Writer : Rev. Joginder Singh Ji
City : Delhi, India
Writer is Editor of Sant Nirankari English Magazine
(Adepts in Self-portraiture by Stefan Zweig)
War and Peace, which runs into two thousand pages, was written over and over again, seven times in all. Great chests were filled with the notes and references concerning this book. Every detail was checked with meticulous care. In order to give and accurate description f the battle of Borodino. Tolstoy spent two days in the saddle, riding hither and thither over the battlefield, map in hand. He journeyed far to visit survivors, on the chance of being able t glean picturesque items. Not content with printed books. With ploughing through the contents of public libraries, he wrote to the heads of noble families and to the keepers of archives asking fro a sight of letters and other documents which might yield up to him some fragment of truth. This is the course of years upon years of labour did he collect innumerable droplets of quicksilver, which coalesced, in the end, into one enormous, well-rounded and homogeneous globule. Not until his search for truth was finished did he begin to strive for clarity. We know that a writer of lyrics, such as Baudelaire, must polish every facet. Tolstoy, with the zeal of the artist who aims at perfection, was no less scrupulous in scouring and refining, in the hammering and oiling and smoothing his prose. A redundant sentence, and inappropriate adjective, in a
voluminous book, would exercise his mind so much that, after reading and correcting and returning proofs, he would telegraph and have the press stopped in order to modify a discordant syllable. This first printing was cast back into the crucible of his mind there to be melted once more, and refashioned. If every an art was laboured, the epithet applied to the seemingly effortless, outwardly natural and spontaneous work of Tolstoy. During seven years, he toiled for eight or ten hours a day. Can we be surprised that.... the man who had just written a masterpiece, would be affected by a sense of failure intensified to the verge of melancholia?.... This write of epics that are Homeric in their grandeur, this reconteur whose tales are pre-eminently natural and crystal-clear and endowed with the primitiveness of the folk-spirit, is, under the skin, a profoundly self-critical and self-tormented artist. But, as a crowning mercy, the toilsomeness of the process leaves no trace upon the finished product.