What Is Art And Other Essays on Art Author:Leo Tolstoy What a great writer has to say about the ethics and essence of art always provides fascinating insights into the workings of that particular writer's mind, as well as adds significantly to the literature of criticism. Such is the case with Tolstoy's WHAT IS ART? and ESSAYS ON ART. Collected in this volume are Tolstoy's highly individual, even co... more »ntroversial, opinions on the nature and value of various art forms and particular works of art.
Tolstoy defines art as "an activity by means of which one man, having experienced a feeling, intentionally transmits it to others." Yet, this apparently benign definition leads the author of War and Peace to conclude that Hamlet is "a false imitation of art," that Wagner's Nibelungen Ring is "counterfeit art," and that Beethoven's Ninth Symphony belongs "to the rank of bad art." Meticulously applying his theory of art to actual works of art, Tolstoy presents the reader with his thorough and thought-provoking appraisal of our civilization's artistic aims and accomplishments.« less