Gandhi’s “Great Teacher”
Now that I am reading W+P I am noticing Tolstoy references everywhere. Including in the only other book I am attempting to read this summer, The Marriage Plot. Eugenides refers to Tolstoy multiple times. My favorite is towards the end of the novel when his character Leonard claims, “Gandhi got his philosophy of nonviolence from Tolstoy. They corresponded … He called Tolstoy his ‘great teacher.’ So you’re right. Martin Luther King got nonviolence from Gandhi. But Gandhi got it from Tolstoy, who got it from Christianity.”
Eugenides references many Victorian and realism style authors, as well as post-modernist thinkers, possibly as an homage in his attempt to portray the human condition realistically while also acknowledging deconstructionist thought.
How would Tolstoy have approached post-modernist ideas I wonder? Or does it matter? I am definitely into this Volume II so far. Love the 19th century male perspective of child birth. More sensitive than expected. Soldiering on.
[The specific text being discussed is Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God Is Within You, wherein he lays out his meditations on Christian pacifism as interpreted from Christ’s “Sermon on the Mount.” E-versions of Tolstoy’s text can be found here at Project Gutenberg. Thanks for the submission, Mangocrash! —Erik]