Art

What Is Art? Tolstoy and Plato

Tolstoy: Art is communion At the turn of the twentieth century, and after fifteen years of cogitation, Count Leo Tolstoy published his polemic What is Art? (1898; Penguin 1995) Although it is a question that has occupied the minds of philosophers for millennia, Tolstoy’s answer is at least unusual in that it leads him to the conclusion that none of his own work, with a couple of minor exceptions, was art. Nor, he contends, was the work of Dante, Milton, Shakespeare, Goethe or Ibsen. Nor was the music of the late Beethoven, Wagner and the Romantics. Liszt, Brahms, Strauss and…

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