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This blog makes liberal use of AB's journals, letters, travel notes, and other sources.
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Thursday, 24 April 2014
Finished "War and Peace" on Tuesday. The last part of the Epilogue is full of good ideas the johnny can't work out. And of course, in the phrase of critics, would have been better left out. So it would; only Tolstoy couldn't leave it out. It was what he wrote the book for. The first part of the Epilogue is as good as anything. All that domesticity is superbly rendered, with a natural and yet ruthless vivacity. The Battle of Borodino is fine. The Rostov family is fine. And many of the 'set' descriptions of Russian life - such as the wolf-hunting on the Rostov estate. I wanted to write one of the same dimensions, and the final thrills of it did inspire me to a good basic scheme for the foundations of the third "Clayhanger".
I am just finishing instalment three of the Harper serial (out of eight). It is sound but not brilliant. Returns of "Great Adventure" at Kingsway going up. Over £150 a night now. Could scarcely be better.
The Velsa arrived at Brightlingsea from Ostend yesterday. We drove to Harwich yesterday afternoon, and saw the Gothenburg steamer. I wanted to go on it, but wasn't sure what country Gothenburg is in.
Began to read correspondence of Flaubert yesterday. Letters at age of 9 and 10 are remarkable.
Finished "Cannibals of Finance" yesterday. A naive and rather impressive book, confirming one's view of the autocracy that rules U.S.A.
Finished also the Webbs' book on Highways. This is an absolutely efficient work.
Additionally for April 24th., see 'Understanding life'
The Webbs live in a house entirely constructed of Blue bricks, a marvel of ingenuity recalling the labours of beavers and coral insects. I get on very well with the Webbs but they do not understand (what I call) life. Squire, now editor of the New Statesman, wants me to gather material on the Russian situation. He also is an A1 chap. But he is a vegetarian & he doesn't understand life either. And either he or his wife doesn't understand shirts!