By Knowles, Antony Vere; Tolstoy, Leo
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51) Pisarev, as was to be expected, poured scorn upon it in his long article, Downfall of Unripe Thought, although he did find some ironic praise for the fact that never had the type of its philosophizing hero been drawn in such a wonderfully ridiculous and sad light. His ironic style took on a gentler hue when reviewing ‘Three Deaths’ for the lady subscribers of the magazine ‘Daybreak’ (see No. 10) and indeed he was not antagonistic although Turgenev was not the only reader who could find no connection between the death of the oak tree and the other two.
Younger people saw the former with its contrast of two generations as an attack upon them (and this was not the last time Tolstoy was to be accused of favouring the old over the new; indeed he can be seen as looking askance at everything in Russia which post-dates Peter the Great), although Druzhinin (‘Library for Reading’, 1856, no. 139) defends the author from such comment, and ‘A Landowner’s Morning’ which is a semi-autobiographical description of an attempt to improve the peasants’ lot was hardly liked at all; even Turgenev, while praising the language, complained of the awful picture of Russia which it gave (see No.
So dissatisfied was he with the former that when he read the completed manuscript he thought of publishing it under a pseudonym; it appeared, however, fully signed, in the ‘Russian Messenger’ in April 1859. None the less, Tolstoy began to believe that his literary career was over and began to devote himself more and more to a new interest—the education of peasant children. His pedagogical notes and theories appeared in a special magazine he published himself called ‘Yasnaya Polyana’, named after his estate on which he established his school.