<h3>Excerpt</h3> <div><div> <h2>CHAPTER 1</h2> <p>Analysis and Synthesis</p> <br> <p><b>The Hegelian Atmosphere of the 1850s</b></p> <p>In the early 1880s, in <i>What Then Should We Do?</i> [<i>Tak chto zhe nam delat'</i>], Tolstoy wrote that in his youth the influence of Hegel was all pervasive (25:332). Because of his loudly trumpeted dislike of Hegel, many critics have either ignored the possible effects of this atmosphere on his early writing or they have limited those effects to what they regard as the Hegelian period in Russian literature, the 1840s. A small group of Soviet critics, beginning with the respected A. Skaftymov, have, by acknowledging and examining Hegel's influence on <i>War and Peace</i>, reopened the question of Hegel's place in Tolstoy's development during the previous decade. So Skaftymov takes Tolstoy's reminiscence about Hegel in <i>What Then Should We Do?</i> to refer to the fifties, and he writes that "the young Tolstoy's closest interlocuters on questions of world view at that time [B. Chicherin, V. Botkin, A. Druzhinin, Iu. Samarin, and K. Aksakov] were Hegelians."</p> <p>All thinking Russians in the 1850s were children of the Hegelian forties. Ivan Kireevsky remarked during that decade that he knew several hundred Russian Hegelians of whom only three had actually read Hegel (ibid., 210). Nowhere else, in fact, was the Hegelian tradition as uninterrupted as in Russia (ibid., 239). Certain Hegelian ideas, having lost their immediate connection to Hegel himself, simply became part of Russian philosophical culture (ibid., 241–43). Principal among these were the ideas of dialectic and concreteness, and the related notion that truth is a merging of real and ideal.</p> <p>Analysis and synthesis became the related methods in Russia by which truth, understood in this Hegelian sense, was achieved. Analysis meant the dissection of compound reality into simple parts by critical reason, while synthesis meant the reconstition of reality thus dissolved into a whole, a truth, in accordance with ideal standards. Chizhevski emphasizes that a yen for synthesis, or "wholeness," as Zenkovsky calls it, was a Russian proclivity before Hegel. And Russians, Tolstoy among them, were looking for a synthesis that provided moral guidance. Even if Hegel did not provide the synthesis Russians wanted, however, his philosophy fostered their yearning for one. Hegelian thought created the formal structure, if not the content, of the standards according to which others and Tolstoy himself judged his work.</p> <p>In the 1850s, when Tolstoy was getting his start, Russian literary criticism already enforced Hegelian criteria, due to the influence of Vissarion Belinsky in the previous decade. The mainstream of Russian criticism, including socialist realism, descended from Belinsky's Hegelian, so-called organic aesthetics. The organic work of art became canonic for Russian literature: "The organic model of the work of art, as reflected in Belinsky's critical method, is dualistic: the work of art is seen as the realization of an idea, or a fusion of the 'ideal' and the 'real'" (Ibid., 210). All artistic material within a given work, be it form or content, comprised an "organism" which embodied the artist's original idea. All details produced by analysis had eventually to lead to a synthesis which gave them life. Even those who openly attacked Hegel in the fifties did so by reinterpreting these terms rather than by abandoning them.</p> <br> <p><b>Chernyshevsky</b></p> <p>N. G. Chernyshevsky, who in the fifties spearheaded the attack on Hegel, was a member of the younger generation, a "scientific" socialist, and a follower of the new materialist ethics and aesthetics emanating mostly from France. Those on the other side—V. P. Botkin, P. V. Annenkov, critic and prose writer A. V. Druzhinin, A. A. Grigor'ev, I. S. Turgenev—were and remained men of the forties, under the influence of German idealism (although not necessarily Hegel). Chernyshevsky fired the opening salvo in the war of the two generations with a review in the March 1855 issue of <i>The Contemporary</i> [<i>Sovremennik</i>], which was, in fact, an attack on the writings of his colleagues in the journal. He followed this with the publication, in May 1855, of his dissertation, <i>The Aesthetic Relations of Art to Reality</i> [<i>Esteticheskie otnosheniia iskusstva k deistvitel'nosti</i>]. Here he introduced an aesthetics which was, in his own words, "an application of Feuerbach's materialistic philosophy to aesthetic reality," and he attacked the Hegelian aesthetics of the preceding generation. While applauding Hegel's emphasis on reality, he denied the existence of any absolute spirit informing or transforming it. Chernyshevsky followed the materialist credo that "there is an independently existing world; that human beings, like all other objects, are material entities; that the human mind does not exist as an entity distinct from the human body; and that there is no God (nor any other non-human being) whose mode of existence is not that of material entities." At the same time, however, like other members of his generation, he believed in the dialectic, and even in the interaction of real and ideal in art. The ideal for him was not Hegelian Mind, but rather the conclusions of human reason, itself part of the material world. Nature was nothing but matter, and our ideas, themselves the product of reason interacting with experience, should mold nature. The moral goals of the artist-moralist, not reality itself, generate artistic form.</p> <p>Soon after Chernyshevsky's dissertation was published, in 1855–1856, there appeared a series of ten articles entitled <i>Studies of the Age of Gogol</i> [<i>Ocherki gogolevskogo perioda russkoi literatury</i>], in which Chernyshevsky set about to practice what he had preached. Citing Belinsky as his authority and spiritual teacher, he argued that Russian prose, founded by Gogol, should be didactic; that is, it should serve the cause of social justice. In the first article he credited Gogol with having introduced the "critical mode" [<i>kriticheskoie napravlenie</i>] into Russian literature. 14 This was neither as extreme as the satirical mode, which had existed before Gogol, nor was it merely analytic. To analyze, argued Chernyshevsky, means to reproduce and study details without thought or direction; while the critical mode "is penetrated by consciousness of the correspondence or lack of correspondence of the examined phenomena to the norm of reason and noble feeling" (ibid., 18). This noble feeling, Chernyshevsky wrote, is aroused by a comparison of the phenomena described with "the demands of reason." He attributed the weakness of Gogol's ideal characters not to Gogol's failings as a writer, but to the absence in Russia of undistorted ideals (ibid., 10–11). True to his aesthetics, Chernyshevsky held that Gogol could not describe what was not present in the surrounding reality. So he had to write critically, subjecting the image of reality provided by imitation to moral principles supplied by "reason and noble feeling." These principles, the writer's "ideal," give form, or meaning, to reality. As Belinsky had required, real and ideal would fuse into a synthesis. Hegelian dialectic, if not Hegelian ideas, was at work.</p> <p>To Chernyshevsky's opponents, he was a mere pretender to a throne which they, by virtue of their friendship with Belinsky and their understanding of his ideas, deserved to inherit. The best critic among them, a man himself destined to have a large and largely unacknowledged influence on Russian criticism, was Apollon Grigor'ev. A Hegelian in the forties who became a Schellingian in the fifties, Grigor'ev objected to the Chernyshevskians on two counts: their materialism and their rationalism. Turning their own attack against idealism and abstraction in art against them, Grigor'ev came to the defense both of reality—nature—and art. From his Schellingian perspective, nature was all feeling, which flees from or dissolves under the cold gaze of reason. Chernyshevsky and the Left were <i>teoretiki</i>, theoreticians. They denied reality any moral significance in itself and then applied an abstract and inadequate meaning (what Chernyshevsky would call reason and noble feeling) to it from the outside. Grigor'ev also criticized their "rational, mechanistic and analytic conception of art." He defined art as "synthesis and inspiration," and the criticism of the theoreticians as mere "analysis." His own version of synthesis was based neither on reason nor on Hegelian Mind, but on feeling, "inspiration," and he rejected Chernyshevsky's distinction between criticism and analysis because he believed that reason by itself can produce only analysis, not synthesis.</p> <br> <p><b>The Contemporary Reception of Tolstoy's Work</b></p> <p>Both the so-called Left (Chernyshevsky) and Right (Grigor'ev) believed then in dialectic and the interaction of real and ideal in art. It was within this framework of Hegelian, organic criticism that Tolstoy's contemporaries understood his work. His gifts as an analyzer were universally acknowledged, but sometimes feared. Turgenev's awestruck "a fearsome thing" after he read the second Sevastopol sketch ("Sevastopol in May") exemplifies the respect contemporaries felt for the writer who described what lay behind the trappings of war, even down to the last moments of consciousness of a dying man (chap. 12). It was precisely as the writer of "Sevastopol in May" that Tolstoy arrived in Petersburg in September 1856, and began to subject his new friends to those same lethal doses of psychological analysis. He especially singled out Turgenev as a lover of what in the language of the day were called <i>frazy</i>, fine sentiments that Tolstoy regarded as hypocritical. He admitted in his diary how he loved to attack the sacred cows of his contemporaries (47:88).</p> <p>The camps of Left and Right took differing views of Tolstoy's psychological analysis. Chernyshevsky defended it against attacks from the Left in a famous article in the December 1856 issue of <i>The Contemporary</i> [<i>Sovremennik</i>]. He coined the famous expression "dialectic of the soul" (<i>dialektika dushi</i>; ibid., 423) as a metaphor for the fundamental psychological process, the interaction in the psyche of past and present sensations, that Tolstoy was exploring in his art. Along with the "dialectic of the soul," the second distinct quality of Tolstoy's art, in Chernyshevsky's opinion, was its moral purity, its "chistota nravstvennogo chuvstva" (ibid., 427). Psychological analysis and moral purity: these are the "norms of reason [science] and noble feeling [morality]"—the ideals necessary for synthesis—underlying Chernyshevsky's brand of organic art. Although Chernyshevsky admitted in a letter to Nekrasov that he had deliberately overpraised Tolstoy in his article, he obviously did so in the belief that Tolstoyan analysis, in fact, lent itself to the radical rationalist ideals that he himself espoused.</p> <p>Apollon Grigor'ev, representing the older tradition of philosophical idealism, also praised Tolstoy's writing, but he complained that it lacked synthesis. In an essay published in two installments in <i>Time</i> [<i>Vremia</i>] in 1862, Grigor'ev formulated his reservations about Tolstoy's art within the Hegelian framework typical of the age.</p> <p>When <i>Childhood, Adolescence</i>, and the war stories appeared, everyone hailed them as "the first full and complete artistic expression of the psychological process." Attempting to isolate what was unique in Tolstoy, Grigor'ev compared him to other outstanding writers. He was "close to Turgenev in poetic tenderness of feeling and deep sympathy for nature, but diametrically opposed to him in the stern sobriety of his view, which is merciless to all sensations even the slightest bit outside the quotidian, [and] in his hostility to everything false, however brilliant it may be." In these last qualities he would be closer to Pisemsky if his realism were "innate" and not the child of his analysis. (Grigor'ev meant here that Pisemsky lacked a sense of anything higher than the merely physical which was his theme.) Tolstoy and Goncharov shared an external enmity to idealism, but, unlike Goncharov, the practical was not Tolstoy's ideal. In his hatred of "banality" [<i>poshlost'</i>] he followed Gogol, but, unlike Gogol, he did not weep over a lost ideal. What he shared with all these writers was their "negativity," the result of their alienation from the "soil" (Grigor'ev's beloved <i>pochva</i>).</p> <p>Tolstoy, Grigor'ev maintained, wanted to find his ideal both within himself, and in reality, in Grigor'ev's "soil." So he analyzed himself and his surroundings, digging deeper and deeper, but unable to find the bottom. The result was the "pantheistic hurt" [<i>skorb'</i>] of "Lucerne"; the suspicion of anything false (hypocritical) so extreme that in "Three Deaths" the death of the tree is higher even than the death of the peasant; and the "stern submission to fate" that spares not even human feelings in "Family Happiness." After this last work—Grigor'ev referred here to the fact that at the time he was writing Tolstoy had published nothing since 1859—came "an apathy, no doubt temporary and transitional." For Grigor'ev Tolstoy was an analyst looking for an ideal, and hence a synthesis, that he had not yet found.</p> <br> <p><b>Tolstoy and Chernyshevsky</b></p> <p>The Soviets, beginning with Eikhenbaum, who resurrected Chernyshevsky's 1856 article and adopted the phrase "dialectic of the soul" to describe Tolstoy's psychology, have uncovered many similarities between Tolstoy and Chernyshevsky. Like Chernyshevsky, Tolstoy was much more wedded to analysis and reason than were his older friends. He was also, as Grigor'ev feared, more of a moralist, dissecting souls and reassembling them to make them serve the practical aims of morality. He most definitely resembles Chernyshevsky in this endeavor. Tolstoy, moreover, attacked civilization with the same Rousseauist fervor and reliance on radical, rational solutions as Chernyshevsky's followers, Dobroliubov and especially Pisarev (ibid., 338). In this respect, in fact, he was more radical than Chernyshevsky and akin to the nihilists of the succeeding generation.</p> <p>Where Tolstoy and Chernyshevsky differed was on the role of human reason in creating the conditions necessary for a social morality. Human reason, the human mind without any divine or metaphysical support, was Chernyshevsky's bridge between the natural egoism of man and the needs of society. Rakhmetov—Chernyshevsky's ideal character in <i>What Is to Be Done?</i>—develops his rational principles into "a finished system to which he adhered absolutely." With a single weakness (cigars), Rakhmetov lives "by conviction," not by "passion," so as to prove the disinterested truth of his theories of human happiness. 28 For Tolstoy, human reason, while powerful in the human soul, could never dominate it to the extent that it does in Chernyshevsky's novel. Human reason serves the passions without reforming them. In the progression in the fifties from the uncompleted <i>Novel of a Russian Landowner</i> [<i>Roman russkogo pomeshchika</i>], which was conceived in 1852 as a rational model of philanthropy, to the "Landowner's Morning" (<i>Utro pomeshchika</i>; 1857), Tolstoy demonstrated to himself, as well as to others, that reason acting on its own simply masks a selfishness worse because it is more tyrannical than that based on natural self-love. The experiences of his character Nekhliudov constitute a refutation before the fact of the very possibility of a Rakhmetov.</p> <p>This disagreement between Tolstoy and Chernyshevsky came into the open in the 1860s. In his play <i>The Infected Family</i> (<i>Zarazhennoe semeistvo</i>; 1864) Tolstoy set out to demonstrate that the rational egoism of the new generation inspired by Chernyshevsky was egoism, pure and simple. At the center of the play is the eighteen-year-old Liubov' Ivanovna, or Liubochka. Liubochka, whose name means "love," is the personification of spontaneity and feeling. The male nihilists in the play desire her, but they do not deserve her because they deny the role of feeling in human life and therefore really despise her. As rationalists, moreover, they themselves never rise above egoism, and want to possess her without really loving her. Liubov' Ivanova closely resembles Natasha Rostova: she talks like Natasha and her first entrance in the play could have been written for the heroine of <i>War and Peace</i>. Through this link of the play and the novel, <i>War and Peace</i> itself may be seen as a response to <i>What Is to Be Done?</i> with its overweening faith in human reason. </div></div><br/> <i>(Continues...)</i> <!-- Copyright Notice --> <div><blockquote><hr noshade size="1"><font size="-2">Excerpted from <b>TOLSTOY'S ART AND THOUGHT, 1847–1880</b> by <b>Donna Tussing Orwin</b>. Copyright © 1993 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission of PRINCETON UNIVERSITY PRESS.<br/>All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.<br/>Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.</font><hr noshade size="1"></blockquote></div>