoi, No. II, and to which he even wrote an introduction. In later life, Kenworthy fell ill of nervous prostration and was taken to a sanatorium.

8. Albert Shkarvan, a Slav, who shared Tolstoi’s opinions. An army surgeon in the hospital in Kashai (Hungary), he resigned from this service in February, 1895, for religious reasons, for which he was imprisoned for four months.

9. The Russian sect of Dukhobors, living in the Caucasus in 1895, to the number of several thousand souls, upon the suggestion of their leader, Peter Vasilevich Verigin, who was at that time in exile, gave notice to the authorities that they would no longer take the oath or serve in military service, and, in a word, would no longer take any part in governmental violence, and in the night from the 28th to the 29th of June of that year, burned all their weapons. Cossacks were sent against them and after some executions, two hundred were put in prison, many were exiled from their native land and forced to live in Armenian, Georgian and Tartar villages in the Province of Tiflis; about two or three families in a village, without land and with the prohibition against intercourse[302] among themselves. Those Dukhobors who remained in active service and refused to serve, were sent away to disciplinary regiments. (See Dukhobors, by P. Biriukov, 1908, publishers, Posrednik; besides there is much material pertaining to the history and the movement of the Dukhobors printed in various issues of The Free Press.)

10. The manager of the Moscow Little Theatre, Walts, used to call on Tolstoi for the purpose of receiving information about the staging of his drama, The Power of Darkness.

11. Ivan Ivanovich Bochkarev (died 1915), former revolutionary Slavophile who suffered much for his convictions. He became acquainted with the group of people around Tolstoi because of his belief in vegetarianism, to which he arrived independently of any one. In his personal conversations with Tolstoi, Bochkarev disputed his religious convictions, heatedly denying all his religious metaphysics. At this time he lived near the village of Ovsiannikovo, six versts from Yasnaya Polyana, on the estate of Tolstoi’s daughter, T. L. Sukhotin.

12. Prince Nicholai Leonidovich Obolensky, the grandnephew of Tolstoi—later married to Tolstoi’s daughter, Maria Lvovna.

13. Maria Alexandrovna Schmidt, an old friend, who shared Tolstoi’s opinions and whose personality and whole life, Tolstoi esteemed very highly. In the Journal of February 18, 1909, he wrote, “I never knew and do not know any woman spiritually higher than Maria Alexandrovna.” In the eighties, when class-teacher in the Nicholaievsky Orphan Asylum in Moscow, Mme. Schmidt[303] made the acquaintance of the forbidden works of Tolstoi, upon which she left the asylum and went to live on the land, and up to her death supported herself by the labours of her own hand. The last ten years of her life she lived near the village of Ovsiannikovo, on the estate of T. L. Sukhotin, procuring her livelihood by the sale of the berries and vegetables from her own garden and the dairy products from her cows. She died October 18, 1911.

14. With Bochkarev.

15. Alexander Nikiphorovich Dunaev, an old friend of the Tolstoi family, later one of the directors of the Moscow Commercial Bank.

16. Constantin Nicholaievich Zyabrev, nick-named “Bieli” (White), a peasant from Yasnaya Polyana, who was also called by the villagers, “the Blessed.” Tolstoi liked to speak with him. He lived in the greatest poverty and never bothered about the next day. At the time of the visit, mentioned in the Journal, he was already near death and soon passed away. Some years before this, Tolstoi helped him to rebuild his cabin.

17. Dr. Ivan Romanovich Bazhenov, who lived at this time in Vladivostok, sent Tolstoi his manuscript essay on the necessity of calling an ecumenical council and asked his opinion on this question. In the copy of the Journal at the disposal of the editors, and perhaps in the original of the Journal, it was written Bozhanov.

18. A letter from G. F. Van-Duyl from Amsterdam. In the letter of November 18th, Tolstoi answered his letter as follows:

“Once a man has understood and is permeated with the consciousness that his true happiness, the happiness of his[304] eternal life, that which is not limited by this world, consists in the fulfilment of the will of God and that against this will ... then no consideration can force this man to act against his true happiness. And if there is an inner struggle and if, as in that case about which you spoke, family considerations come out on top, it only serves as a proof that the true teaching of Christ was not understood and was accepted by him who could not follow it; this only proves that he wanted to appear as a Christian, but he was not so in reality.”

19. Paul Ivanovich Biriukov, one of Tolstoi’s nearest friends and followers, who later wrote his biography (two volumes, published by Posrednik, Moscow). Tolstoi often calls him Posha in the Journal.

20. The editors were unable to discover the title of this pamphlet.

21. Maria Vasilievna Siaskov, an amanuensis, who was employed for many years in the publishing house of Posrednik.

22. Tatiana Andreevna Kuzminsky (born Behrs), a sister-in-law of Tolstoi, wife of Senator A. M. Kuzminsky.

23. Konevski, this is the way Tolstoi called the novel, Resurrection, which he had begun then, the subject of which he adopted at the end of the eighties from stories told by the well-known Court-worker, A. Th. Koni.

24. Arthur Schopenhauer (1788–1860), the great German philosopher. Tolstoi evidently read the translation by Ph. V. Chernigovitz, Aphorisms and Maxims, in two parts, 1891–1892. Tolstoi, as early as 1869, wrote to A. A. Fet: “Do you know what the present summer meant[305] to me? Continual enthusiasm over Schopenhauer and a pile of spiritual pleasures which I never have experienced before.... Schopenhauer is one of the greatest geniuses among people.”

25. That which was noted down in his pocket note-book—Tolstoi had the habit of putting down thoughts which came to him and which seemed to him important in a pocket note-book which never left him. Later he copied the most valuable thoughts into his Journal, revising, more or less, as he went along. In rewriting from the note-book Tolstoi often began the entry with these words, “I have been thinking” or “I have it noted.”

26. See Note 4.

27. This essay, entitled Shameful, pointing out the cruelty and senselessness of corporal punishment which the law at that time applied to the peasants, was printed with omissions and alterations in the Russian newspapers and later abroad in full in Leaflets of The Free Press, No. IV, England, 1899; later it was printed in The Full Collected Works of L. N. Tolstoi, published by Sytin, subscribed and popular editions, volume XVIII.

28. In the Moscow Little Theatre.

29. N, a young artist living in the home of the Tolstois, after refusing military service on account of religious convictions, was placed in the military hospital in Moscow in the ward for the diseases of the heart, where he was visited by Tolstoi. Later, various difficult experiences and spiritual changes led him to agree to military service....

30. Nicholai Alexeievitch Philosophov, father of Countess S. N. Tolstoi, wife of Count I. L. Tolstoi.


31. A. A. Shkarvan sent Tolstoi his letter entitled “Why It Is Impossible to Serve as a Military Doctor.” Later this letter, in revised form, appeared in his book, My Resignation from Military Service. Notes of a Military Doctor. (Published by The Free Press, England, 1898, Chapter IV.)

32. Maria Lvovna Tolstoi (1872–1906), second daughter of Tolstoi, afterwards married to Count N. L. Obolensky.

33. Count Ilya Lvovich Tolstoi (born 1866), second son of Tolstoi. Has written a book, My Recollections (Moscow, 1914).

34. Vladimir Grigorevich Chertkov and his wife, Anna Constantinovna (born Dieterichs). V. G. Chertkov made the acquaintance of Tolstoi in 1883. For biographical information about him see under “Biography of L. N. Tolstoy” by P. Biriukov (Volume II, 1913) and also in the pamphlet, Tolstoi and Chertkov, by P. A. Boulanger (Moscow, 1911) and in the essay of A. M. Khiriakov: “Who Is Chertkov?” (Kievski Mysl, 1910, No. 333, December 2nd).

35. Soon Tolstoi began this drama (see entry of January 23, 1896), which he called And Light Lights Up Darkness. This drama, having to a great extent a biographic character, portrays the torturing condition of a man who has gone through an inner religious crisis, and who lives with his family which, not understanding him, interferes with his attempts to change his life according to the truth revealed to him. This was first printed with a great many censor deletions in The Posthumous Literary[307] Works of L. N. Tolstoi (edited by A. L. Tolstoi, 1911, Volume II).

36. The Englishman, John Manson, came to Tolstoi with a request for his opinion on the collision between the United States and England on account of the boundaries of Venezuela. Tolstoi answered by an extensive letter which was published under the title, “Patriotism or Peace?” and printed abroad (by Deibner in Berlin, and others.) It was not printed in Russia.

37. Ernest Crosby (1856–1907), an American social-worker, a poet and writer. When he was a representative of the United States in the International Court in Egypt, he read Tolstoi’s On Life, which caused an upheaval in his soul. As a result, he left the Government service and devoted his life to the propaganda of the social-religious views of Tolstoi and the social-economic views of Henry George. He founded The Social Reform League, the object of which was the discussing of the problems of reorganisation of contemporary life on the basis of justice and equality, and the furthering of the actual realisation of this reorganisation.

38. E. N. Drozhin, a district school teacher, in 1891, refused military service at the recruiting in the city of Sudzha in the Province of Kursk. He was sentenced to be sent to a disciplinary battalion and stayed fifteen months in the Voronezh disciplinary battalion. Here he fell ill of consumption and the doctors pronounced him unfit to continue military service, upon which he was transferred to the state’s prison to finish his sentence. He died in the Voronezh prison on January 27, 1894, from inflammation of the lungs which he contracted at the time of his transfer[308] ... from the disciplinary regiment to the prison. The story of his refusal from military service is described in detail in the book by E. I. Popov: Life and Death of E. N. Drozhin, 1866–1894, published by The Free Press, England, 1899. Tolstoi wrote an appendix to this book in which he expressed the opinion that such people like Drozhin “by their activity help....” In reference to this article the well-known German writer, Frederick Spielhagen, printed an open letter to Count Leo Tolstoi in the newspapers, in which he considered Tolstoi guilty of Drozhin’s death, a useless one, according to Spielhagen, for the abolition of war and the establishment of universal peace. This letter was translated into Russian in 1896 and appeared as a separate pamphlet.

39. See Note 36.

40. A voluminous letter devoted to the problem of non-resistance to evil by violence and the relation of contemporary American writers to it.

41. Count Andrei Lvovich Tolstoi, born 1877, fourth son of Tolstoi. In this year he served in the Tver military as a volunteer (before the prescribed age).

42. Nicholai Michailovich Nagornov, husband of Tolstoi’s niece, Varvara Valerianovna. In the letter to A. K. Chertkov of January 13, 1896, Tolstoi wrote: “We had a death lately. Nagornov died, the husband of my niece. She loved him passionately and they lived together remarkably happily ... no one knows anything of him, but the good.... My heart feels solemn and good because of this death.”

43. Fedior Kudinenko, a peasant, a co-thinker of Tolstoi, a former gendarme.


44. See note 29.

45. Dushan Petrovich Makovitsky (Dušan Makovický), a Slovak, who later became one of the closest friends and followers of Tolstoi, spent six years in Yasnaya Polyana from the end of 1904 to the day Tolstoi left, in the capacity of family doctor, and was near Tolstoi until the latter’s death. At this time he lived in his native land, in Hungary, taking part in the publication of translations into the Slavonian of Tolstoi’s books and of writers near to him in spirit. The article here mentioned is “Instances of Refusal from Military Service among the Sect of the Nazarenes, in Hungary.” Printed in Leaflets of the Free Press, England, 1898, No. I.

46. The Nazarenes, a sect spread in Hungary, Chorvatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Switzerland and the United States, whose members refuse military service.

47. Nicholai Nicholaievich Strakhov (1828–1896), a friend of the Tolstoi family, a noted writer and philosopher, highly valued by Tolstoi as a man and a literary critic. He had an extensive correspondence with Tolstoi, which was published by the Tolstoi Museum Society in Petrograd, 1914.

48. The family of the Counts Olsuphiev was very much liked by Tolstoi. This is what he wrote about them to V. G. Chertkov on February 9, 1896: “They are such very simple and good people, that the difference between their opinion and mine, and not the difference but the non-recognition of that by which I live, does not bother me. I know that they cannot, but that they want to be good and that they have gone as far as they could in that direction.”

49. Nicholai Vasilevich Davydov, an old friend of the[310] Tolstoi family, being appointed at this time President of the Tula District Court, was presented to the Emperor and had a long conversation with him about Tolstoi, answering the questions asked him by the Emperor. At present, N. V. Davydov is President of the Tolstoi Society in Moscow.

50. Alexander Ivanovich Ertel (1855–1908), a well-known writer, author of the novel The Gardenins and other stories and novels. The essay by Ertel which Tolstoi mentions was published in Nedielia in 1896, No. III, under the title, “Is Russian Society Declining?” He objected to Tolstoi who said in the article “Shameful” that one ought not to ask about the abolition of corporal punishment, but “one must and ought only to denounce such a thing.” “The way of denunciation and repentance is tested and is being tested—” wrote Ertel, “but in itself it is not sufficient for successful struggle against evil. For the greatest effectiveness in this struggle of changes, the judicial path of ‘petitions, declarations and addresses,’ deserves every kind of sympathy from the side of historical rationalism as well as from the Christian point of view.” Later Tolstoi, highly appreciating the popular style of Ertel, wrote a preface to the posthumous edition of his works, Moscow, 1909.

51. See Note 38.

52. M. A. Sopotsko, at one time in the beginning of the Nineties shared some of Tolstoi’s views in relation to the outer life, but never understood the essence of his religious philosophy. Later Sopotsko became a supporter of Orthodoxy and frequently attacked Tolstoi and his friends in print.


53. Marian Zdziechowski, a professor in the Cracow University, a well-known social worker. In the Sieverni Viestnik for the year 1895, No. 7, under the pseudonym M. Ursin, he contributed an article: “The Religious Political Ideals of Polish Society.” In respect to this article Tolstoi wrote him a long letter which was printed abroad and later was reprinted in the New Collection of Letters of L. N. Tolstoi, collected by P. A. Sergienko (published by Okto, 1911), from which by order of the Moscow Court it was deleted. After this letter M. E. Zdziechowski wrote several times to Tolstoi on the problems of Catholicism, but to those letters, mentioned in the Journal, Tolstoi evidently answered by a personal conversation during the former’s visit to Yasnaya Polyana in the summer of 1896.

54. In her letter addressed to M. L. Tolstoi, Vera Stepanovna Grinevich touched most seriously and deeply upon the fundamental problems concerning the religious upbringing of children. This letter produced a very strong impression on Tolstoi and he intended to answer it in detail, but other work drew him away from accomplishing this resolution. The letter of V. S. Grinevich and the letter to her by M. L. Tolstoi and V. G. Chertkov are printed in her book: The New School-family and the Causes of its Origin.

55. Nicholskoe, an estate of Count Olsuphiev near Moscow, close to the station of Podsolnechnaia on the Nicholai railroad.

56. Eugene Heinrich Schmidt, a German-Hungarian writer, resembling in some respects the philosophy of Tolstoi. In the Nineties he issued a magazine in Budapest:[312] Die Religion des Geistes, and a newspaper with a Christian anarchical tendency: Ohne Staat. In 1901 he printed a book in Leipzig, Tolstoi, His Meaning to Our Civilization (see also his article on the cultural significance of the works of Leo Tolstoi, printed in the International Tolstoi Almanac by P. A. Sergienko, published by Kniga, 1909.)

57. Sergei Alexandrovich Rachinsky (1836–1902), a celebrated worker for popular education, who sacrificed his lectures in the Moscow University for his favourite occupation of teaching the peasant children in the village schools to write and read. A relative to Tolstoi on account of the first wife of his son, Sergei Lvovich, and personally acquainted with Tolstoi as early as the beginning of the Sixties.

58. Written originally in English.

59. The letter was called forth by the Italian-Abyssinian war, which was then going on. The rather extensive beginning of this letter has been preserved, but up to now has not been published anywhere.

60. Here follow words that have been crossed out. Note made by Prince N. L. Obolensky in the copy in possession of the editors.

61. Michail Petrovich Novikov, a peasant of the Province of Tula, who served a year as an army scribe in one of the regiments stationed in Moscow. After his acquaintance with Tolstoi he suffered much because of his endeavour to realise his beliefs in his life. A gifted writer.

62. Countess Tatiana Lvovna Tolstoi (born 1864), the eldest daughter of Tolstoi. In the year 1899 she married M. S. Sukhotin.


63. Maria Michailovna Kholevinsky, a woman doctor, living in Tula. By Administrative order, after the event mentioned in the Journal, she was exiled to Orenburg.

64. This letter, sent to both ministers (I. L. Goremykin and N. V. Muraviev) and to the same publishing house, was printed at first abroad in the paper The Free Press, No. 2, in 1902 (England), afterwards in Russia. (See Full Collected Works of Tolstoi, published by Sytin, 1913—popular edition, Volume XXII. It is known that the request of Tolstoi in this letter: To direct all the prosecutions for the spreading of his forbidden books in Russia to himself and not to his followers and friends, as well as a whole series of subsequent similar petitions to Governmental officials—was not granted.)

65. The second act of Wagner’s opera, Siegfried. For the impression produced on Tolstoi, see What Is Art? chapter XIII—in the letter to his brother, Count S. N. Tolstoi, on April 20, 1896, Tolstoi under the fresh impression of this opera wrote the following: “Last night I was at the theatre and heard the celebrated new music of Wagner’s opera, Siegfried. I could not sit through a single act and I fled from the place like mad, and now I cannot talk calmly about it. It is stupid, unfit for children above seven years of age, a Punch and Judy show, pretentious, feigned, entirely false and without any music whatever. And several thousand sat and pretended to be fascinated.”

66. Aphrikan Alexandrovich Spier (1837–1890), a remarkable Russian philosopher, who lived many years in Germany and who wrote his works in German: Thinking and Reality, Morality and Religious, etc.[314] Tolstoi was then reading his principal work, Denken und Wirklichkeit (Thinking and Reality)—in a letter of 1896 to Countess S. A. Tolstoi, Tolstoi wrote: “I am reading a newly discovered philosopher, Spier, and am rejoicing.... A very useful book, destroying many superstitions, especially the superstition of materialism.” (The Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, page 510.)

67. The philosopher’s daughter, Elena Aphrikanovna Spier, who sent her father’s works to Tolstoi.

68. Grigori Grigorevich Myasoyedov (1835–1912). A celebrated artist, the painter of the picture, “The Reading of the Ordinance, of February 19th” and others; one of the principal initiators and founders of the Society of Travelling Expositions.

69. Dmitri Dmitrievich Sverbeev, the Governor of Courland, an acquaintance of the Tolstois’.

70. The cement factory, Gill, within 7 versts of Yasnaya Polyana.

71. To the Coronation in Moscow there went: Countess S. A. Tolstoi and Countess A. L. Tolstoi; while Countess T. L. Tolstoi went to Sweden for the coming marriage in Stockholm of Count L. L. Tolstoi and D. Ph. Westerlund.

72. The branch post office, 7 versts from Yasnaya Polyana.

73. Died in 1913.

74. The well-known publisher of Novoe Vremia, M. O. Menshikov, a contributor at that time to the liberal magazine, Knizhki Nedieli, where among other things, he occupied himself with popularizing Tolstoi’s ideas.[315] In the article “The Errors of Fear,” printed in that magazine in 1896 (Nos. IV to VI) Menshikov sharply condemned certain governmental repressions of the time. For this article the magazine received a warning. Towards the later journalistic activities of Menshikov, Tolstoi took a critical attitude.

75. Fedior Alexeievich Strakhov, a friend, who shared the views of Tolstoi, author of philosophic articles published by Posrednik under the titles Beyond Political Interests, The Search For Truth. Posrednik also published a collection of articles of various thinkers compiled by him under the title Spirit and Matter (against materialism).

Several of his other articles were issued abroad. For Tolstoi’s review of the books of F. A. Strakhov see in Journal, August 15, 1910.

76. Nicholai Nicholaievich Strakhov (died in January of this year).

77. With F. A. Strakhov.

78. Timofei Nicholaievich Granovsky (1813–1855), a Russian historian, a professor at the Moscow University.

79. Vissarion Grigorevich Bielinsky (1810–1848), the critic—see in Journal, March 7, 1899, a comparison between Bielinsky and Gogol.

80. Alexander Alexandrovich Herzen (1812–1870), a great writer. From 1847 to his death he lived abroad as an exile. His collected works with censor deletions have been published in Russia only in 1905. Tolstoi as early as August 4, 1860, wrote in his Journal, “Herzen, a scattered mind, sickly ambition. But his broadness, skilfulness, kindness and refinement is Russian.” Soon after, in the beginning of 1861, Tolstoi, being abroad,[316] spent a month in London, where he saw Herzen almost daily. In addition to the opinion expressed in this note of Tolstoi’s about Herzen, it should be noted that afterwards Tolstoi, appreciating him from another point of view, acknowledged a broad educational significance to his works (see, for example, Journal, October 12, 1895). In the letters to V. G. Chertkov of February 9, 1888, and to N. N. Gay of February 13 of the same year, Tolstoi called Herzen “a man remarkable in strength, in mind and in sincerity” and expressed regret that his works were forbidden in Russia, as the reading of them, according to his opinion, would be very instructive to the youth.

81. Nicholai Gavrilovich Chernishevsky (1828–1889) and Nicholai Alexandrovich Dobroliubov (1836–1861), Russian critics. Tolstoi became acquainted with Chernishevsky when he published his works in Sovremennik, which was edited by Chernishevsky.

82. Five-year-old daughter of F. A. Strakhov.

83. Declaration of Faith, later re-named The Christian Doctrine.

84. The estate of Tolstoi’s brother, S. N. Tolstoi, in the district of Krapivensk, in the Government of Tula, 35 versts from Yasnaya Polyana.

85. Count Sergei Nicholaievich Tolstoi (1826–1904). See for him in Biography of L. N. Tolstoi by P. Biriukov and in My Recollections by Count I. L. Tolstoi, Moscow, 1914.

86. The daughters of Count S. N. Tolstoi: Vera, Varvara and Maria Sergievna.

87. Charles Salomon, the translator of some of Tolstoi’s[317] works into French, and a professor of the Russian language in the higher institutions in Paris.

88. Sergei Ivanovich Tanyeev (1856–1915), composer, at one time director at the Moscow Conservatory, an acquaintance of the Tolstoi family, who lived three summers (1894–1896) in Yasnaya Polyana.

89. On the Khodinka field at the time of the coronation celebration of May 18, 1896. In the beginning of the year 1910, Tolstoi wrote a little story called Khodinka, printed for the first time in his Posthumous Literary Works, Volume III, published by A. L. Tolstoi, Moscow, 1902.

90. Timofei Nicholaievich Bondarev (1820–1898), a peasant of the district of the Don. In 1867 he was exiled to Siberia for conversion to the Jewish faith and lived in the district of Minusinsk, in the Province of Yeniseisk, to the end of his life. Wrote a work called Industriousness and Parasitism, or The Triumph of the Agricultural Worker (issued with abbreviations in 1906 in Petrograd by Posrednik,) in which he proved the moral obligation of each man to do agricultural work. Tolstoi wrote a long introduction to this work. As to the impression which this work produced on Tolstoi, he himself wrote in his book What Then Shall We Do? (1884–1886) the following: “In all my life, two Russian thinkers had upon me a great moral influence and enriched my thought and clarified my philosophy. These people were not Russian poets, scholars, preachers—they were two remarkable men who are now living, and who all their life laboured in the muzhik labour of peasants, Siutaev and Bondarev.” In his letter here mentioned to[318] Bondarev, Tolstoi touched upon those religious problems which Bondarev asked him. For more details about Bondarev see in the article of C. S. Shokhor-Trotsky: “Siutaev and Bondarev” (in the Tolstoi Annual, 1913), Petrograd, 1914, issued by the Tolstoi Museum Society, following which are printed ten letters by Tolstoi to Bondarev and some writings of Bondarev himself.

91. My Refusal From Military Service, The Memoirs of an Army Physician, issued by The Free Press, 1898, England. Tolstoi read this work even before, in manuscript, and at this time probably was re-reading it. In his letter to A. A. Shkarvan of December 16, 1895, Tolstoi wrote: “Your memoirs are interesting and important to the highest degree. I read them with spiritual joy and was touched.”

92. See Note 29.

93. Stephane Mallarmé (1842–1898), French poet, considered one of the most prominent Symbolists. For a more detailed opinion of him by Tolstoi, see his book, What Is Art? Chapter X.

94. Goethe (1749–1832), the German poet. See for Tolstoi’s opinion of him in his Journal, September 13, 1906. Earlier in 1891, in his letter to Countess A. A. Tolstoi, Tolstoi wrote: “As to Goethe, I do not like him at all. I don’t like his conceited paganism.”

Shakespeare (1564–1616). See Tolstoi’s article about him “On Shakespeare” and “On The Drama” and the opinion in his journal March 15, 1897.

95. Declaration of Faith.

96. Henry George (1839–1897), noted American social worker and writer on economic questions. In his[319] numerous works, chiefly on agrarian questions, he was a warm defender of the destitute and the oppressed. George considered the existence of private land ownership as the principal cause of the existence of poverty; appearing as its opponent, he suggested the abolition of all existing taxes, substituting for them a single tax on the value of land; by means of this reform, land would pass into the hands of people cultivating it by their own labour, because for people who did not work it, it would be unprofitable to own great stretches of land, since they would have to pay a large amount of taxes on them.

Tolstoi sympathised very much with George’s scheme and wrote much about it (The Great Sin, The Only Possible Solution of the Land Question, A Letter to a Peasant and some chapters in Resurrection and others). Of the works of George, Tolstoi recognised as the best his Social Problems, to the Russian translation of which he wrote a preface. In the last years of George’s life, Tolstoi was in correspondence with him; in his letter to him of 1894 Tolstoi among other things wrote: “The reading of each one of your books clarifies for me much which formerly was not clear to me and convinces me more and more of the truth and practicality of your system” [translated from the Russian from a translation from the English.—Translator’s note]. On the occasion of George’s death, Tolstoi wrote to Countess S. A. Tolstoi on October 24, 1897: “Serezha told me yesterday that Henry George was dead. Strange to say, his death struck me as the death of a very close friend. The death of Alexandre Dumas produced the same impression upon me. One feels as if it were the loss of a real comrade and friend.”[320] Many works of George’s are translated into the Russian; there is a splendid biography of him written by S. D. Nicholaev, and published by Posrednik: The Great Fighter for Land Liberation, Henry George, Moscow, 1906.

97. Anna Constantinovna Chertkov.

98. In the letter to Count L. L. Tolstoi of June 7, 1896, Tolstoi related the incident as follows: “Yesterday a remarkable event happened to me. Two or three times there came to me a young civilian from Tula asking me to give him books. I gave him some of my articles and spoke with him. He was, according to his convictions, a Nihilist and an Atheist. I told him from the bottom of my heart all that I thought. Yesterday he came and gave me a note: ‘Read it,’ he said, ‘then tell me what you think of me.’ In the note it was written that he was a junior officer in the gendarmerie, a spy, sent to me to find out what is going on here, and that he became unbearably conscience-stricken and that is why he disclosed himself to me. I felt pity and disgust and pleasure.”

99. The priest, John Ilich Sergiev (of Kronstadt) (1829–1908), who enjoyed great fame as “The supplicator for the sick.” In his preaching and his books he many times made sharp attacks against Tolstoi and his views.

100. Declaration of Faith.

101. Zakaz, a piece of Yasnaya Polyana forest, not far from the house. Tolstoi was afterwards buried there.

102. Tolstoi had the opportunity to closely observe the nomadic life of the Bashkirs in the province of Samara, where he went in the Sixties to drink kumyss,[321] and in the Seventies and Eighties to his own estates (see The Biography of L. N. Tolstoi written by P. I. Biriukov (Moscow, 1913) published by Posrednik, Volume II, Chapter VIII; and also the Recollections in the Children’s Magazine, Mayak, 1913, by V. S. Morosov, a former pupil of the Yasnaya Polyana school in the beginning of the Sixties).

103. A village within four versts from Yasnaya Polyana.

104. Leonilla Fominishna Annenkov (1845–1914), an old friend of Tolstoi’s and an adherent of his philosophy, the wife of a Kursk landlord, the well-known scholarly lawyer, K. N. Annenkov (1842–1910). She made the acquaintance of Tolstoi in 1886 and from that time on corresponded very much with him. Completely sharing the opinions of Tolstoi, she applied them with a rare sequence to life and she was noted for her remarkable abundance of love which attracted every one who met her. Tolstoi valued her highly, considering that she had “a clear mind and a loving heart.”

105. Farther on one line is crossed out. A note of Princess M. L. Obolensky in the copy at the disposal of the editors.

106. It weighed upon him that certain persons to whom he did not want to show his Journal had read it nevertheless. In the last years of his life he was compelled to hide the current Journal somewhere in his rooms, and the finished note-books he gave away in safe keeping.

107. A village four versts from Yasnaya Polyana, where the Chertkovs lived in summer.


108. Declaration of Faith.

109. The note of July 19, 1896, he evidently originally inserted in a note-book from which he later wrote it out in his Journal.

110. Tolstoi’s brother, Count S. N. Tolstoi.

111. This article under the title of “How to Read The Gospels and What Is Its Essence” was printed at first in the edition of The Free Press, 1898, and after in 1905 in Russia. (See the complete works of Tolstoi published by Sytin, Popular Edition, Volume XV.) The central thought of this article is that in order to understand the true meaning of the Gospels, one has to penetrate those passages which are completely simple, clear and understandable. Tolstoi advises all those who wish to understand the true meaning of the Gospels to mark everything which is for them completely clear and understandable with a blue pencil and marking at the same time with a red one, around the words marked in blue, the words of Christ Himself as differing from the words of the Apostles. It is those places marked by the red pencil which will give the reader the essence of the teaching of Christ. Tolstoi in his own copy of the Gospels made such marks which he mentions later in the Journal with the words: “Marked the Gospels.”

112. Hadji Murad, one of the boldest and most remarkable leaders of the Caucasian mountaineers who played a big rôle in the struggle of the mountaineers with the Russians in the Forties of the Nineteenth Century. In 1852 he was killed in a skirmish with the Cossacks. Tolstoi heard much about him as early as the beginning of the Fifties, when he himself took part in the fight with[323] the mountaineers. A month after the above-mentioned note in the Journal, Tolstoi made a rough sketch of his story, Hadji Murad, on which he worked with interruptions until 1904. This story was printed for the first time in his Posthumous Literary Works (published by A. L. Tolstoi, Volume III, 1912.) It is interesting to compare the introduction to it with the above note of Tolstoi’s in his Journal.

113. As in the copy at the disposal of the editors.

114. Afanasie Afanasevich Fet (Shenshin) (1820–1892), a Russian lyric poet and translator and friend of the Tolstoi family. Concerning the relations of Tolstoi with him, see My Recollections, by Fet (Volume II, 1890) and The Biography of L. N. Tolstoi by Biriukov. In the letter of November 7, 1866, Tolstoi wrote to Fet: “You are a man whose mind, not to speak of anything else, I value higher than any one of my acquaintances’ and who in personal intercourse is the only one who gives me that bread by which it is not alone that man lives.” Later Tolstoi and Fet became estranged from each other.

115. Kant, the German philosopher (1724–1804). For the opinions of Tolstoi about him see the Journal, February 19, and September 22, 1904, and September 2, 1906; August 8th, 1907; March 26, 1909. Kant’s Thoughts, selected by Tolstoi, were published by Posrednik, Moscow, 1906.

116. As a sixth sense, Tolstoi recognised the muscular sense. See the note of October 10, 1896.

117. S. I. Tanyeev.

118. The Shenshins—Tula landlords who lived on[324] their estate, Sudakovo, five versts from Yasnaya Polyana.

119. Prosper St. Thomas, tutor of Tolstoi and his brothers. The incident mentioned in the Journal produced a tremendous impression on Tolstoi. “It may have been that this incident was the cause of all the horror and aversion to all kinds of violence which I experienced throughout life,” Tolstoi wrote afterwards in his recollections. (See P. Biriukov: The Biography of L. N. Tolstoi, Moscow, issued by Posrednik, Volume I, pages 99–100.) In Tolstoi’s story Boyhood, St. Thomas is pictured under the name of Saint Jerome. The incident mentioned here is described in Chapters XIV, XV and XVI of that story.

120. Written in English in the original.

121. Tolstoi, together with Countess S. A. Tolstoi, visited his sister, Countess Maria Nicholaievna, living in the convent of Shamordino near the Optina Desert. In his letter to her of September 13, 1896, Tolstoi wrote, “With great pleasure and emotion I recall my stay with you.”

122. The story, Hadji Murad. See Note 112.

123. Count Sergei Lvovich, with his wife, Countess Maria Constantinovna (born Rachinsky, who died in 1899); Count Ilya Lvovich, with his wife, Countess Sophia Nicholaievna, and Count Leo Lvovich, with his wife, the Countess Dora Fedorovna.

124. The Dutchman, Van-der-Veer, refused military service, as he declared in his letter to the Commander of the National Guard, on the grounds that he hated every kind of murder of men as well as of animals, especially[325] murder at the order of other people. The military authorities sentenced him to three months’ solitary confinement. Later Van-der-Veer for several years published a magazine with a Christian tendency called Vrede.

125. Van-der-Veer’s letter, with the appendix by Tolstoi under the title “The Beginning of the End” was printed in the edition of The Free Press, 1898, England, later in Russia in the Obnovlenia, Petrograd, 1906, which was soon confiscated.

126. Alexandra Mikhailovna Kalmikov, a noted worker for popular education, who turned to Tolstoi with the request that he express himself in regard to the order then given by the Minister of the Interior to close the committees on illiteracy. In answer to her letter, Tolstoi expressed his opinion about the activity of the Russian Government in general and about the methods of resisting it used by the Liberals. His answer, under the title of “A Letter to the Liberals,” in revised form was printed in full in the publication of The Free Press: “Concerning the Attitude Towards the State” (England, 1898) and with omissions in the publication of Obnovlenia (Petrograd, 1906,) which was confiscated.

127. Ioga’s Philosophy. Lectures on Rajah Ioga or Conquering Internal Nature, by Swâmi Vivekânanda, New York, 1896.

128. “The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles,” discovered in 1883. A document of the Christian literature of the First Centuries. Tolstoi translated it from the Greek and twice wrote a preface to it: in 1885 and twenty years later, in 1905. The passage mentioned in the Journal reads this way: “It is not good to love only those[326] who love you. Heathens do the same. They love their own and hate their enemies and therefore they have enemies, but you should love those who hate you and then you will have no enemies.”

129. Daniel Pavlovich Konissi, a Japanese, converted to the Greek Church, who studied in the Kiev Theological Academy, then came to Moscow and here made the acquaintance of Tolstoi. Later he became professor in the University in Kioto. Translated Lao-Tze from the Chinese into the Russian (this translation was printed at first in Problems of Philosophy and Psychology and later in separate pamphlet, Lao-Se, Tao-Te-King, Moscow, 1913.) For D. P. Konissi see article of I. Alexeev, “The Skies Are Different—the People Are the Same” (in the paper, Nov, 1914, No. 154.)

About the Japanese who visited him, Tolstoi wrote to Countess S. A. Tolstoi, September 26th: “This morning the Japanese arrived. Very interesting, fully educated, original and intelligent and free-thinking. One an editor of a paper, evidently a very rich man and an aristocrat there, no longer young; the other one, a little man, young, his assistant, also a literary man” (Letters of Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, page 507).

130. Peter Vasilevich Verigin, the leader of the Dukhobors, when in exile in the town of Obdorsk, in the province of Tobolsk, wrote to Tolstoi about his life and expounded his views on the printing of books. Tolstoi’s reply, written on October 14, 1896, in which he answered the objections of Verigin against the printing of books, was printed in the book, The Letters of the Dukhobor Leader, P. V. Verigin, published by The Free Press, 1901,[327] England. See also the letter of P. V. Verigin on his acquaintance with Tolstoi printed in the International Tolstoi Almanac compiled by P. A. Sergienko (issued by Kniga, 1909).

131. Further in Tolstoi’s manuscript, one page has been crossed out. A note by M. L. Obolensky in the copy in possession of the editors.

132. This letter was printed at first in an issue of The Free Press, No. 8, 1898, England, and later in Russia in Obnovlenia, Petrograd, 1906, and was confiscated.

133. Brother of Tolstoi, Count S. N. Tolstoi.

134. A peasant of the province of Kharkov in the district of Sumsk, Peter Vasilevich Olkhovik. Refused military service October 15, 1895, at recruiting, in the city of Bielopolie, province of Kharkov. Was sentenced by the Vladivostok military court to three years in a disciplinary battalion. The letters of Olkhovik to his relatives and acquaintances about his refusal were published by The Free Press, 1897, England, and in 1906 in Russia by Obnoblenia (and were confiscated). Influenced by Olkhovic, the private, Cyril Sereda, also refused military service, with whom Olkhovic became friendly on the steamer on the way to Siberia, where he was appointed for service. Both of them were turned over to the Irkutsk disciplinary battalions. Tolstoi’s letter to the commanding officer of the regiment, in which he asks him “as a Christian and as a kind man to have pity on these people ...” was printed at first also in The Free Press and afterwards in various publications in Russia. (See the Complete Works of Tolstoi, published by Sytin:[328] subscribed edition, Volume XX, popular edition, Volume XXII.) On the effect that Tolstoi’s letter produced on the officer of the regiment, Tolstoi himself wrote the following in a letter to P. A. Boulanger, March 29, 1898: “Recently I was surprised, and very pleasantly, by a letter from a man exiled administratively from Verkholensk, who writes that the commanding officer of the disciplinary battalion in Irkutsk openly told Olkhovich and Sereda that my appeal for them saved them from corporal punishment and shortened their sentence. Let a thousand letters pass in vain: if but one has such a result, then one ought to write unceasingly.” The fate of P. V. Olkhovich was as follows: From the disciplinary battalion he was exiled for eighteen years to the district of Yakutsk, where he lived together with the exiled Dukhobors until 1905, when together with them he went to America. At the present moment he is living in California.

135. Edward Carpenter, a noted contemporary English thinker, some of whose works Tolstoi valued highly. Carpenter’s article, “Contemporary Science,” was later translated into Russian by Countess Tolstoi and printed with a preface by Tolstoi in the magazine Sieverni Viestnik (1898, No. 3), later it was issued separately (Posrednik, Moscow, 1911).

136. Count Sergei Lvovich Tolstoi (born, 1863), eldest son of Tolstoi.

137. To the Ekaterinograd disciplinary battalion were sentenced the Dukhobors (41 in number) who had refused military service, while being in actual military service ... See The Dukhobors in the Disciplinary Regiment, published by The Free Press, 1902, England,[329] where was printed also the letter of Tolstoi to the commanding officer of the regiment. Stating those religious convictions of the Dukhobors for which they suffered persecutions and calling their acts ..., Tolstoi asked the commanding officer to do all that he could to lighten their fate. The letter of Tolstoi produced a softening effect on the commanding officer.

138. Vladimir Vasilevich Stasov (1824–1906), a critic of art and music and the librarian of the Imperial Public Library in Petrograd, a friend of the Tolstoi family. When, after Stasov’s death, his friend, the sculptor, I. Y. Ginzburg, asked Tolstoi to write his recollections of him, in the compilation, “To The Memory of V. V. Stasov,” Tolstoi in his letter of November 7, 1907, replied that it was difficult for him to write about Stasov on account of “the misunderstanding” which had taken place between them: “the misunderstanding consisted in that Vladimir Vasilevich Stasov loved and valued prejudicially in me that which I did not value and could not value in myself, and in his goodness forgave me that which I valued and value in myself above everything else,—that by which I lived and live. With every other man such a misunderstanding would lead, if not to hostility then to a coolness, but the gentle, kind, spontaneous, warm nature of Vladimir Vasilevich and at the same time, his childlike clarity, was such, that I could not help succumbing to his influence and loving him without any thought of the difference of our points of view. I shall always remember our good friendly relationship with emotion.”

139. Nicholai Nicholaievich Gay, the son of the old friend of Tolstoi, N. N. Gay.


140. These thoughts were called forth in Tolstoi by a letter received on October, 1896, from V. V. Rakhmanov, who, being acquainted with this work of Tolstoi, found it written in a cold and didactic tone and advised Tolstoi to abandon it.

141. See Journal, Oct. 20, 1896. Thoughts 9 and 10.

142. This served as a beginning to Tolstoi’s book, What Is Art? completed by him only in 1898.

143. The initials I. G. C. in the original.

144. The Spaniard, Demetrio Zanini, wrote from Barcelona to Tolstoi that the members of a certain club, who were his admirers, decided to offer him a present of a splendid inkwell, money for the purchase of which was being collected by subscription. At the request of Tolstoi, his daughter, Tatiana Lvovna, wrote to Zanini, saying that he preferred this money to be used for some good work. In answer to this, Zanini informed Tolstoi that they had already collected about 22,500 francs. Tolstoi explained in a letter to him the miserable condition of the Dukhobors and suggested using the money collected for their help.

145. A close friend of Tolstoi, Senator Alexander Mickailovich Kuzminsky, president at this time of the St. Petersburg District Court. The finance-Minister, S. Y. Witte, wanted to communicate with Tolstoi through A. M. Kuzminsky, hoping to call forth his approval in the matter of his introducing the government sale of vodka and the founding of temperance societies. Tolstoi’s letter to A. M. Kuzminsky, in which he answered Witte’s proposal in the negative, with the omission of the harsh opinions concerning General Dragomirov (the author[331] of the periodical, The Soldier’s Manual, which was being displayed in the barracks) was printed in the bulletin of the Tolstoi Museum Society, 1911, Nos. 3 to 5.

146. This article has remained unfinished and up to the present has not been printed anywhere.

147. Ilya Efimovich Repine, an old acquaintance of Tolstoi and one of his most favourite Russian painters. On the occasion of the celebration of his twenty-fifth year of artistic work, I. E. Repine wrote a letter in the Novoe Vremia, 1896, No. 7435, Nov. 7th, expressing gratitude to all those who honoured him, in which among other things he said, when comparing the work of artists with the work of teachers, officials, bookmakers, doctors, agricultural workers, “We are the lucky ones, our work is play.”

148. Ivan Michailovich Tregubov, a friend and follower of Tolstoi, later a noted student of religious sects.

149. Ivan Ivanovich Gorbunov (Posadov), an adherent of Tolstoi’s views and a close friend of his; an active contributor and from 1897 the editor-publisher of Posrednik, and his brother, Nicholai Ivanovich, a performer (pianist and reader).

150. Paul Alexandrovich Boulanger, a friend and adherent of Tolstoi’s views, author of several works on Oriental religions published by Posrednik.

151. Gabriel Andreevich Rusanov (1844 to 1907), friend and adherent of Tolstoi’s views; a small landowner in the province of Voronezh. Until 1884 he was a member of the Kharkov district court. In his will, among other things, he wrote the following: “Already at the age of fourteen or fifteen (now I am about fifty-seven)[332] I ceased to be Orthodox and lived until the age of thirty-eight as an atheist. At thirty-eight, thanks to the greatest of men, Leo Tolstoi, I acquired faith in God and believed in the teaching of Christ. Tolstoi gave me happiness. I became a Christian.” For several decades G. A. Rusanov was confined to his arm-chair with an incurable disease—consumption of the spinal cord; notwithstanding his illness, he preserved his full freshness of mind up to the end of his life, reading much and being possessed of a rich memory. A splendid student in Russian and foreign literature, and noted for his extraordinary artistic instinct, Tolstoi valued his opinions, especially in regard to his own literary writings.

152. Alexander Borisovich Goldenweiser, friend and follower of Tolstoi, professor in the Moscow Conservatory. Tolstoi valued his piano playing highly and loved it very much. Towards the end of Tolstoi’s life, A. B. Goldenweiser visited him often and took a close interest in his life. In 1910, according to Tolstoi’s wish, he acted in the capacity of witness to his will.

153. Chromatic phantasy and fugue by Bach.

154. Anton Stepanovich Arensky (1861–1906), a celebrated Russian composer, later personally acquainted with Tolstoi.

155. See Note 144. Receiving a letter from Zanini that the collection reached to 31,500 francs, Tolstoi in his letter to him of December 6, 1896, asked that this money be transferred through the Tiflis bank to his Caucasian friends, who were in charge of helping the Dukhobors. At the end of his letter he wrote that he was[333] touched by “this sign of sympathy” which the Spaniards expressed for him in this unusual way. This money, though, was never received by Tolstoi, nor was the inkwell. (See Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, page 516.)

156. This story of F. F. Tistchenko under the title, Daily Bread (A true tale of the sufferings of a village School teacher), was printed with a letter of Tolstoi in Knizhki Nedieli, 1897, No. 10, and later in the collection of Tales by Tistchenko.

157. Princess Gorchakov, a distant relative of Tolstoi, a lady-in-waiting, and principal of one of the Moscow gymnasiums.

158. Anatol Fedorovich Koni, a well-known jurist, a member of the Imperial Council and a writer. Became acquainted with Tolstoi in the eighties and wrote recollections of him (see his book, On the Path of Life, Volume II, 1913). He gave Tolstoi the theme for Resurrection (see Note 23).

159. Maria Fedorovna Kudriavtsev, an adherent of Tolstoi’s views.

160. The Appeal, under the title Help, was written and signed by P. I. Biriukov, I. M. Tregubov and V. G. Chertkov. This was an appeal to society to render assistance to the persecuted Dukhobors “by money sacrifices, so as to ease the sufferings of the old, the sick and the young, as well as by lifting one’s voice in defence of the persecuted.” The Appeal was spread by the authors in manuscript and in typewritten copies and among other things was delivered to many persons of high position.[334] Tolstoi wrote the appendix to it, in which he explained the significance of the act of the Dukhobors towards the realisation of Christianity in our life. Help! was printed with Tolstoi’s appendix by The Free Press (1897, England). The appendix is printed also in the Full Collected Works of Tolstoi, published by Sytin, subscribed edition, Volume XVI, popular edition, Volume XIX.

161. The editors were unable to ascertain the author of the history of music which Tolstoi was reading.

162. Jean Batiste Faure, the celebrated French singer and composer (in the second half of the Nineteenth Century), author of Tolstoi’s favourite duet, “The Crucifix.”

163. Vasili Stepanovich Perfileev, a former Moscow Governor, a friend of Tolstoi in the fifties and sixties, and a distant relative of the Tolstois.

164. An omission in the copy in possession of the editors.

165. This theme was not executed by Tolstoi. A work under a similar title begun by him in 1883 was printed in Volume III of The Posthumous Literary Works of Tolstoi, issued by A. L. Tolstoi.

166. Katiusha Maslov and Nekhliudov, the principal characters of the novel.

167. Alexander Ivanovich Arkhangelsky (1857–1906), an adherent of Tolstoi’s views, about whom after his death in the letter of October 26, 1906, Tolstoi wrote: “This was one of the best men I ever happened to know in my life.” A. I. Arkhangelsky was a veterinary surgeon in the district of Bronnitsk, Province of Moscow. Later, becoming acquainted with the works of Tolstoi, he left his position, considering it impossible to apply against the[335] peasants the compulsory measures required of him as veterinary surgeon, and became a watch-maker, by which he supported himself until his death. His work, Whom to Serve? is devoted to explaining the question of the incompatibility ... with the service to God. When he read this work in manuscript in 1895, Tolstoi wrote Arkhangelsky that “it will do the people much good and will advance the word of God.” This work was issued only in 1911 in the Russian language by the publishing house, “Vozrozhdenie,” in Bourgas (Bulgaria). The same publishing house issued a biography of A. I. Arkhangelsky compiled by Kh. N. Abrikosov. Extracts from Whom to Serve signed by the pseudonym, “Buka,” were printed by Tolstoi in The Reading Circle. It should be also mentioned that the publication of the Veterinary Manual compiled by Arkhangelsky was suspended at one time by the censor, who demanded that it include the compulsory regulations. Protesting against this, Arkhangelsky wrote a remarkable letter to I. I. Gorbunov which Tolstoi included in his Archives of L. N. Tolstoi, No. 5. This letter formed the basis of the article, “Whom To Serve.” Later the veterinary manual was issued by Posrednik.

168. Prince Ilya Petrovich Nakashidze, a Georgian writer, a close adherent of Tolstoi’s ideas.

169. Tolstoi had the intention of writing (but did not write) an introduction to the Russian translation of the Philosophical Work of A. A. Spier, which was to have appeared in Problems of Philosophy and Psychology.

170. Tolstoi was considering at this time an appeal against the existing social-political order.


171. An omission in the copy in possession of the editors.

172. Stepan Andreevich Behrs, Tolstoi’s brother-in-law, author of Recollections About Count L. N. Tolstoi (Smolensk, 1894), now dead.

173. V. G. Chertkov and P. I. Biriukov, and later also I. M. Tregubov, were exiled after a search of their homes: V. G. Chertkov abroad—P. I. Biriukov to Bausk in Courland, and I. M. Tregubov to Goldingen, also in Courland. The cause of exiling was the writing of an appeal to help the persecuted Dukhobors (see Note 160) and their activity in behalf of the Dukhobors and the persecuted sects in general. See the memoirs of P. I. Biriukov, “The Story of My Exile,” printed in the publication O Minuvshen (Petrograd, 1909). These memoirs contain several letters by Tolstoi to Biriukov.

174. Tolstoi went to take leave of the Chertkovs who were then living in Petrograd.

175. Nicholai Alexandrovich Yaroshenko (1846–1898), a well-known artist, to whose brush belongs also the portrait of Tolstoi, painted in 1895.

176. Countess Alexandra Andreevna Tolstoi (1817–1904), a second cousin of Tolstoi, lady-in-waiting to the Empress. Tolstoi in his youth was on friendly terms with her. His correspondence with the Countess A. A. Tolstoi, with the addition of a memoir by her, was published by the Tolstoi Museum Society, Petrograd, 1911. In reference to this meeting with her, mentioned by Tolstoi in the Journal, see the memoirs (pages 71, 72 of the above mentioned publication). About this same meeting[337] and about the visit to Petrograd in general, Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov the following (February 15, 1897): “St. Petersburg gave me a most joyous impression. Of course the principal thing was the meeting at your house. The depressing impression was my conversation with A. A. Tolstoi. The terrible thing was not only the coldness, but the cruelty and the forcing oneself into one’s soul and the violence, the very same which had estranged us. What a bad belief it is, which makes good people so cruel and therefore so insensible to the spiritual condition of others. Believe word for word as I do, otherwise if you are not exactly my enemy, still you are a stranger.” It should be noted that from the autumn of 1895, for the course of several years, Tolstoi did not write at all to the Countess A. A. Tolstoi.

177. In considering Tolstoi’s opinions concerning women found in the Journal, one should be particularly careful to avoid misunderstanding. First, Tolstoi, wishing from natural delicacy to make his remarks impersonal, often generalised his private impressions and observations from intercourse with separate individuals, and therefore these remarks in reality carried no reflection whatever against all women in general.

Second, even in those instances where Tolstoi consciously expressed himself adversely about women in general, he had in mind the most commonplace modern woman with her adverse qualities.

But in his mind he absolutely discriminated in favour of the intelligent, religious woman whom seldom he happened to meet in life and who always attracted his attention. So, for instance, he valued very highly the distant[338] relative who brought him up, T. A. Ergolsky, for her self-sacrificing life; Mmes. M. A. Schmidt and L. F. Annenkov he respected for their true religious lives, and among the women writers he especially valued an American, Lucy Mallory, for her exceptional writings, from which he selected many thoughts for The Reading Circle. For women of this type he always had the greatest respect, recognising fully their merits and their great significance to humanity. In his literary works, Tolstoi, as is known, frequently reproduced the highest type of woman (for instance, Pashenka in Father Sergius, or the old woman, Maria Semenovna in The Forged Coupon). Also in his other writings, Tolstoi did not always express himself adversely about women, as can be seen, for instance, from the following extracts:

“Oh, how I would like to show to woman the whole significance of chaste women. The chaste woman (not in vain is the legend of Mary) will save the world.” (Journal, August 3, 1898.)

“One of the most necessary tasks of humanity consists in the bringing up of chaste women.” (Journal, August 24, 1898.)

“The virtues of men and women are the same; temperance, truthfulness, kindness; but in the woman, these same virtues attain a special charm.” (The Reading Circle, June 2.)

“Men cannot do that highest, best work, which brings men more than anything else nearer to God—the work of love, the work of complete self-surrender to him whom you love, which good women have done so well and so naturally, are doing, and will do. What would happen[339] to the world, what would happen to us men, if women had not that quality and if they did not exercise it ... Without mothers, helpers, friends, comforters, who love in a man all that is best in him, and who with a suggestion hardly to be noticed, call forth and support all the best in him—without such women it would be bad to live in this world. Christ would not have had Mary and Magdalene; Francis of Assisi would not have had Clara; the Decembrists would not have had their wives with them in exile; the Dukhobors would not have had their wives who did not hold their husbands back, but supported them in their martyrdom for truth, there would not have been those thousands and thousands of unknown women, the very best, as everything that is unknown, the comforters of the drunken, the weak, the debauched, those for whom the consolations of love are more necessary than for any one else. In this love, whether it is directed to Kukin or to Christ, is the principal, great and irreplaceable strength of women.” (Appendix to Chekhov’s story, Dushechka.)

178. On Life—a religious-philosophic work by Tolstoi, written by him in 1887 and printed in all his collected works. An abbreviation of this work and an exposition of it written in simple language for plain readers was made by an American, Bolton Hall, and was approved by Tolstoi and printed under the title, Life, Love and Death. Later a translation of this under the title, True Life, appeared in an issue of the Ethical Artistic Library, Moscow, 1899. See article of Bolton Hall in the International Tolstoi Almanac compiled by P. A. Sergienko (Kniga, 1909).


179. See Letters of L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, pages 518 to 519.

180. Tolstoi made a mistake of one year: the battle against the Caucasian mountaineers in which he took part in the capacity of an artillerist, took place February 18, 1853. (See P. Biriukov’s Biography of Tolstoi, Volume I, page 226.) Nine years after the above mentioned note, February 18, 1903, Tolstoi wrote to Rusanov: “To-day it is fifty-three years since hostile enemy shells struck the wheel of that cannon which I directed. If the muzzle of the gun from which the shell emerged had deviated 1-10,000ths of an inch to one side or another, I would have been killed and I would no longer have lived. What nonsense. I would have existed in a form now inconceivable to me.”

181. What Is Art?

182. Matthew Arnold (1822–1888), a well-known English poet, critic and student of literature. Shortly before his death, Arnold printed an article in The Fortnightly Review, devoted to the critical analysis of Anna Karenin and some of the religious philosophic writings of Tolstoi. (See Novoe Vremia, December 11, 1887, the article, “An English Critic on Leo Tolstoi.”) The thought quoted by Tolstoi was expressed by Arnold in his article, “The Problems of Modern Criticisms” (a Russian translation was issued by Posrednik). Tolstoi valued the writings of Arnold highly, especially his book, Literature and Dogma, of which a Russian translation was published by Posrednik under the title, Wherein Lies the Essence of Christianity and Judaism (Moscow, 1907).


183. Tolstoi, for the sake of an airing, rode about ten versts to a dressmaker, for the dress of Nadezhda Mikhailovna Yushkova.

184. Jules and Leo Edwardovich Konius, the violinist and the pianist.

185. Countess T. L. Tolstoi and Count Mikhail Adamovich Olsuphiev performed two small plays, Feminine Nonsense by I. L. Stcheglov and The Lady Agreeable In All Respects.

186. According to the copy in possession of the editors.

187. Evidently a mistake in the copy in possession of the editors. This extract refers not to Book VII, but to Book VI of Politics. The quotation cited by Tolstoi reads in the Russian translation of Prof. S. A. Zhebelev in this way: “In a state enjoying the best organisation, and uniting in itself men absolutely just, and not relatively just (in relation to this or that political system), the citizens should not lead a life such as is led by craftsmen or merchants (such a life is ignoble and is contrary to virtue); the citizens of the state planned by us should likewise not be agricultural workers, because they will be in need of leisure for the development of their virtue.” Aristotle’s Politics: Works of the Petrograd Philosophic Society, Petrograd, 1911, pages 318, 319.

188. An omission in the copy in possession of the editors.

189. The editor knows nothing about the acquaintanceship of Tolstoi with Madame Shorin.

190. Countess A. M. Olsuphiev, who had been on friendly terms with Tolstoi. In a note to V. G. Chertkov,[342] written on a piece of proof of Resurrection, June 8, 1899, Tolstoi communicated: “I have a sorrow. Anna Mikhailovna Olsuphiev died.”

191. A village near Nicholskoe, as well as the village Shelkovo, mentioned below.

192. A young lively girl, whom Tolstoi met at the Chertkovs’ when they lived in the summer of 1896 near Yasnaya Polyana. Being arrested on suspicion of revolutionary activity and imprisoned in the fortress of Peter and Paul, she committed suicide by setting herself on fire.

In the letter to V. G. Chertkov, Tolstoi wrote:

“In Petersburg on February 12th the following occurred: Vietrova, Maria Fedosievna, whom you know and whom I knew, a student confined in the House of Detention before Trial in the strike case, little connected with it, was transferred to the fortress of Peter and Paul. There, as they say and surmise, after inquiry and violation (that is still unestablished) she poured kerosene on herself, set fire to it and on the third day died. Her comrades who visited her, kept on bringing her things, which were accepted, and only after two weeks, were they told that she had burnt herself. The youth, all the students, up to three thousand persons (there were some also from the Theological Seminary) gathered in the Kazan Cathedral for the service of the dead. They were not permitted, but they themselves began to sing “Eternal Memory” and with wreaths, intended to march on the Nevsky Prospect, but were not permitted, and they went along Kazan Street. Their names were taken and they were let free. Every one is indignant. I[343] receive letters and people come and tell me about it. I feel great pity for all who take part in these affairs, and I have a greater and greater desire to explain to people how they ruin themselves simply because they neglect that law (or they do not know it) which was given by Christ and which frees from such deeds and from the participation in them.”

Tolstoi approached A. F. Koni for advice, whether it were possible to publish what was authentically known about this terrible case, and secondly about “what to do in order to resist” this kind of event?

193. Two lines crossed out by Tolstoi. A note by M. L. Obolensky in the copy in possession of the editors.

194. The Englishman, Aylmer Maude, translator of many works of Tolstoi into English. The agricultural colony which Tolstoi mentions was being founded at that time in England in the town of Purleigh in Essex. Maude settled in the neighbourhood of the colony and supported it materially. Maude himself and several representatives of this colony visited Tolstoi at this time. He wrote and published in England, a biography of Tolstoi, The Life of Tolstoi, by Aylmer Maude, two volumes, London, 1908 to 1910. Unfortunately this most detailed biography of Tolstoi in English, contains among other things the most perverted information about Tolstoi and an absolutely incorrect interpretation of his views, as well as of some of his acts. Tolstoi himself, learning before his death of the contents of some of these chapters which were sent to Yasnaya Polyana in manuscript, found the interpretation of the relation among people near to him so incorrect that he wrote about it to Maude.


195. I. M. Tregubov, sentenced to exile by administrative order, was living in the Caucasus among the Dukhobors, far from the centres of administration, and remained still free. (See entry of following day.)

196. This search was made in connection with I. M. Tregubov’s things, who was wanted at that time, and which were left by him in A. N. Dunaev’s apartment.

197. That is, in England at the V. G. and A. K. Chertkovs.

198. Further in Tolstoi’s manuscript two pages are cut out. Note of M. L. Obolensky in the copy in possession of the editors.

In reference to the mood during the month mentioned by him as “bad and unproductive” Tolstoi wrote to Chertkov (April 30, 1897): “I will not say that I have been depressed, because when I ask myself, ‘Who am I? For what am I?’ I answer myself satisfactorily, but I have no energy, and I feel as if Lilliputian hairs were laid over me and I have less and less initiative and activity.”

199. In the beginning of June of that year, Tolstoi decided to leave the conditions of his life which tortured him and wrote a letter to his wife about this. But later he changed his mind and on the envelope of this letter made an inscription: “If I will make no special provision about this letter, then give this after my death to S. A.” This letter he gave afterwards for safe-keeping to his son-in-law, Prince N. L. Obolensky, who did deliver it, as was designated, after Tolstoi’s death. At[345] that time it was printed in different publications. (See Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, March, 1913, pages 524 to 526.)

200. In his letter to V. G. Chertkov of July 12, 1896, Tolstoi informed him of his illness: “About a week ago when I began to answer letters, I fell terribly ill with a bilious attack, so that I could only answer one letter. My illness was very painful, but it passed away quickly. I am now vigorous and healthy.”

201. Tolstoi’s daughter, Maria Lvovna, married to Prince N. L. Obolensky.

202. Tolstoi wrote about him to A. C. Chertkov (July 12, 1897): “A young peasant, Shidlovsky, came to me from the province of Kiev, a man with a very lively spirit.”

203. In his letter to Chertkov of July 23, 1897, Tolstoi wrote: “Latterly I have begun again to make entries in the Journal—a sign that I have revived somewhat spiritually and no longer feel myself alone.”

204. William Crookes, a well-known English physicist and chemist, a follower of spiritualism. A detailed report about this speech was printed in the Novoe Vremia of 1897, under the title, “On the Relativity of Human Knowledge.”

205. M. P. Novikov gave Tolstoi his notes, through his brother, in which he described all the persecutions which he had to undergo for his friendship with Tolstoi. The notes up to this time have not yet been printed.

206. Paul Carus, editor of a Chicago magazine, The Open Court, devoted to the scientific explanation of religious[346] questions. (See his article, “A Tribute to Tolstoi,” printed in the International Tolstoi Almanac, compiled by P. A. Sergienko, Kniga, 1909.)

207. Evgenie Ivanovich Popov, friend and adherent of Tolstoi’s ideas, author of the book, The Life and Death of E. N. Drozhin (see Note 38), several other works on vegetarianism, the simple life, mathematics, etc.

208. The family of Count I. L. Tolstoi.

209. Vasili Vasilevich Longinov, later Rector of the Kharkov Theological Seminary.

210. In a letter to the Chertkovs of August 8, 1897, Tolstoi wrote: “I feel weak also from the fact, that we have a pile of visitors here ... all this wastes time and strength and is useless. I thirst terribly for silence and peace. How happy I would be if I could end my days in solitude and principally, in conditions, not repulsive and torturing to my conscience. But it seems that it is necessary. At least, I know no way out.”

211. Peter Alexeevich Bulakhov, a peasant from the province of Smolensk, belonging to the sect of the Old-Believers, the followers of which avoid military service.

212. Mikhail Alexandrovich Stakhovich, afterwards a member of the Council of Empire, an old friend of the Tolstoi family, and probably his sister, Sophia Alexandrovna, or his brother, Alexander Alexandrovich (1858–1915).

213. Probably—Vasili Alexeevich Maklakov, a well-known lawyer, afterwards a member of the Duma, and his brother, Alexei Alexeevich, a well-known Moscow physician.


214. Ilya Yakovlovich Ginsburg, a well-known Russian sculptor, who made several busts and statues of Tolstoi.

Mikhail Nicholaievich Sobolev, instructor in the Moscow University, living at this time with the Tolstois as a teacher to Count M. L. Tolstoi.

N. A. Kasatkin, a well-known Russian painter.

215. In regard to this letter of the Japanese, Tolstoi in a letter of August 8, 1897, wrote: “Recently I received a letter from Crosby with an enclosure of a letter from a Japanese who lived with him in New York. The Japanese read The Gospel in Brief, and writes that it explained to him the meaning of life and that he is now going home to Japan, in order to apply these beliefs to his life and to the life of others and to establish settlements there. A splendid letter which touched me deeply and gave me joy. The same truth evidently is accessible and necessary to every one.”

216. Count L. L. Tolstoi (born in 1869), Tolstoi’s third son, and his wife, the Princess Dora Fedorovna (born Westerlund).

217. B. N. Leontev, at one time calling himself a follower of Tolstoi, committed suicide in 1909.

218. In the Russkia Viedomosti (No. 211, 1897), in the report of the missionary congress which took place in Kazan in August, 1897, in which many high representatives of the hierarchy participated, it was stated among other things, that for combating the spread of sects and dissensions, the congress considered it necessary to adopt the following measures: To forbid the dissenters to open schools for their children and to close all the schools[348] existing at the present moment; to declare the adherence to a particularly obnoxious sect as a compromising circumstance and to thus give the right to peasant communities to expel from their midst members discovered as belonging to an obnoxious sect and to exile them to Siberia. For the sake of combating dissensions and sects, still other measures were suggested and discussed at the congress, which among others were: The soliciting of the passing of a law, by which it would be possible to take away by force the children of the dissenters and sectarians, and the establishing of asylums in every diocese for bringing them up in the orthodox faith.... The Archbishop of Riazan, Meletie, called the attention of the congress to another very important measure, and to his mind, a very useful one for the success of missionary work: the confiscation of the property of the dissenters and sectarians.

219. P. A. Boulanger was sent abroad for continuing the affair of helping the Dukhobors, for which V. G. Chertkov, P. I. Biriukov and I. M. Tregubov were exiled before him.

220. In his letter to the Swedish papers (not yet printed in Russia) Tolstoi wrote that the Nobel prize ought to be awarded to the Dukhobors, as people who have done their utmost towards the establishment of universal peace. This letter, dated August 27, 1898, was printed in P. I. Biriukov’s paper: Svobodnaia Mysl (Geneva), No. 4, 1899.

221. Arthur St. John, an Englishman, a former officer in the India service, came to Moscow to deliver the money[349] donated for the benefit of the Dukhobors by English Quakers. Wishing to come into personal relation with the Dukhobors, he went to the Caucasus, where he was arrested and sent out of Russia. Later, he went with the Dukhobors to America and lived with them a long time.

222. The Molokans, from the province of Samara, district of Buzuluk, came twice (in April and September, 1897) to Tolstoi to ask him that he help them get back the children taken from them by the police and placed in orthodox monasteries. (See Tolstoi’s letter about this to the editor of the Peterburgskaia Viedomosti, printed in that paper in October, 1897, and reprinted in the Collected Works of Tolstoi, edited by Sytin, Popular Edition, Volume XXII. See also, article of A. S. Prugavin, “Leo Tolstoi and the Malakans of Samara,” in his book, On Leo Tolstoi and the Tolstoians, Moscow, 1911.)

223. About the children taken away from the Molokans. The rough draft of this letter is now in the Petrograd Tolstoi Museum.

224. Count A. V. Olsuphiev, Adjutant General. In letters to him and to the two other persons mentioned below, Tolstoi asked their collaboration in freeing from the monasteries, the children taken from the Molokans.

225. Charles Heath. An Englishman now dead, a former instructor of English language and literature in a law school, and later one of the tutors of the Emperor, Nicholas II.

226. Mme. E. I. Chertkov, the widow of an Adjutant[350] General, a well-known follower of the “Evangelist” teaching or what is known as The Pashkov Evangelist Doctrine. The mother of V. G. Chertkov.

227. The Swede, Langlet, who previously had given detailed information to Tolstoi about the Nobel prize. He was a guest at Yasnaya Polyana at this time.

228. The last sentence was marked off in the original.

229. To V. G. Chertkov, during the time of his enforced two-year sojourn abroad, Tolstoi from time to time actually sent extracts of his Journal. But in general, Tolstoi, for reasons which will be given at the proper time and place, found it later necessary to change his decision not to give his Journal to be copied in its entirety to any one; the confirmation of this can be found in the fact that the present issue of the Journal is being printed from a transcript made according to Tolstoi’s wishes. When V. G. Chertkov returned to Russia, Tolstoi continually gave him his Journals to copy in their entirety.

230. In the letter to A. C. Chertkov of October 13, 1897, Tolstoi wrote: “How many people are there with whom one does not speak unreservedly, because you know that they are drunk. Some are drunk with greed, some with vanity, some with love, some simply with drugs. Lord forfend us from these intoxications. These intoxications place no worse boundaries between people than religion, patriotism, aristocracy do, and prevent that union which God desires.”

231. V. G. Chertkov lived through hard times in England; his condition naturally reflected itself upon his[351] family, among which number was his sister-in-law, O. K. Dieterichs, who was their guest at this time.

232. Tolstoi sent to the editor of the Peterburgskaia Viedomosti a letter in regard to the children taken away from the Samara Molokans, and about those measures which were suggested as a means of fighting the sectarians and Old-Believers which were made in the missionary congress in Kazan. This letter was printed in No. 282, of October 15th.

233. Protestant ministers of various localities in Holland: L. A. Beller, A. De-Kuh and I-Kh. Klein, at a meeting in Grevenhagen, definitely expressed themselves against war and military service.

234. N took an adverse attitude to Chertkov’s social work among Englishmen. Chertkov fell ill with pneumonia.

235. To Moscow to be copied.

236. V. D. Liapunov (1873–1905), peasant-poet of Tula. Working in Tula, Liapunov in the autumn of 1897 came to Tolstoi that he judge his poetry. Tolstoi was very much pleased with the poems, contrary to his custom, for in general he did not like poetry. Tolstoi proposed that Liapunov stay in his house to help copy his manuscripts.

237. Afanasi Aggeev, a free-thinking peasant from the village of Kaznacheevka, 4 versts from Yasnaya Polyana. In 1903 he was sentenced by the Tula District Court to exile in Siberia for life for the public utterance of words insulting to the Orthodox Faith. He died in 1908.

238. N. Y. Grot (1852–1899), professor at the Moscow[352] University, author of numerous articles on philosophic questions and editor of the magazine, Problems of Philosophy and Psychology. Tolstoi submitted his work, What Is Art? to Grot to be printed in his magazine. Shortly before his death, at the request of Grot’s brother, Tolstoi wrote his recollections about him, which were printed, together with his letter to Grot, in the compilation, N. Y. Grot, in Sketches, Recollections and Letters by Comrades and Pupils, Friends and Admirers, Petrograd, 1911, and in the Full Collected Works of L. N. Tolstoi, issued by Sytin, subscribed edition, Volume XV; Popular Edition, Volume XXIV.

239. A. P. Ivanov (died 1912), ex-officer and old scribe, with whom Tolstoi became acquainted at the time of the census of 1862, having found him among the Moscow tramps. He led a vagabond life, coming or tramping from time to time to Yasnaya Polyana to help Tolstoi copy his manuscripts.

240. Prince D. A. Khilkov (1858–1915), who at this time was in accord with Tolstoi in several questions of a more external nature, formerly an officer of the Hussars and afterwards of the Cossacks, a landlord in the district of Sumsk, province of Kharkov. In the eighties, he resigned from military service and sold for a trifle his 400 dessiatines of land, the only personal property he had at the time, to the peasants of the village of Pavlovok; in 1889, on account of his propaganda against religion, he was exiled by administrative order to Zakavkaz. In 1893 Khilkov and his wife suffered a great sorrow: their children were taken away from them by order of the government (following the manipulations of Khilkov’s[353] mother), and they were given over to this lady for bringing up, she having absolutely no sympathy with the opinions of her son. Afterwards, when a strong movement among the Dukhobors began in the Caucasus, Khilkov was sent over to the Baltic Provinces, where he lived up to 1899, at which time it was decided that he be sent abroad. In his sojourn abroad, his convictions underwent a change to the side of the violent revolutionaries. But when Khilkov returned to Russia in 1905, he absolutely abstained from every political activity. In the beginning of the Russian-German War, Khilkov entered the army as a volunteer and in October, 1914, was killed at Lvov (Lemberg).

241. A peasant from Yasnaya Polyana, now dead, who was well-lettered and loved to read.

242. The clergy who came carried the icon to the churches, in the parish of which stood Yasnaya Polyana. According to the order of the clergy, the elder of Yasnaya Polyana called a village meeting and ordered every one to go to church and meet the icon which was afterwards carried from house to house in all the households of the village. Concerning Tolstoi and the icon, see his letter to Countess S. A. Tolstoi, which evidently by mistake is dated 1898 (Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, page 558).

243. N. N. Miklukha-Maklai (1847–1887), a well-known Russian traveller, living many years among the Tuzemts of New Guinea and other islands. In his letter to Miklukha-Maklai in the middle of the eighties, Tolstoi wrote that he considered him remarkable, not for what every one else considered him remarkable, but that[354] “he could find manifestations of humanity among the wildest men on the globe.”

244. Such a type was afterwards portrayed by Tolstoi in his story The Forged Coupon, under the name of the housekeeper, Vasili. (See Posthumous Literary Works of L. N. Tolstoi, issued by A. L. Tolstoi, Volume I.)

245. Every group of people is always inferior to the elements which compose it.

246. The work by M. O. Menshikov, Concerning Holy Love and Sex Love, was printed in Knizhki Nedieli in 1897, No. 11. In Chapters IV and V of this work, Menshikov wrote about the struggle of the two principles: The many-gods and the One-God; Tolstoi was probably pleased with the following lines: “The great teaching about One-God wiped out, together with the idols, the very conception of separate gods; the gods disappeared but their elements—the passions—remained, until now the overwhelming majority of Christians who profess by word in the One-God, in reality bow to a plurality.... (Italics made by the author.) Notwithstanding the thousand year rule of the Gospels, we, in an overwhelming majority are more sincerely idolaters than Christians—of course without suspecting it.... Nihilist, Godless, paganized, the contemporary generation accepts as an undoubted law, that the development of man consists in enlarging the number of needs and refining them to the point of a cult. Is this not a new plurality of gods, an idolatry?”

247. In his book, What Is Art?

248. St. John, Chapter XIV, Verse 2.


249. Chapter I, Verse 24, St. Paul to the Colossians.

250. See letter of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, March, 1913, page 535 (No. 583) and page 537 (No. 585).

251. See letter of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, March, 1913, pages 536–537.

252. About this time Tolstoi wrote to an acquaintance of his: “You know Mme. M. A. Schmidt. She lives near us, straining every effort, notwithstanding her weak health and her age (about 50), to work to support herself. (She constantly helps people) and it is impossible to see her without a softening of the heart and ... envy. She is always joyous, calm and graceful.”

253. In the Novoe Vremia (November 19, 1897, No. 7,806) there appeared an article by V. V. Rozanov: “Graceful Demonism” in which, in an ironical tone, he criticised Menshikov’s article, “On Sex Love,” which was printed in Knizhki Nedieli (1897, Nos. 9–11). In his words later on, Tolstoi speaks of his deeply loved brother, Nickolai Nickolaievich (1823–1860). In his Recollections, Tolstoi relates the incident as follows: “I remember how once, a very stupid and bad man, an Adjutant General, who was hunting with him, laughed at him and how my brother, glancing at me, smiled kindly,” evidently finding great satisfaction in this. (Biriukov, Biography of L. N. Tolstoi, Vol. I, Moscow, 1911, pages 43–44).

254. A. Maude translated What Is Art? into English.

255. The letter of N. Y. Grot is printed, I think, in Tolstoi’s book, What Is Art?


256. Grigori Antonovich Zakharlin (1829–1895), a well-known professor in the Moscow University, in his day, one of the most popular Moscow physicians.

257. Countess Maria Nicholaievna Tolstoi (1830–1912), Tolstoi’s only sister. As a young girl, she married her second cousin, Count V. P. Tolstoi; some time later she separated from him and soon after she became a widow. When her daughters were married (Mme. V. V. Nagornov, Princess E. V. Obolensky and Mme. E. S. Denisenko) Countess Tolstoi, under the influence of the well-known Father Ambrose, of the Optina Desert, entered the convent of Shamordino (in the province of Kaluga) and later took the veil. In this convent she spent the rest of her life.

258. Monk Ambrose, the celebrated holy man of the Optina Desert, died in 1891, at the age of 80. About Tolstoi’s visits to the Optina Desert see fragment of notes made by S. A. Tolstoi under the title My Life (Tolstoi Annual, 1913, Petrograd, 1914).

259. Dushan Petrovich Makovitsky, then editor in Hungary (in Ruzhomberg), of the Slavic publication which corresponded to the publication Posrednik issued in Moscow, in which Tolstoi and some of his friends took a most active interest.

260. In this place, in the original Journal, a page had been entered in Tolstoi’s hand; evidently the beginning of a letter. This was its contents:

“You ask me a question which I now for twenty years have been trying to solve.

“It always seems to us—when the simple truth is that we ought to lead a Christian life, and when it is disclosed[357] to us how terribly far from that life is the life we lead—it always seems to us that we for the moment find ourselves in an exceptionally disadvantageous condition for beginning that new life, which opens itself to us: To one, it is a mother, to another a wife, to a third, children, to a fourth, business; this one bought a bull, or the other has a wedding which interferes from his going to the feast. And we usually say to ourselves, ‘Oh, if it were not so,’—looking at it as on an accidental hindrance and not as on the unavoidable conditions of Christian life, as on the law of gravitation in problems of activity.

“Beauty which discloses to us the kingdom of God blinds us so, that we immediately want to enter it and we forget that this is not the programme of life, but the ideal; and that the programme of life consists in struggle and in effort to attain the kingdom of God, to approach it.

“And when you understand this, then the attitude towards activity is changed....”

261. The village of Dolgoe, province of Tula, district of Krapevensk, nineteen versts from Yasnaya Polyana. The Yasnaya Polyana house in which Tolstoi was born stands there. In the fifties this house was sold to a neighbouring landlord, Gorobov, who took it from Yasnaya Polyana to Dolgoe, where it remained until 1913, when it was destroyed.

262. Nicholai Ilich Storozhenko (1836–1906), professor in the Moscow University, author of numerous books and articles on Russian history and general literature.


263. Tolstoi probably asked N. A. Kasatkin for examples of true art in painting.

264. N’s stories seemed to be about some of the Chertkovs’ difficult experiences in England.

265. Prince S. N. Troubetskoi (1862–1905), professor of philosophy in the Moscow University, took an active part in the magazine, Problems of Philosophy and Psychology, and became after N. Y. Grot’s death, the editor of it. Tolstoi, as was said above, gave his work, What Is Art? to this magazine.

266. Of these subjects Tolstoi, as much as can be judged, made use of the following: the first, Father Sergius, 1898; the second, The Posthumous Memoirs of the Monk, Fedor Kuzmich, 1905; the fourth, Korni Vasiliev, 1905; fifth, The Resurrection of Hell and Its Destruction, 1902; sixth, The Forged Coupon, 1902–1904; seventh, Hadji Murad, 1898, 1902–1904; the tenth, Resurrection, 1898–1899; and the thirteenth, The Divine and the Human, 1903–1904; the twelfth subject, Mother, was begun by Tolstoi in the beginning of the nineties (Introduction to The Story of a Mother, or A Mother’s Notes).

267. It was disagreeable to Tolstoi that the foreign publishers, who wished to print the first edition of his book, What Is Art? made the condition that it should appear everywhere simultaneously and that it should not be published anywhere first, not even in Russia. Tolstoi, being little acquainted with the conditions of foreign publication, did not understand at first how unavoidable these demands were for a simultaneous publication of books in various countries, and he was disagreeably embarrassed[359] that he had to absolutely forbid the appearance of the book in Russia before the day arranged for foreign publication. Later, realising the affair more closely, Tolstoi saw the necessity of these conditions of the publishers.

268. I.e., he entirely finished the work What Is Art? and gave it to Problems of Philosophy and Psychology.

269. V. G. Chertkov, being exiled from Russia, settled in England, where he founded the publication, The Free Press, in which the works of Tolstoi were printed, as well as of authors near to him in point of view which could not be printed in the Russian papers. He also arranged for the translations of the new works of Tolstoi into the important European tongues. The telegram which Tolstoi mentions must have been about the English translation of What is Art?

270. Sofron Pavlovich Chizhov, a peasant from the district of Umansk, in the province of Kiev, because of his spreading of views adverse to the orthodox religion, was exiled by administrative order, first to Poland and then to eastern Siberia. His Memoirs were printed in The Free Press, No. 10, 1904. Tolstoi often wrote to Chizhov in exile, expressing his joy that he bears all oppression “like a man, with patience and with love.” Chizhov has remained in Siberia for life and at present is living near Yakutsk.

271. As in the copy in possession of the editors.

272. See Note 267.

273. In a letter to Chertkov, January 18, 1898, Tolstoi wrote: “Letters with threats have, of course, no effect, but they are unpleasant, in this sense, that there should be[360] people who hate futilely. I am always ready to die and that is the thing. I thought a little while ago: ... that when one is healthy one ought to try to live better on the outside, but when one is ill then learn to die better. Besides, these letters haven’t even this merit: they are so stupidly written that they have been conceived evidently only to frighten.”

274. Concerning this illness, Tolstoi, mentioning it in his letter to the Chertkovs, December 28, 1897, said: “The illness was the usual one, biliousness, and has now passed away.”

275. Tolstoi began and finished this drama only in 1900.

276. Tolstoi’s brother-in-law, A. A. Behrs.

277. Sergei Mickailovich Soloviev (1820–1879), the Russian historian, the father of the philosopher, Vladimir Sergeevich, and the novelist, Vsevolod Sergeevich Soloviev.

278. The preface to the English edition, What Is Art? In his letter to Chertkov, December 27, 1897, Tolstoi wrote:

“Wouldn’t such a preface be suitable?

“The book which is about to appear cannot be published in its entirety in Russia on account of the censor, and therefore it is being published in England in translation, the correctness of which I have not the least doubt of. The five chapters printed in Russia in the magazine Problems of Philosophy and Psychology have already suffered several deletions and changes; the following chapters, especially those which explain the essence of my point of view on art, will surely not be permitted in Russia and therefore I ask all those who are interested in this book to judge it only by this present edition.”


279. Nicholas Evgrafovich Phedoseev, a political exile, who went by étape with the Dukhobors exiled to Siberia. In his letter Fedosiev told Tolstoi about the interviews given to him by the Dukhobors themselves, concerning the suffering those who were sent to the Ekaterinograd disciplinary battalion had to undergo, and he also gave him information about the Dukhobors in Siberia. This letter was printed in Leaflets of The Free Press, 1898, No. I.

280. “I received a letter through the Chertkovs,” wrote Tolstoi, January 18, 1898—from G. Bedborough, the publisher of The Adult, a letter with questions about sex-problems and a very light-headed program.

281. Written in English, in the original.

282. Ilya Efimovich Repine. Concerning this visit, Tolstoi wrote to Chertkov, January 21, 1898: “One of the recent pleasant impressions was the meeting with Repine. I think we made a good impression on each other.”

283. Countess Alexandra Lvovna Tolstoi (born, 1884), Tolstoi’s youngest daughter.

284. The literary work conceived and written by Tolstoi only in 1902: The Legend of the Destruction of Hell by Christ and Its Resurrection by the Devils, arranging the teaching of Christ so that it improve the evil life of people.

285. As in the copy at the disposal of the editors.

286. Michail Fedorovich Gulenko, serving in the department of the Moscow-Kursk Railroad, and at this time one of the most active contributors to Posrednik.

287. Leopold Antonovich Sullerzhitsky, later one of the managers of the Moscow Artistic Theatre. In the Tolstoi family he was often called for short, Suller.


288. A poem by V. D. Liapunov, printed at first with a letter by Tolstoi in the magazine, Russkaia Mysl (1898, No. 1): and later in the book, V. D. Liapunov, a Young Poet, “Library of Leo Tolstoi,” edited by P. I. Biriukov, Moscow, 1912.

289. In Paths of Life Tolstoi expresses this thought more exactly: “That which we consider for ourselves as evil, is in most cases a good which is not yet understood by us.” In another place he says in speaking of the same problem: “We must distinguish between our conceptions of evil in general, ‘objective’ evil, as philosophers say, an outer one, and between evil for each man individually, a ‘subjective’ evil, an inner one. There is no objective evil. Subjective evil is a departure from reason, it is indeed death.” (A combination, The Four Gospels Harmonized, Translated and Studied, Chapter III.) See also Journal of May 28, 1896, thought 1.

290. One word illegible. Note by Prince Obolensky in the copy in possession of the editors.

291. To avoid misunderstanding as to whom this remark of Tolstoi’s refers, it is proper here to cite an extract from another one of his writings: “They say that defence is impossible under non-resistance; but the Christian does not need any defence. All that an evil-doer can do is to deprive one of property, to kill, and a Christian is not afraid of that. The Christian not worrying about what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, and knowing that without the will of the Father not a hair will fall from his head, the Christian has no need to use violence against the evil-doer. The evil-doer can do nothing to him.” (From the rough draft of The Kingdom of God Within[363] Us, 1890–1893, with later corrections by Tolstoi made during a revision of his Complete Collection of Thoughts.)

292. Jean Grave, a contemporary French writer, of anarchical tendencies.

293. Shortly before that, February 14, 1898, Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov: “About myself I can say that I would be satisfied with my spiritual state, if I were not dissatisfied with my small external output. The causes are: Ill health, as well as the bustle of city life (although now for about three days I have been well).”

294. The twentieth, the concluding chapter of What Is Art? is devoted to a criticism of contemporary science from the standpoint of Christian philosophy.

295. Anatol Ivanovich Pharesov, the democratic fiction writer and publicist.

Alexander Kapitonovich Malikov, who lived in the seventies in Orel, preached the doctrine of “God-humanity,” consisting in this, that each man ought to be re-born morally and exalt the divine principle which was in him. Malikov was absolutely opposed to all violent methods of fighting evil. In 1875 Malikov with a small circle of persons who shared his opinions (fifteen in all) emigrated to America; where in the State of Kansas he established an agricultural community on the basis of the doctrine professed by him. When two years later the community fell apart, Malikov returned to Russia. He died in 1904 at the age of sixty-two. See about him the article of A. S. Prugavin, “Leo Tolstoi and the Man-Gods,” and the book on Leo Tolstoi and the Tolstoians, Moscow, 1911.

296. The agricultural colony, Georgia, issued a magazine[364] with a Christian tendency, called Social Gospel. Among the members of this colony was Crosby. There were about one hundred colonists. In this letter, addressed to George Howard Gibson, Tolstoi expressed his opinion on agricultural societies in general.

297. At this time, the Dukhobors received permission from the Russian authorities to emigrate. Tolstoi addressed himself to Russian, European and American society with an appeal, in which he summoned them to help the Dukhobors with money as well as with direct assistance in the difficulties of emigration. The appeal to Russian society was printed among other places in the Full Collected Works of Tolstoi, published by Sytin, subscribed and popular editions, Volume XVIII; and the letter to the English newspapers was printed in The Free Press, No. I (1898, England), in the article of P. I. Biriukov and afterwards reprinted in his book The Dukhobors.

298. When What Is Art? was already printed in the Problems of Philosophy and Psychology and submitted to the censorship there came an order from Petrograd to submit it to the theologic censorship. The theologic censor not only crossed out many passages, but in some places made changes which perverted the very thought of the author. In the preface to the English translation of this work, Tolstoi expressed regret that, contrary to his custom, he consented at the request of N. Y. Grot to print this work with the censor deletions and softenings. And he also speaks about the harm of every kind of compromise.... This preface was printed in Russian in The Free Press, No. 1.


299. At this place in the Journal there was a diagram composed of flowing lines, irregularly drawn. As the editors did not have the original of the Journal, but used the copy made by Prince Obolensky, it was impossible to make an exact facsimile of the original diagram.

300. In his letter to V. G. Chertkov, Tolstoi wrote: “... This happened: In the morning they told me that two men came from the Caucasus. They were the Dukhobors, P. V. Planidin, an acquaintance of yours, and Chernov. They came, naturally, without passports to give me information and to find out everything pertaining to their affair. After talking with these dear friends and finding out everything, I decided to send them to Petersburg.... They went, spent the day there, and returned.... They are touchingly instructive.” “The principal reason for Planidin’s and Chernov’s coming,” Tolstoi wrote April 6th, “was to ask some one of our friends to go to visit Verigin in Obdorsk.”

301. Ivan Petrovich Brashnin, a typical old-fashioned Moscow merchant, a dealer in raw silks; his family consisted of his wife and two sons. A. N. Dunaev introduced him to Tolstoi in the eighties. He was then over 60. He had wanted to make his acquaintance, because the views of Tolstoi were near to his soul; in spite of his former strict orthodoxy he warmly accepted the views of Tolstoi. Being sincere and straight-forward, he rejected the ... teaching and became a convinced follower of the pure Christian teaching. He spoke with great pleasure and emotion about his visits and talks with Tolstoi, which gave him the greatest joy.

A few years prior to his death he became a strict vegetarian.[366] Before his death he refused the viaticon of the priest and the rites of confession and the sacrament.

In his letter to A. C. Chertkov of March 30, 1898, Tolstoi wrote him about his last visit to Brashnin:

“You know there is an old man, a rich merchant, Brashnin, who is near to us in spirit. I have already known him for about fifteen years. He has cancer of the liver, so the doctors have found out. I visited him once in the winter. He was very weak, thin, yellow, but on his feet. One morning about a week ago A. N. Dunaiev came to me with the news that Brashnin is dying and that he had sent a boy to ask that I take leave of him. We went and found him dying. My first words were: ‘Is he calm?’ Absolutely. He was in full possession of his memory, had a clear mind, thanked me, and took leave of me and I of him, as people do before going on a journey. With sadness we spoke about the ... I said that we will see each other again. He calmly answered, ‘No more.’ He took leave and thanked us for our visit. Everything was so simple, peaceful and earnest.”

302. The article on war and on military service was called forth by the request of two foreign papers to the representatives of political and social workers, and the representatives of science and art, to express themselves on whether war was necessary in our time, what were the consequences of militarism and what were the means that led the quickest way to a realisation of universal peace.

303. The former estate of Count I. L. Tolstoi in Cherni, the province of Tula, to which Tolstoi went to[367] help the famine-stricken peasants. As in the year 1891 when Tolstoi helped the famine-stricken peasants of the province of Riazan, he considered the establishment of soup-kitchens as the most sensible form of help, for which he set himself to work upon his arrival in Grinevka. On May 2, 1898, in his letter to the Countess S. A. Tolstoi, Tolstoi wrote in reference to his activity that “the work which was being done was necessary and is advancing. There is no famine, but the need is killing, cropless, very difficult, and it helps us to see it.” (Letters of Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, pages 542 and 543.)

304. April 21, 1898, by order of the Minister of the Interior, the Russkia Viedomosti was suspended for two months “for the collection of contributions in aid of the Dukhobors and for evading the executive orders of the Moscow Governor-General.” The regulation of the Moscow Governor-General which the newspaper did not fulfil was to give over for disposal to the authorities the money contributed through the editorial offices for the aid of the Dukhobors. The editors could not do that, because the money had already been sent to Tolstoi.

305. Lopashino, as well as Sidorovo, Kamenka, Gubarevka, Bobriki, Michails Ford, Kukuevka, which are mentioned below, are villages near to Grinevka where Tolstoi established soup-kitchens for the famine-stricken.

306. For an orderly organisation of aid for the needy, Tolstoi had collected the necessary detailed information concerning the number of souls and the economic condition of each household in the suffering villages.

307. See Note 136.


308. The Tsurikovs and Ilinskys—neighbouring landlords.

309. Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov on that day: “I haven’t written for a whole week, but I feel pretty well. It seems to me that after the Moscow bustle my impressions are finding their place, the necessary thoughts are coming forth.”

310. See Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, March, 1913, pages 543 and 544.

311. I.e., at his son’s, Count S. L. Tolstoi, on his estate of Nicholskoe, near the station of Bastyevo.

312. V. G. Chertkov then wrote an article, “Where is Thy Brother? About the attitude of the Russian Government to the People Who Cannot Become Murderers,” in the defence of the oppressed Dukhobors. This article was published in The Free Press (England, 1898).

313. G. R. Lindenberg, one of Tolstoi’s co-workers in aid of the famine-stricken, an artist.

314. The name of this teacher is Gubonin. Together with Lindenberg he came to Tolstoi from Poltava.

315. The Appeal served as the beginning of two articles on the labour question: Should it really be so, and Where is the way out? upon which Tolstoi worked during the year 1898 and revised it once again for printing in 1900.

316. The deceased, N. N. Strakhov.

317. The county seat of the province of Orel.

318. A railroad station on the Moscow-Kursk Railroad.

319. Tolstoi speaks here of gymnastic exercises which he sometimes took (see entry of May 11, 1898).


320. Tolstoi used to receive contributions in aid of the famine-stricken from various people.

321. In this article under the title, “Is There Famine or No Famine?” Tolstoi answers the following questions: 1. Is there in the current year a famine or is there not a famine? 2. To what is due the oft-repeated need of the people? 3. What is to be done in order that this need be not repeated? These were printed with omissions in the newspaper, Russ, of July 2 and 3, of 1898 and in full in Leaflets of The Free Press, No. 2 (England, 1898).

322. The Countess S. N. Tolstoi (born Philosophov), wife of Tolstoi’s son, Count I. L. Tolstoi.

323. Neighbouring landlords near Grinevka.

324. After a tiring, long ride by horse, Tolstoi arrived at the Levitskys’, and fell ill of severe dysentery.

325. Tolstoi was forced to stop his work in aid of the famine-stricken, as the Tula Governor forbade all non-residents without his permission to establish and help in the construction of soup-kitchens. Without these people it was impossible to continue the work. (See article “Is There Famine or No Famine?”)

326. The well-known Swedish physician, Ernest Westerlund, and his wife—parents of the wife of Count L. L. Tolstoy, Dora Fedorovna—who arrived from Sweden to visit her.

327. The novel, Father Sergius, which Tolstoi wrote from 1890–1891.

328. I.e., from V. G. and A. K. Chertkov.

329. The story, The Forged Coupon, begun by Tolstoi[370] as early as the end of the eighties and only begun again by him at the end of 1902.

330. N. S. Lieskov (1831–1895), a well-known writer. In the last years of his life he shared in many respects the views of Tolstoi. The story of Lieskov mentioned by Tolstoi is called The Hour of the Will of God.

331. Five years later, in 1903, Tolstoi worked this theme out in a story entitled Three Problems.

332. The christening of the first child of Count L. L. Tolstoi.

333. About this time Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov: “My sickness at first began as dysentery, then I had very great pains and fever and weakness. Now everything has passed.”

334. Prince E. E. Ukhtomsky, the editor and publisher of the Petrograd Viedomosti.

335. “Is There Famine or No Famine?”

336. The weekly newspaper issued in Petrograd by S. F. Sharapov.

337. This was done in those places where Tolstoi organised aid to the famine-stricken.

338. I. C. Dieterichs, a former Cossack artillery officer, who held the same views as Tolstoi, a brother of Madame A. C. Chertkov, and his sisters, Maria and Olga Constantinovna.

339. There occurred in England at this time, some misunderstandings between several friends of Tolstoi, who had to be convinced by experience that having the same point of view is far from being of one mind. The misunderstandings were later smoothed over.


340. The contemporary French novelist.

341. See Note 339.

342. Elizabeth Picard, a Quaker, wrote an open letter to the well-known English publisher, Stead, editor of the magazine War Against War, which preached universal peace, and which at the same time was against those persons who refused military service.

343. C. T. Willard of Chicago offered himself as mediator in the emigration of the Dukhobors to America. Tolstoi sent his letter to England to V. G. Chertkov, whose house at this time was the headquarters for all communications concerning the emigration of the Dukhobors.

344. V. P. Gaideburov, from 1894 on, editor and publisher of Nediela.

345. In English in the original.

346. This intention was carried out by Tolstoi, at least in regard to Resurrection, which he gave to the publication Niva, edited by A. F. Marx, who paid twelve thousand roubles for the first printing. The money was used by Tolstoi in aid of the emigrating Dukhobors.

Originally, Tolstoi suggested selling the copyright of three of his novels, The Devil, Resurrection, and Father Sergius, to English and American papers on advantageous terms. Then he decided not to publish The Devil. At first he thought that he would not make a final revision of Resurrection and of Father Sergius, but would give them over to be printed straight away, just as they were written. But later he re-read Resurrection and little by little began to work on it with such absorption “as he had not experienced in a long time.” Later Tolstoi[372] decided to give only Resurrection for the benefit of the Dukhobors and did not begin to work on Father Sergius.

347. Arvid Järnefelt. The well-known Finnish writer who held the same opinions as Tolstoi. After graduating from Helsingfors University, he prepared himself for the career of magistrate, but becoming acquainted with the writings of Tolstoi, he brusquely changed his life. He learnt the trade of cobbler and locksmith and later, at the end of the nineties, he bought a plot of land and began to till the soil, not ceasing his literary labours, however. He translated many works of Tolstoi into Finnish. The novels of Järnefelt are My Native Land, Children of the Earth and several stories which are translated into Russian. The acquaintance of Järnefelt with Tolstoi began with his sending his book called My Awakening to Tolstoi in 1895. It was in Finnish, and with it he sent a translation of one of his chapters: “Why I Did Not Undertake the Post of Judge.” This chapter, together with an accompanying letter by Järnefelt, Tolstoi included in his manuscript No. 4, Archives of L. N. Tolstoi.

Tolstoi’s letter to Järnefelt, mentioned in the Journal, is as follows:

“Although we have never seen each other, we know and love each other, and therefore I boldly turn to you with a request to do me a great service.

“The matter which I bring before you ought to remain unknown to any one except to us, and therefore speak to no one about this letter, but answer me (Station[373] Kozlovka on the Moscow-Kursk Railway), where you are now, and whether you are ready to help me. I am writing thus briefly, because I have little hope that with the insufficient address, my letter will reach you.

“Leo Tolstoi.”

In explanation of this letter Järnefelt communicated the following to the editors: “I quickly answered Tolstoi’s question. I was convinced that he wanted to leave Yasnaya and to plan an escape. But when we met later in Moscow in 1899, Tolstoi immediately said: ‘Yes, yes, you understood me, but the temptation passed by me in time.’ And then glancing about him with a deep sigh of pain he said, ‘You will excuse me, Järnefelt, that I live as I do, but probably it is as it ought to be.’ And we did not speak any more about this matter.”

And so, in his letter to Järnefelt of December 16, 1898, i.e., still before this meeting with him, Tolstoi wrote: “If I should ever meet you, which I want to very much, I will then tell you what kind of help I expected from you. Now the temptation which forced me to seek help from you has passed.”

In his letter to V. G. Chertkov of July 21st of that year, i.e., three days after the above mentioned note in the Journal, Tolstoi wrote: “Read this to no one. I teach others, but do not know how to live myself. For how many years have I given myself the question, Is it fitting that I continue to live as I am living, or shall I go away?—and I cannot decide. I know that everything is decided by renouncing oneself and when I attain[374] that then everything is clear. But they are rare moments.”

348. See Note 347.

349. A collection in the church Slavonic tongue, Love of Good, or Words and Chapters of Sacred Sobriety, collected from the writings of the Saints and God-inspired fathers. In his library, Tolstoi had a volume of Love of Good with a great many notes in the margin made in his own hand.

350. With I. I. Gorbunov, who came for a short time to Ovsiannikovo to his brother, who lived there at this time, the actor N. I. Gorbunov. At this meeting, Tolstoi said to I. I. Gorbunov that it was the gentlemanly state of his life that had become more agonising to him, that he was “ashamed to look in the eyes of his lackeys” and that he wanted to go away. He said among other things that he was thinking of going away with I. I. Gorbunov to Kaluga (where Gorbunov lived at that time)—and further than that, he still had another plan ... perhaps it was the plan about which Tolstoi had written a little while before to Järnefelt. (See Note 347.)

351. Tolstoi’s brother, Count Serge Nicholaievich.

352. Tolstoi’s sister, Countess M. N. Tolstoi.

353. The English authorities of the Island of Cyprus asked a money guarantee of about two hundred and fifty roubles for each man from the Dukhobors emigrating there, so that in case of need they would not have to be supported at the government expense. At that time it became known, that in Russia several influential governmental persons had begun to zealously urge the government to send the Dukhobors to Manchuria for[375] the Russification of those Chinese borders adjacent to Russia. It was necessary to hurry with the emigration of the Dukhobors; the English Quakers pulled them out of their helpless position, who first of all persuaded the English Government to decrease the guarantee from two hundred and fifty roubles to one hundred and fifty for each man, and afterwards in several days, collected among themselves a guarantee of one hundred thousand roubles, which, together with the fifty thousand roubles which were contributed at that time by various people, made up the necessary sum for giving the guarantee for the whole party of Dukhobors. In his letter to the Dukhobors of August 27, 1898, Tolstoi ended thus: “May God help you to accomplish His will with Christian manhood, patience and faithfulness, in establishing this change in your life.”

354. M. N. Rostovtzev, the daughter of Madame M. D. Rostovtzev, a land-lady of Voronezh, and a follower of Tolstoi, on coming from the Chertkovs, was arrested on the border because, at the custom examination some pieces of proof of a forbidden book were found on her. She was soon freed.

355. The interruption in receiving letters from V. G. Chertkov was caused by the secret police looking through them. Therefore Chertkov was forced to carry on a part of this far-distant correspondence through a circuitous address. In the letter to him at the end of August, 1898, Tolstoi, informing Chertkov that one of his letters was kept back a month, wrote: “Yesterday I received your letter of August 5th. It is terribly vexing, this interference with our communications which now[376] have become so specially important. And what is it for?”

356. See Note 355.

357. L. A. Sullerzhitsky went to the Caucasus to help the Dukhobors arrange for their emigration abroad.

The first group of Dukhobors, to the number of 1,126 persons, who had suffered the most from exile, hunger and illness, left on the 6th of August, 1898, for the Island of Cyprus while other lands be found and sufficient money collected for the transportation of those remaining to a more suitable place.

At the request of Tolstoi, L. A. Sullerzhitsky later accompanied a group of Dukhobors to Canada. He wrote a book about this journey, In America With the Dukhobors, issued by Posrednik, Moscow, 1905.

358. The sister of Tolstoi, Countess Maria Nicholaievna. A month later, September 30, 1898, Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov: “Yesterday my sister, M. N., left, with whom I spent a very friendly month, never having been so loving.”

359. V. A. Kuzminsky, a niece of Countess S. A. Tolstoi.

360. Countess Vera S. Tolstoi, a niece of Tolstoi, daughter of Count S. N. Tolstoi.

361. Tolstoi’s seventieth birthday, celebrated August 28, 1898.

362. According to the contract with the publisher of Niva, A. F. Marx, Tolstoi at the conclusion of the contract, received the whole of his royalty for only the first 200 pages of Resurrection.

363. In regard to the false rumours which were reaching[377] Tolstoi at this time, about the affairs of the emigrating Dukhobors.

364. One of the Dukhobors exiled to Siberia, V. N. Pozdniakov, was sent by his brethren to the leader of the Dukhobors, P. V. Verigin, who was then in exile in the village of Obdorsk in the province of Tobolsk. Receiving a letter of instructions from Verigin for the group in general, he brought this letter to his brethren in the Caucasus and on his way reached Yasnaya Polyana. He showed Tolstoi marks on his body from ill-treatment he had suffered three years before.

365. Herbert Archer, an English co-worker with V. G. Chertkov, who went at his request to Tolstoi to transmit information to him with regard to the Dukhobors and to dissipate the false rumours about them which had reached Tolstoi from outsiders. About this time, in his letter to Countess S. A. Tolstoi, Tolstoi wrote about Archer: “He looks insignificant, but he is a very good man and a remarkably clever one.” (Letters of Count L. N. Tolstoi to his Wife, March, 1913, page 555.)

366. This thought Tolstoi changed in the following form for The Reading Circle: “Now I consider as myself my body with its senses, but then something entirely different is being formed in me. And then the whole world will become different, since the whole world is not something different, only because I consider myself such a being separated from the world and not another. But there may be an innumerable quantity of beings separated from the world.” The Reading Circle, issued by Posrednik, Volume I, Moscow, 1911, for April 16.


367. Tolstoi’s son, S. L. Tolstoi, and L. A. Sullerzhitsky went to the Caucasus to accompany the remaining Dukhobors to Canada. Tolstoi in order to protect them from the oppression of the authorities wrote a letter to the commander-in-chief of the Caucasus, Prince G. S. Golitsin.

368. Tolstoi sometimes could not remember which thought from his pocket note-book he had written out into the Journal and which one he had not. This explains the fact that several thoughts are entered without any changes at all in the Journal, in places not far from one another.

369. In the eighties and nineties the Tolstois went yearly from Yasnaya Polyana to Moscow to spend the winter.

370. Princess E. V. Obolensky, niece of Tolstoi, daughter of his sister, Countess Maria Nicholaievna.

371. In the finished form, the novel had 129 chapters.

372. In another place Tolstoi says: “Playing the fool (like Christ) i.e., the purposeful representing of yourself as worse than you are, is the highest quality of virtue.” (Journal, May 29, 1893.)

373. An omission in the copy in possession of the editors.

374. Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov as early as December 13, 1898: “I absolutely cannot occupy myself with anything else than with Resurrection. Just like a shell, when it gets to the earth, falls more and more quickly, in the same way I now, when I am nearing the end, I cannot think—no, not that I cannot: I can and[379] even do think—but I don’t want to think about anything else but about it.”

375. At this time the emigration of the Dukhobors to Canada had not yet been accomplished. Tolstoi took an active part in the affair: he addressed various people with the request for contributions for this purpose, he carried on a correspondence with friends in England in regard to a place of settlement for the Dukhobors, he sent letters to the authorities to try to remove obstacles which were in their way, he saw agents who suggested places of settlement, he carried on a correspondence with the Dukhobors themselves, etc.

376. February 15, 1899, Tolstoi wrote to V. G. Chertkov: “My back hurts all the time and I am weak and I am disgusted with Resurrection, which I can’t touch.”

377. The retired officer addressed himself to Tolstoi with the question whether the Gospels were not against military service. Tolstoi’s answer was printed in the leaflets of The Free Press, No. 5, 1899, and in 1906 in Petrograd in the publication, Obnovlenia, No. 130 (which was confiscated).

378. A group of representative Swedish intellectuals addressed themselves to Tolstoi with a letter as to the means of attaining universal peace. In this letter on the one hand, they expressed the thought that universal disarmament could be attained by the surest path of each separate individual refusing to take part in military service, and on the other hand, they acknowledged that the Peace Conference fixed for The Hague at the[380] instigation of the Russian Government was useful to the attainment of universal peace....

379. In the middle of February, 1898, the students of the University of Petrograd, in the form of a protest against the beating of people in the streets, decided on the day of the student holiday, February 8th, as a peaceful-minded group of students, to cease work. They were soon joined by students of other higher schools in Petrograd and later in Moscow, Kiev, Kharkov, Jurev, Odessa, Tomsk, Kazan, Riga and Novaia Alexandria. In this way the studies of several thousand men and women students were suspended. The representatives of the Moscow and Petrograd student bodies came to Tolstoi with the purpose of obtaining his opinion and sympathy for the student movement.

380. Sinet, an artist, who refused military service on religious grounds and was sent to the Algerian disciplinary battalion and who escaped from there. Tolstoi called Sinet the first religious Frenchman, therefore, because he was the first Frenchman he met who believed truly as he did.

381. In his letter to V. G. Chertkov of July 9, 1899, Tolstoi wrote, “The matter of the translations worry me. I can imagine, therefore, how they worry you. To-day I thought this: To drop all contracts with the translators and print the following in the newspaper....” Further on Tolstoi expounds the project of his letter to the newspapers, that he, in the matter of translation, decided to destroy the contracts with the publishers of the translations and to refuse the royalty of the first printing of these translations. And yet the[381] need of the Dukhobors was so great that “having no means of employing cattle, they have hitched themselves and their wives to the plough and are ploughing with human power to till their land.” For this reason, Tolstoi drops his plan: “I ask all the publishers who will print this novel and the translators of it, as well as the readers of the novel, to remember those people for whom this publication has been begun and as far as their strength and their desire go, to help the Dukhobors by giving their mite to the Dukhobor fund in England.”

382. Taking no part in 1899, in the work of organising help for the famine-stricken peasants, Tolstoi directed the contributions received for this purpose from various people, to be sent to those who were occupied on the spot in giving help to the inhabitants.

383. Originally in English.

384. This thought was maintained in the book then being read by Tolstoi: Vergleichenden Uebersicht der Vier Evangelien, von S. G. Verus, Leipzig, 1897. In the letter of Biriukov of August 1, 1899, Tolstoi wrote thus about the significance of Verus’ book: “This supposition or probability is the destruction of the last suburbs which are susceptible to attacks from the enemy, so that the fortress of the moral teaching of the good, flowing not from a source which is only temporary and local, but from a totality of the whole spiritual life of humanity, be unshaken.”

385. Countess S. N. Tolstoi.

386. See Note 384.

387. This thought is developed more in detail by Tolstoi[382] in the Legend of the Stones (see The Reading Circle, Volume II).

388. Alfred B. Westrup. Plenty of Money. N. Y., 1899.

389. Countess O. C. Tolstoi, born Dieterichs, first wife of A. L. Tolstoi.

390. The artist, Julia Ivanovna Igumnov, who lived a long time in Yasnaya Polyana. At this time she helped Tolstoi to copy his manuscripts and his letters.

391. A. D. Arkhangelsky, a student in the Moscow University, who lived as a teacher in Tolstoi’s house.

392. These chapters on Resurrection were sent to the publishing house of Niva to be set up.

393. An interrogation point in the copy at the disposal of the editors.

394. Living at this time with the Tolstois in Moscow, Countess O. K. Tolstoi, in a letter to V. G. Chertkov on November 22nd, 1899, described Tolstoi’s illness in this way: “Yesterday we lived through a terrible evening and night. In the evening after dinner, Tolstoi went to his room to lie down, and after several minutes we were all attracted by terrible groans from him ... he was taken with severe stomach pains which were very severe from four o’clock in the morning to seven in the evening. He suffered terribly and at first nothing helped.” Tolstoi suffered especially from vomiting which lasted twenty-eight hours. His doctors were P. S. Usev and Prof. M. P. Cherinov. “Both medicine and feeding,” another person wrote to Chertkov from Moscow, December 5, 1899, “is given now by entreaty and persuasion, now by tears and now by deception, which is[383] even more depressing than tears. To-day everything is better: pains and appetite and strength.” Tolstoi got out of bed December 6th and little by little began to walk. But the following days he had pain and felt weakness.

395. An omission in this place in the copy in possession of the editors.

396. This word in the original is underlined twice.

397. From Derzhavin’s Ode, “God.”

398. The exact title of the book by M. A. Engelhardt is Progress, As an Evolution of Cruelty, issued by F. F. Pavlenkov, Petrograd, 1899. To the author of this book, M. A. Engelhardt (1858–1882), Tolstoi wrote, in 1882, a very remarkable letter on the problem of non-resistance to evil by violence.

399. The journal, Niva.

400. The novel, The Forged Coupon.




By Constantine Shokor-Trotsky

The present volume of Tolstoi’s Journal covers a period from October 28, 1895, to December, 1899. During this time Tolstoi made in all 170 entries[a1] in the Journal, the greatest number of them falling in the year 1897, and the smallest in 1899. During certain months, Tolstoi made no entries whatever. There were nine such months in the four years; April and August, 1896; June, 1897; September, October and December, 1898; March, May and August, 1899. The greatest number of interruptions in the entries was caused by ill health, sometimes also by intensive work and sometimes on account of spiritual depression.

[a1] Of the 170 entries in the present edition, the editors have omitted 102 places (1,707 words) because of their intimate character, and 55 places (1,102 words) on account of the censor. Besides this, in the Notes, one place (9 words) has been omitted on account of its intimate character and 14 places (245 words) on account of the censor.


Of important outer events which had more or less significance for Tolstoi, and to which he responded[388] during this time, the following are to be mentioned:[a2]

In the first two months of 1896, Tolstoi notes in his Journal and in private letters the death of several people more or less near to him: his relative, N. M. Nagornov; the well-known philosopher, N. N. Strakhov, to whom he was bound by an old friendship; an old woman, Agatha Michailovna, a former maid of his grandmother, who lived all her life in Yasnaya Polyana; the Yasnaya Polyana peasant, Phillip Egorov, who had been a coachman for many years at the Tolstois’, and the steward, at one time; the wife of a professor, Olga Storozhenko.

In March and April of the same year, according to his own words, the important events of his life were: making the acquaintance of the peasant, M. P. Novikov; the arrest of his friend, a woman doctor, M. M. Kholevinsky, because she gave his forbidden works to the working people; hearing Wagner’s Opera, “Siegfried,” which aided him in clarifying his conception of true art; becoming acquainted with the works of the noted philosopher, A. A. Spier, which were sent to him by the latter’s daughter.

In May, in Moscow at the time of the Coronation, the unfortunate catastrophe which took place on the Khodinka field, the reports of which produced a strong impression on Tolstoi.

In October of this same year, two Japanese[389] came to Tolstoi, whose visit was both interesting and pleasant for him.

In February, 1897, several friends of Tolstoi were subjected to governmental prosecution for their intercession in behalf of the persecuted Dukhobors: P. I. Biriukov was exiled to the city of Bausk in Courland, V. G. Chertkov was exiled abroad and I. M. Tregubov some time later was exiled to Goldingen in Courland.

In February of that year there was the tragedy of an acquaintance of Tolstoi; Miss M. F. Vietrov burning herself, who had been imprisoned in the Fortress of Peter and Paul.

In July of that year Tolstoi’s daughter, Maria Lvovna, who stood especially near to him, was married to Prince N. L. Obolensky.

In September, P. A. Boulanger, a friend, was exiled abroad for his activity in behalf of the Dukhobors.

At the end of October the noted American writer, Henry George, died, whose works and whose personality Tolstoi valued very highly.

In November Dr. D. P. Makovitsky, a follower of Tolstoi, came for a short visit from Hungary; later becoming a close friend, he remained with Tolstoi uninterruptedly until the latter’s death.

In December, Tolstoi received several anonymous letters with threats of assassination.

In February, 1898, the Dukhobors received permission to emigrate from Russia, which Tolstoi for two years had worked hard to accomplish. In April of that year the Moscow merchant, I. P. Brashnin, a follower of Tolstoi, died.


In April and May there was famine in several districts of Tula, and Tolstoi occupied himself energetically for some time to aid the famine-stricken. He established soup-kitchens, collected money, etc.

In May of that year, the Russkia Viedomosti was suppressed for collecting funds in behalf of the Dukhobors.

In July, Tolstoi decided to finish his novel, Resurrection, “so that it could be published for the benefit of the Dukhobors.”

In October, the Dukhobor, V. N. Pozdniakov, visited Tolstoi, coming secretly from his exile in Yakutsk to the Caucasus to see his co-religionists before their emigration to America.

In this same month the peasant, T. M. Bondarev, died, who had lived many years in exile in Siberia, for whose book on The Labor for Bread Tolstoi wrote a preface, and with whom he corresponded. Tolstoi only learned of his death in December.

In 1899 there were almost no external events.

In November of that year, Tolstoi’s eldest daughter, Tatiana Lvovna, was married to M. S. Sukhotin.

[a2] The compilation of facts concerning the important events in Tolstoi’s life were not only made from his Journal but from letters to various individuals.


Between 1896–1899 Tolstoi lived principally in Yasnaya Polyana. There he generally not only spent most of the summer, but often all of autumn and sometimes even up to January. In Moscow,[391] he generally spent the winter months—from November or December until April and sometimes until May. Besides this, for short periods, Tolstoi would go to other places. Thus, in August, 1896, he visited his sister, the nun, Countess M. N. Tolstoi, living in the convent of Shamordino. At times during these years he visited his brother, Count S. N. Tolstoi, who lived on his estate in Pirogovo in the province of Tula (in May, July and October, 1896, in November, 1897, in August and November, 1898, and in May, 1899).

Besides this, from February to March, 1896, and from February to March, 1897, he visited his friends, the Olsuphievs, on their estate, Nicholskoe, near Moscow; once he spent two weeks with them, another time a whole month with an interruption. The interruption was caused by his sudden trip to Petrograd (in February, 1897) to take leave of his friends, Chertkov and Biriukov, who were being exiled.

At the end of 1897, Tolstoi visited the village Dolgoe, and saw the house in which he was born and in which he spent his childhood and boyhood and which in the fifties was sold to be transferred to this village.

The month of May of 1898, Tolstoi spent in Grinevka, the estate of his son, Count I. L. Tolstoi. While living there, he took charge of the aid to the famine-stricken. From Grinevka he went by horse to visit his friend, the landlord, Levitsky, where he fell seriously ill and spent ten days.



From the period of November, 1895, to 1899 Tolstoi worked on the following manuscripts:[a3]

A. Fiction


B. Essays


C. Letters

(Those important according to volume and contents).[a4]

D. Themes

(Mentioned in the Journal)[a5]

[a3] This list has been compiled not only from Tolstoi’s Journal, but from other sources. As far as can be judged from the Journal, Tolstoi during some months, while busied with the revision of some one of his manuscripts, would at the same time not write but only consider some other bit of work; this kind of creative work is noted in the list as “planned.”

[a4] All these letters have been printed, if not in Russia then abroad; in those instances where a letter has been printed under a definite title, that title is enclosed in quotation marks.

[a5] In parentheses I have given the dates in which he mentions the theme and the final title of the theme as it was developed.



Besides the above mentioned literary labours of Tolstoi, his thought life ought to be mentioned which at first found expression in his note-book and from which later he would transcribe those thoughts into his Journal which appeared to him valuable. These thoughts were sometimes, as we say, absolutely accidental, sometimes they were called forth by conversations with various people and sometimes they were the responses to outer events. The greater part of them came in connection with some work on hand or one which he was planning, or were for some inner clarification or spiritual discussion of problems which, above all, agitated and interested him.

Of the thoughts which came in connection with his works on hand from 1896 to 1899, a sufficiently important number can be pointed out as auxiliary thoughts for the thinking over and working out of his “Catechism” (or the “Christian Doctrine”); such were a number of thoughts about faith, Christian doctrine, sin, etc. A great number of thoughts on art appeared in connection with his contemplated work, What Is Art? On the conclusion of this work there are almost no thoughts on art in the Journal. Many thoughts were entered for The Appeal, i.e., for the purpose of including them in the contemplated manuscript but which was never finished in that form. Rarely, thoughts are met in the Journal which are[399] in connection with his work on some literary topic.

Besides the thoughts which appeared in connection with his writings, one meets in the Journal, as was said above, such thoughts which appeared during the period of intense clarification of the various problems of his personal and family life. In connection with the observations which he lived through and experienced, Tolstoi quite often wrote down his own spiritual state, his personal sufferings and the right attitude that he should take towards them.

At one time, he was occupied especially with the problem of the philosophic definition of time and space and he wrote down his thoughts on this theme quite often. At another time, he was interested in the problem of error, of whether the outer world was such as it appeared. Quite often he noted his thoughts on the themes: On God, on the meaning of life, on the difference between the spiritual and the animal life, on reason, on prayer. Quite often, at this time, thoughts came to him about the given work of God, about service to God, about love in general and about love towards enemies in particular.

Besides this, there are scattered in the whole Journal for the four mentioned years, various thoughts on the sex-problem—on falling in love, on women, on marriage—and also quite a number of thoughts on illness, on death, on the unjust life of the rich, on memory and on many other subjects. Sometimes one finds thoughts in the Journal which appear in connection with the books that he was reading; for instance, there are several thoughts[400] called forth by the reading of the philosophic works of Schopenhauer and Spier. The fact that there are few notes in the Journal about the books that had been read or were being read is, of course, no sign that Tolstoi read little. It is sufficient to open his book, What Is Art, to convince oneself as to the enormous amount of books that were read and studied by Tolstoi on the one theme of art alone for this work; nevertheless, there are very few of them mentioned in the Journal.


In due time, when absolutely all Tolstoi’s Journals and letters and all his writings which have not yet appeared will be printed, and also when all the unused material about him, that literary inheritance in all its enormous volume, will be made use of, then it will be possible to carefully study the great process of the growth of Tolstoi’s soul. At the present moment, when a great number of Tolstoi’s writings and the reminiscences about him are not yet published, it is impossible to really penetrate the whole depth and breadth of Tolstoi’s spirit. At present, it is only possible to throw light on the general characteristics of several separate[401] sides of his inner life, in one or several of its periods.

Therefore, this short sketch of Tolstoi’s life at the end of the nineties, which deals not only with his outer but with his inner life, does in no way intend to give an exhaustive exposition of his varied and complicated spiritual states. In the description which is here placed of several features of Tolstoi’s spiritual life, the principal attention is given to that state, which for over three years almost constantly dominated Tolstoi, in connection with one of the most lasting and torturing periods of intense spiritual suffering in the domain of his domestic life. Such periods happened to Tolstoi even before, in the seventies and in the eighties and in the very last years of his life.

Of course, the description of only one feature of Tolstoi’s inner life, cannot be an indication that he had not other kinds of spiritual states, not connected with his home life. The numerous and extensive entries in the Journal testify that Tolstoi often experienced states of high religious exaltation and of intimate spiritual union and fusion with God, as well as states of the earnest seeking of the path towards perfection, flowing from a sharp discontent with himself and a repentance for his errors and weaknesses (quite often the states were called forth by spiritual suffering). In this sketch are emphasised and brought forth the logical connection of at least one most torturing feature of his inner life, which is reflected in disconnected brilliant entries in his Journal—features which show the cross that he bore for the last thirty years of his life. The time has not yet come for a full[402] description of all the sides and conditions of Tolstoi’s life, and therefore the intimate places have been omitted in the present edition of the Journal. In consequence, the reader will not find an exhaustive description in these chapters of the personal life of Tolstoi which is connected with his family relations.

From 1895 to 1899 Tolstoi lived through much spiritual suffering and struggle, and during this time he was ill quite often. If one carefully followed all the entries in the Journal, then it would clearly be seen that almost all his severe illnesses came after depressing inner experiences.

With the strength of his deep religiousness, Tolstoi invariably strove to use, in the best spiritual sense, all the trials which were given to him as his lot, physical as well as spiritual, and through intense inner labour he generally at the end succeeded in converting all his sufferings, to use his own language, to the joy of fulfilling the will of God.

At the end of 1895, Tolstoi was earnestly occupied with the plot of his drama, The Light that Shines in Darkness; this plot agitated him so that he even dreamed of it and he raved about it in his sleep. This can be easily understood in view of the fact that there are many autobiographic elements in this drama.

And so he wrote in the Journal that he “lived through much,” in reading over, at the request of his wife, his journals for the past seven years.[a7][403]

At the same time, Tolstoi complains several times in his Journal of his general indisposition, of his weakness, and of his lack of energy.

In the course of the three years, from 1896 to 1898, Tolstoi often experienced a fall of spirit, strong attacks of sorrow and torturing agony. The greatest part of his suffering was caused by the lack of understanding of several people near to him, either for his point of view or for his inner life,[a8] and because of the “emptiness of his surrounding life.”[a9]

He even felt “hatred” for himself[a10] and he was burdened by his part in the “unjust, idle, luxurious[a11] life.” But here the thought would come to him that he had to suffer humiliation,[a12] and at times he created supplementary thoughts, which in fun he called “prescriptions” for his spiritual suffering.[a13]

On December 2, 1896, Tolstoi wrote in his Journal: “This is my condition ... oh, this luxury, this richness, this absence of care about the material life!...”

The thought that this indeed was his task, given to him, had a calming effect. He tried to look on the conditions in which he was placed as upon a test of humbleness, “humiliation.” But “in chains, in a prison, one can pride oneself on one’s humiliation”—he wrote—“but here it is only painful,[404] unless one accepts it as a trial sent by God.”[a14] The calm state which was created through the influence of these thoughts was only short-lived. His heart began soon again to pain and he “wants to cry over himself, over the remnant of his life which is being futilely ruined.”[a15]

His surrounding life[a16] which tortured him called forth long periods of agony, dejection and fall of spirits. But with the thoughts about love towards enemies,[a17] there came to him the urge to look upon his work, as the work of love which was given to him, and again peace possessed him, “because a loving one.”[a18] But soon again this peace became principally an outer one, and within himself he again wavered.[a19] Again he is “ashamed and depressed because of the consciousness of the lawlessness of his life.”[a20]

After a month, he makes an entry in his Journal, but tears it out, putting only the words, “A bad and sterile month” and adds, “Have torn out, burned, what I have written in heat.”[a21] Then for a long time he wrote nothing, and during this time he “lived through much that was difficult and good.”[a22] On the 8th of July he wrote his very famous letter to his wife, which she received after his death,[a23] which began with the words, “It[405] is already a long time that I am tortured by the lack of harmony between my life and my beliefs” and in which further on he wrote about his decision to do that which “he had wanted to do for a long time: to go away.” But no matter how difficult the conditions of his family life were at this time, they were not yet sufficiently ripe to bring him over to a definite decision to leave his family, and to fulfil his ancient dream of life in more simple conditions among working people. And in view of the fact that he decided to change his decision, he gave the above-mentioned letter for safe-keeping to his son-in-law, Prince N. L. Obolensky, with the request to give it to the one designated, when he was no longer among the living. Although Tolstoi remained this time in Yasnaya Polyana, his life among master-class conditions did not cease to burden him even for a short time, and he felt himself alone,[a24] he often experienced sorrow as before, and in spirit he felt “solemn,” “gloomy.”[a25]

At the end of that year (1897), he wrote the thought in his Journal, of the tragedy of the situation of “a man kindly disposed wishing only the good” but who in return meets only “hissing malice and the hatred of people.”[a26] And soon again he writes in his Journal that he is in an agonised, sad, crushed state,[a27] which, however, he is trying to[406] fight off with all his strength. (“The house is depressing but I want to and will be joyous.”[a28]) But this inner struggle in spiritual isolation was of course not easy, and demanded great spiritual strength before it could be fully successful. He was constantly tortured by the injustice of his surrounding life and his own almost futile situation in this life; and he becomes “at times good and calm, at times uneasy and not good.”[a29] In this state he often wants to cry,[a30] and only in time does his condition become less agitated and sometimes even entirely calm.

In the summer of 1898, Tolstoi was twice seriously ill. After these illnesses he entered in his Journal the joy of getting well and a clearness of thinking. Soon after this he underwent new spiritual experiences and in July, 1898, he again considered going away from the conditions of life in Yasnaya Polyana which were depressing and which were against his philosophy. He then wrote a letter to A. A. Järnefelt and made a note in the Journal that he has no strength to withstand the customary temptation,[a31] i. e., the desire to go away; it was to Järnefelt that he turned with the request to help him in his plan of going away which he was then considering. But this time also, “the temptation passed,” as he wrote him later. And again his life flowed on as before.

The thought of “going away” came to Tolstoi more than once, both early and late, but he considered[407] it a temptation because it would have been spiritually much more easy for him to go away than to refrain from this step. As he expressed himself once, he believed that when there is a doubt in one’s soul, as to which one of two possible steps one should take, then it were better to give preference to that one in which there is the greatest self-sacrifice.

In 1899, Tolstoi felt himself spiritually improved and notwithstanding his severely undermined health, he occupied himself much and fruitfully with Resurrection. In the autumn of that year he made the entry in the Journal, “I have wrought for myself a calm which is not to be disturbed: not to speak and to know that this is necessary: that it is under these conditions one ought to live.”[a32]

Only ten years later, the circumstances arose which freed Tolstoi from the consciousness of the moral responsibility to remain in the conditions of his home life. And having come to the conclusion of the absolute inevitability of going away, he dared, only ten days before his end, to freely give himself to his cherished wish to change the outer conditions of his life.

[a6] I consider it absolutely necessary to mention that this exposition has been carefully revised by V. G. Chertkov, who, having been connected with Tolstoi by a friendship of many years, was closely acquainted with the home conditions of his outer life, as well as with the most intimate characteristic of his inner life.

[a7] November 5, 1895, page 5.

[a8] May 17, 1896, page 46.

[a9] May 28, 1896, page 52.

[a10] June 26, 1896, page 60.

[a11] June 19, 1896, page 58.

[a12] July 31, 1896, page 69.

[a13] October 20, 1896, page 83; November 5, page 88, and November 20, 1897, page 171.

[a14] December 20, 1896, page 108.

[a15] December 21, 1896, page 108.

[a16] January 18, 1897, page 117.

[a17] March 1, 1897, page 135.

[a18] March 9, 1897, page 136.

[a19] April 4, page 137, and April 9, 1897, page 139.

[a20] April 4, 1897, page 137.

[a21] May 3, 1897, page 139.

[a22] July 16, 1897, page 140.

[a23] This letter was published in many editions among others in the Letters of Tolstoi to his Wife, Moscow, 1913, pages 524–526.

[a24] July 16, 1897, page 140.

[a25] July 17, page 142; October 22, page 162; November 28, page 176, and further.

[a26] November 28, 1897, page 177.

[a27] December 2, 1897, page 177.

[a28] December 13, 1897, page 182.

[a29] January 13, 1898, page 195.

[a30] April 12, 1898, page 219.

[a31] July 17, 1898, page 244.

[a32] September 28, 1899, page 277.







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Transcriber’s Notes

Some page numbers do not appear due to removed blank pages.

The marker “[1][A]” (I continue[1][A]) was changed from “1” to clearly show that it points to two references, a footnote and an end note.

Errors in punctuation have been corrected. Inconsistency in the use of period in initials representing omitted names, e.g., “N.” and “N”, has been retained.

No changes to the numbers and words in the text, including those with variant spellings and inconsistent hyphenation, capitalization, and formatting, have been made except the following:

Use of additional vertical space to separate journal entries has been made consistent.

Some portions of the text that appear to be typographical errors are printed as such in the original book. A list of these possible misprints follows:

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Volume--1895-1899), by Leo Tolstoi


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