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Horowitz on Tolstoy: A Great Appreciation of Our Mortal Existence

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Posted on January 26 2010 5:00 pm

See part 1 of this ongoing interview with David Horowitz here.

NewsReal: Which are you favorite Tolstoy and Dostoevsky novels? Which would you recommend for those just getting into Tolstoy and Dostoevsky? Are there any themes which conservatives should draw from this literature in this day and age?

David Horowitz: My favorite Tolstoy novel is Anna Karenina and for Dostoevsky it has to be The Brothers Karamazov whose chapter called The Grand Inquisitor is the most insightful ten pages on totalitarianism ever written.

NRB: Is your engagement with literature like Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky more of an escape from the often painful political battles you’ve fought so vigorously or does it inform those battles? Surely there’s a bit of both depending on what you’re reading?

DH: Life is not politics. Not only is reading Tolstoy a great pleasure in itself, but it is also a great appreciation of our mortal existence and provides insight into living that is hard to come by.

NRB: Has Tolstoy’s prose style and storytelling techniques affected your own in any way that you can tell? Are there other literary authors whose styles of writing has influenced yours?

DH: Not really. It’s in translation and Tolstoy is a fox and I’m a hedgehog. The writer I most like to read, who has the greatest prose style in the English language is Bellow.

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