chapter  II
Memories of Childhood and Boyhood
Pages 24

Nicolas represented Tolstoi as a child. Childhood memories depict to us a child somewhat different from the standard pastiche, one who from the outset gave the impression of genuineness and reality, for this work was the first to show us Tolstoi as he was. Tolstoi corrects his views regarding the child. He is aware that in infancy the faculty of self-deception is not so great as one would think: the child is not so prone after all to regard the moon as being made of green cheese. Like George Eliot, like Disraeli, Spitteler and Romain Rolland, Tolstoi is well aware that to call childhood a 'happy age' is frequently no more than cruel irony. Adolescent memories as these form decisive experiences which, without further appeal, condemn the system of violence, and cause Tolstoi to attach the utmost importance in child education to the master's personality, not to his methods; to his love, not to his scientific attainments.