Opinions about Tolstoy and his work
differ, but on one point there surely might be unanimity. A writer of world-wide
reputation should be at least allowed to know how to spell his own name. Why
should any one insist on spelling it "Tolstoi" (with one, two or three
dots over the "i"), when he himself writes it "Tolstoy"? The
only reason I have ever heard suggested is, that in England and America such
outlandish views are attributed to him, that an outlandish spelling is desirable
to match those views.
This novel, written in the rough by
Tolstoy some years ago and founded upon an actual occurrence, was completely
rewritten by him during the last year and a half, and all the proceeds have been
devoted by him to aiding the Doukhobors, a sect who were persecuted in the
Caucasus (especially from 1895 to 1898) for refusing to learn war. About seven
thousand three hundred of them are settled in Canada, and about a hundred of the
leaders are exiled to the remote parts of Siberia.