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Konstantin Leontiev (1831-1891)

Text and commentary in Russian language

George Ivask

This book covers the whole of Konstantin Leontiev's life and work, including his novels, essays and letters. His personality may be characterized in four words; nothing matters except beauty. Leontiev's image of beauty was partly romantic. He admired the picturesque Orient and the Balkans. Occasionally his aestheticism was rather decadent and narcissistic. He has projected his whimsical self into the main characters of his novels. Leontiev hated modern civilization represented by ugly capitalists and proletarians. He predicted that Russia would give birth to a revolutionary leader and that finally the whole Europe will be conquered by barbarians coming out of the Asiatic Far East. Leontiev was overshadowed by his great contemporaries Tolstoi and Dostojewsky. Nevertheless, he was equal to both of them and to Nietzsche as well, to whom he was sometimes compared.