At a glance:
Leo Tolstoy, like the Greek philosopher Plato, believed art too important to be judged in terms of art alone. Because art is capable of making people better or worse, the social and ethical consequences of art must be considered in judgments about art. Tolstoy denied that a work of art can be great but corrupting, artistically good but morally evil.
Tolstoy published What Is Art? when he was sixty-eight, nearly thirty years after the publication of his masterpiece Voyna i mir (1865-1869; War and Peace, 1886). The...
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