Leo Tolstoy
· The Circle of Reading
Translated by Dmitry Fadeyev

Author's Preface

The thoughts assembled here have been taken by me from a great number of works and collections.

Unascribed thoughts have either been taken by me from collections in which the authors have not been indicated, or they belong to me.

The rest of the thoughts are ascribed to their authors, but, unfortunately, when I was writing them out I did not keep a precise record of the works from which were taken.

In many cases I have translated the authors’ thoughts not from the original texts, but from translations to other languages, which means that my translations may not appear wholly faithful to the originals. Another reason why these thoughts may not appear wholly faithful to the original texts consists in the fact that, as I often took separate thoughts from a long discourse, for the sake of clarity and integrity of impression I had to let certain words and sentences go, sometimes not only swapping one word for another, but even expressing the thought in my own words, since the aim of my book consists not in providing accurate translations, but in making use of the great, fruitful thoughts of diverse writers and making available to the greatest number of readers an accessible daily circle of reading that evokes the best thoughts and feelings.

I would like my readers to experience in their daily readings of this book the same wholesome, uplifting feeling that I have experienced during its composition and continue to experience now during my daily readings of it, as well as during my work on improving it for the second edition.

— Leo Tolstoy March 1908, Yasnaya Polyana