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House OK’s mashup of state and local pension plan rewrites

by John Kennedy | April 25th, 2014

A sweeping overhaul of state and local pension plans was approved 74-44 Friday by the state House, but faces long odds of clearing a Senate showing little support for changing the Florida Retirement System.

The House has mashed-up two proposals — a generally popular bill which makes changes to municipal police and fire pensions, and a controversial FRS revamp. House Republican leaders are clearly trying to get the Senate to accept the FRS change as the only way to enact the local pension change.

House Democrats blasted the tactic — and the FRS move.

“The bill is a patchwork of ideas and should be voted down,” said Rep. Carl Zimmerman, D-Palm Harbor.

But Republicans defended the move.

“This bill is about the future,” said Rep. Dennis Baxley, R-Ocala, noting the FRS change will only effect new hires. “This bill keeps the promise, but it secures the future.”

The FRS proposal is aimed at reducing the number of government workers joining the state’s traditional pension – pushing more into a 401(k)-style investment plan that is cheaper for the state to offer.

Over fierce opposition from public employees’ unions, House Republicans have been intent on overhauling the $144 billion FRS, used by 622,000 government workers and another 300,000 retirees. The largest share of those covered are teachers and county school board employees.

But enough Senate Republicans have refused to go along with earlier proposals that House leaders are now turning to a new approach.

Under the House bill, everyone hired in the elected officer or senior manager category beginning in July 2015 could only join the investment plan. All employees who fail to select a plan eight months after being hired would be put into the investment plan, not the pension as current law allows.

The measure also would increase the pension vesting period for all new employees to 10 years, up from the current 8-year standard.

The local proposal gives cities more flexibility to use the state’s insurance premium tax to bolster police and fire pension funds. The bill relaxes a 1999 law that required cities to offer new benefits with insurance tax dollars, a move that has increasingly destabilized many funds.

In a rare moment of harmony, after years of hostility over changing the 1999 law, unions and local governments have agreed on the police and fire pension change that is advancing as a stand-alone bill in the Senate.

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4 Responses to “House OK’s mashup of state and local pension plan rewrites”

  1. Good one... Says:

    Vote out every single Republican!

    Oh, by the way I AM a Republican. I used to vote for Republicans when I thought they cared about the middle class and Americans in general, now I know better.
    They will take from every single American working family and give it to the Insurance companies and his corporate welfare guys he loves so much. I have also been told that the Republican party doesn’t care if they EVER see another white vote, they need Latin and Hispanic votes. Enter Marco Rube and OMG! Jeb Bush.

    Wow, loser central.

  2. Thomas11 Says:

    How every member of the House voted will be sent to every teacher, police, fire dept., and public servant union in every part of Florida. Those who want to endanger the strongest retirement system in the nation will be held accountable. What is their motive? Self serving trash that should never have been allowed in office,

  3. Bad one... Says:

    @ Good one…
    The novel begins in July 1805 in Saint Petersburg, at a soirée given by Anna Pavlovna Scherer—the maid of honour and confidante to the queen mother Maria Feodorovna. Many of the main characters and aristocratic families in the novel are introduced as they enter Anna Pavlovna’s salon. Pierre (Pyotr Kirilovich) Bezukhov is the illegitimate son of a wealthy count, an elderly man who is dying after a series of strokes. Pierre is about to become embroiled in a struggle for his inheritance. Educated abroad at his father’s expense following his mother’s death, Pierre is essentially kindhearted, but socially awkward, and owing in part to his open, benevolent nature, finds it difficult to integrate into Petersburg society. It is known to everyone at the soirée that Pierre is his father’s favorite of all the old count’s illegitimate children.

    Also attending the soireé is Pierre’s friend, the intelligent and sardonic Prince Andrei Nikolayevich Bolkonsky, husband of Lise, the charming society favourite. Finding Petersburg society unctuous and disillusioned with married life after discovering his wife is empty and superficial, Prince Andrei makes the fateful choice to be an aide-de-camp to Prince Mikhail Ilarionovich Kutuzov in the coming war against Napoleon.

    The plot moves to Moscow, Russia’s ancient city and former capital, contrasting its provincial, more Russian ways to the highly mannered society of Petersburg. The Rostov family are introduced. Count Ilya Andreyevich Rostov has four adolescent children. Thirteen-year-old Natasha (Natalia Ilyinichna) believes herself in love with Boris Drubetskoy, a disciplined young man who is about to join the army as an officer. Twenty-year-old Nikolai Ilyich pledges his love to Sonya (Sofia Alexandrovna), his fifteen-year-old cousin, an orphan who has been brought up by the Rostovs. The eldest child of the Rostov family, Vera Ilyinichna, is cold and somewhat haughty but has a good prospective marriage in a Russian-German officer, Adolf Karlovich Berg. Petya (Pyotr Ilyich) is nine and the youngest of the Rostov family; like his brother, he is impetuous and eager to join the army when of age. The heads of the family, Count Ilya Rostov and Countess Natalya Rostova, are an affectionate couple but forever worried about their disordered finances.

    At Bald Hills, the Bolkonskys’ country estate, Prince Andrei departs for war and leaves his terrified, pregnant wife Lise with his eccentric father Prince Nikolai Andreyevich Bolkonsky and devoutly religious sister Maria Nikolayevna Bolkonskaya, who refuses to marry the son of a wealthy aristocrat on account of her devotion to her father.

    The second part opens with descriptions of the impending Russian-French war preparations. At the Schöngrabern engagement, Nikolai Rostov, who is now conscripted as ensign in a squadron of hussars, has his first taste of battle. Boris Drubetskoy introduces him to Prince Andrei, whom Rostov insults in a fit of impetuousness. Even more than most young soldiers, he is deeply attracted by Tsar Alexander’s charisma. Nikolai gambles and socializes with his officer, Vasily Dmitrich Denisov, and befriends the ruthless, and perhaps, psychopathic Fyodor Ivanovich Dolokhov. Both Bolkonsky, Rostov and Denisov are involved in the disastrous Battle of Austerlitz, in which Andrei is wounded as he attempts to rescue a Russian standard.
    Book Two begins with Nikolai Rostov briefly returning on home leave to Moscow. Nikolai finds the Rostov family facing financial ruin due to poor estate management. He spends an eventful winter at home, accompanied by his friend Denisov, his officer from the Pavlograd Regiment in which he serves. Natasha has blossomed into a beautiful young girl. Denisov falls in love with her, proposes marriage but is rejected. Although his mother pleads with Nikolai to find himself a good financial prospect in marriage, Nikolai refuses to accede to his mother’s request. He promises to marry his childhood sweetheart, the dowry-less Sonya.

    Pierre Bezukhov, upon finally receiving his massive inheritance, is suddenly transformed from a bumbling young man into the richest and most eligible bachelor in the Russian Empire. Despite rationally knowing that it is wrong, he is convinced into marriage with Prince Kuragin’s beautiful and immoral daughter Hélène (Elena Vasilyevna Kuragina), to whom he is superficially attracted. Hélène, who is rumoured to be involved in an incestuous affair with her brother, the equally charming and immoral Anatol, tells Pierre that she will never have children with him. Hélène is rumoured to have an affair with Dolokhov, who mocks Pierre in public. Pierre loses his temper and challenges Dolokhov, a seasoned dueller and ruthless killer, to a duel. Unexpectedly, Pierre wounds Dolokhov. Hélène denies her affair, but Pierre is convinced of her guilt and, after almost being violent to her, leaves her. In his moral and spiritual confusion, Pierre joins the Freemasons, and becomes embroiled in Masonic internal politics. Much of Book Two concerns his struggles with his passions and his spiritual conflicts to be a better man. Now a rich aristocrat, he abandons his former carefree behavior and enters upon a philosophical quest particular to Tolstoy: how should one live a moral life in an ethically imperfect world? The question continually baffles and confuses Pierre. He attempts to liberate his serfs, but ultimately achieves nothing of note.

    Pierre is vividly contrasted with the intelligent and ambitious Prince Andrei Bolkonsky. Andrei recovers from his near fatal artillery wound in a military hospital and returns home, only to find his wife Lise dying in childbirth. He is stricken by his guilty conscience for not treating Lise better when she was alive, and is haunted by the pitiful expression on his dead wife’s face. His child, Nikolenka, survives.

    Burdened with nihilistic disillusionment, Prince Andrei does not return to the army but chooses to remain on his estate, working on a project that would codify military behavior to solve problems of disorganization responsible for the loss of life on the Russian side. Pierre visits him and brings new questions: where is God in this amoral world? Pierre is interested in panentheism and the possibility of an afterlife.

    Pierre’s estranged wife, Hélène, begs him to take her back, and against his better judgment and in trying to abide by the Freemason laws of forgiveness, he does. Despite her vapid shallowness, Hélène establishes herself as an influential hostess in Petersburg society.

    Prince Andrei feels impelled to take his newly written military notions to Petersburg, naively expecting to influence either the Emperor himself or those close to him. Young Natasha, also in Petersburg, is caught up in the excitement of dressing for her first grand ball, where she meets Prince Andrei and briefly reinvigorates him with her vivacious charm. Andrei believes he has found purpose in life again and, after paying the Rostovs several visits, proposes marriage to Natasha. However, old Prince Bolkonsky, Andrei’s father, dislikes the Rostovs, opposes the marriage, and insists on a year’s delay. Prince Andrei leaves to recuperate from his wounds abroad, leaving Natasha initially distraught. She soon recovers her spirits, however, and Count Rostov takes her and Sonya to spend some time with a friend in Moscow.

    Natasha visits the Moscow opera, where she meets Hélène and her brother Anatol. Anatol has since married a Polish woman whom he has abandoned in Poland. He is very attracted to Natasha and is determined to seduce her. Hélène and Anatol conspire together to accomplish this plan. Anatol kisses Natasha and writes her passionate letters, eventually establishing plans to elope. Natasha is convinced that she loves Anatol and writes to Princess Maria, Andrei’s sister, breaking off her engagement. At the last moment, Sonya discovers her plans to elope and foils them. Pierre is initially horrified by Natasha’s behavior, but realizes he has fallen in love with her. During the time when the Great Comet of 1811–2 streaks the sky, life appears to begin anew for Pierre.

    Prince Andrei accepts coldly Natasha’s breaking of the engagement. He tells Pierre that his pride will not allow him to renew his proposal. Ashamed, Natasha makes a suicide attempt and is left seriously ill.
    With the help of her family, especially Sonya, and the stirrings of religious faith, Natasha manages to persevere in Moscow through this dark period. Meanwhile, the whole of Russia is affected by the coming confrontation between Napoleon’s troops and the Russian army. Pierre convinces himself through gematria that Napoleon is the Antichrist of the Book of Revelation. Old prince Bolkonsky dies of a stroke while trying to protect his estate from French marauders. No organized help from any Russian army seems available to the Bolkonskys, but Nikolai Rostov turns up at their estate in time to help put down an incipient peasant revolt. He finds himself attracted to Princess Maria, but remembers his promise to Sonya.

    Back in Moscow, the war-obsessed Petya manages to snatch a loose piece of the Tsar’s biscuit outside the Cathedral of the Assumption; he finally convinces his parents to allow him to enlist.

    Napoleon himself is a main character in this section of the novel and is presented in vivid detail, as both a thinker and would-be strategist. His toilette and his customary attitudes and traits of mind are depicted in detail. Also described are the well-organized force of over 400,000 French Army (only 140,000 of them actually French-speaking) which marches quickly through the Russian countryside in the late summer and reaches the outskirts of the city of Smolensk. Pierre decides to leave Moscow and go to watch the Battle of Borodino from a vantage point next to a Russian artillery crew. After watching for a time, he begins to join in carrying ammunition. In the midst of the turmoil he experiences firsthand the death and destruction of war; Eugène’s artillery continues to pound Russian support columns, while Marshals Ney and Davout set up a crossfire with artillery positioned on the Semyonovskaya heights. The battle becomes a hideous slaughter for both armies and ends in a standoff. The Russians, however, have won a moral victory by standing up to Napoleon’s reputedly invincible army. For strategic reasons and having suffered grievous losses, the Russian army withdraws the next day, allowing Napoleon to march on to Moscow. Among the casualties are Anatol Kuragin and Prince Andrei. Anatol loses a leg, and Andrei suffers a grenade wound in the abdomen. Both are reported dead, but their families are in such disarray that no one can be notified.

    The Rostovs have waited until the last minute to abandon Moscow, even after it is clear that Kutuzov has retreated past Moscow and Muscovites are being given contradictory, often propagandistic, instructions on how to either flee or fight. Count Rostopchin is publishing posters, rousing the citizens to put their faith in religious icons, while at the same time urging them to fight with pitchforks if necessary. Before fleeing himself, he gives orders to burn the city. The Rostovs have a difficult time deciding what to take with them, but in the end, Natasha convinces them to load their carts with the wounded and dying from the Battle of Borodino. Unknown to Natasha, Prince Andrei is amongst the wounded.

    When Napoleon’s Grand Army finally occupies an abandoned and burning Moscow, Pierre takes off on a quixotic mission to assassinate Napoleon. He becomes an anonymous man in all the chaos, shedding his responsibilities by wearing peasant clothes and shunning his duties and lifestyle. The only people he sees while in this garb are Natasha and some of her family, as they depart Moscow. Natasha recognizes and smiles at him, and he in turn realizes the full scope of his love for her.

    Pierre saves the life of a French officer who fought at Borodino, yet is taken prisoner by the retreating French during his attempted assassination of Napoleon, after saving a woman from being raped by soldiers in the French Army.
    Pierre becomes friends with a fellow prisoner, Platon Karataev, a peasant with a saintly demeanor, who is incapable of malice. In Karataev, Pierre finally finds what he has been seeking: an honest person of integrity (unlike the aristocrats of Petersburg society) who is utterly without pretense. Pierre discovers meaning in life simply by living and interacting with him. After witnessing French soldiers sacking Moscow and shooting Russian civilians arbitrarily, Pierre is forced to march with the Grand Army during its disastrous retreat from Moscow in the harsh Russian winter. After months of trial and tribulation—during which the fever-plagued Karataev is shot by the French—Pierre is finally freed by a Russian raiding party, after a small skirmish with the French that sees the young Petya Rostov killed in action.

    Meanwhile, Andrei, wounded during Napoleon’s invasion, has been taken in as a casualty and cared for by the Rostovs, fleeing from Moscow to Yaroslavl. He is reunited with Natasha and his sister Maria before the end of the war. Having lost all will to live, he forgives Natasha in a last act before dying.

    As the novel draws to a close, Pierre’s wife Hélène dies from an overdose of abortion medication (Tolstoy does not state it explicitly but the euphemism he uses is unambiguous). Pierre is reunited with Natasha, while the victorious Russians rebuild Moscow. Natasha speaks of Prince Andrei’s death and Pierre of Karataev’s. Both are aware of a growing bond between them in their bereavement. With the help of Princess Maria, Pierre finds love at last and, revealing his love after being released by his former wife’s death, marries Natasha.
    The first part of the epilogue begins with the wedding of Pierre and Natasha in 1813. It is the last happy event for the Rostov family, which is undergoing a transition. Count Rostov dies soon after, leaving his eldest son Nikolai to take charge of the debt-ridden estate.

    Nikolai finds himself with the task of maintaining the family on the verge of bankruptcy. His abhorrence at the idea of marrying for wealth almost gets in his way, but finally he marries the now-rich Maria Bolkonskaya and in so doing also saves his family from financial ruin.

    Nikolai and Maria then move to Bald Hills with his mother and Sonya, whom he supports for the rest of their life. Buoyed by his wife’s fortune, Nikolai pays off all his family’s debts. They also raise Prince Andrei’s orphaned son, Nikolai Andreyevich (Nikolenka) Bolkonsky.

    As in all good marriages, there are misunderstandings, but the couples — Pierre and Natasha, Nikolai and Maria — remain devoted to their spouses. Pierre and Natasha visit Bald Hills in 1820, much to the jubilation of everyone concerned. There is a hint in the closing chapters that the idealistic, boyish Nikolenka and Pierre would both become part of the Decembrist Uprising. The first epilogue concludes with Nikolenka promising he would do something with which even his late father “would be satisfied…” (presumably as a revolutionary in the Decembrist revolt).

    The second part of the epilogue contains Tolstoy’s critique of all existing forms of mainstream history. The 19th-century Great Man Theory claims that historical events are the result of the actions of “heroes” and other great individuals; Tolstoy argues that this is impossible because of how rarely these actions result in great historical events. Rather, he argues, great historical events are the result of many smaller events driven by the thousands of individuals involved (he compares this to calculus, and the sum of infinitesimals). He then goes on to argue that these smaller events are the result of an inverse relationship between necessity and free-will, necessity being based on reason and therefore explainable by historical analysis, and free-will being based on “consciousness” and therefore inherently unpredictable.
    The novel which has made its author “the true lion of the Russian literature” (according to Ivan Goncharov)[17][18] upon its publication enjoyed great success with the reading public and spawned dozens of reviews and analytical essays in the press, some of which (by Pisarev, Annenkov, Dragomirov and Strakhov) formed the basis for Tolstoy scholars’ later research.[18] Yet the Russian press’s initial response to the novel was muted, most critics feeling bewildered by this mammoth work they couldn’t decide how to classify. The liberal newspaper Golos (The Voice, April 3, #93, 1865) was one of the first to react. Its anonymous reviewer posed the question which was later repeated by many others: “What could this possibly be? What kind of genre are we supposed to file it to?.. Where is fiction in it, and where is real history?”[18]

    Leonid Pasternak’s 1893 illustration to War and Peace”
    Writer and critic Nikolai Akhsharumov, writing in Vsemirny Trud (#6, 1867) suggested that War and Peace was “neither a chronicle, nor a historical novel”, but a genre merger, this ambiguity never undermining its immense value. Pavel Annenkov, who praised the novel too, was equally vague when trying to classify it. “The cultural history of one large section of our society, the political and social panorama of it in the beginning of the current century,” was his suggestion. “It is the [social] epic, the history novel and the vast picture of the whole nation’s life,” wrote Ivan Turgenev in his bid to define War and Peace in the foreword for his French translation of “The Two Hussars” (published in Paris by Le Temps in 1875).

    In general, the literary left received coldly the novel which, as they saw it, was totally devoid of social critique and keen on the idea of national unity. The major fault with the novel, being, as they saw it, “author’s inability to portray a new kind of revolutionary intelligentsia in his novel,” as critic Varfoomey Zaytsev put it.[19] Articles by D.Minayev, V.Bervi-Flerovsky and N.Shelgunov in Delo magazine characterized the novel as “lacking realism”, showing its characters as “cruel and rough”, “mentally stoned”, “morally depraved” and promoting “the philosophy of stagnation”. Still, Mikhail Saltykov-Schedrin, who’s never expressed his opinion of the novel publicly, in the private conversation was reported to have expressed delight with “how strongly this Count has stung our higher society”.[20] Dmitry Pisarev in his unfinished article “Russian Gentry of Old” (Staroye barstvo, Otechestvennye Zapiski, #2, 1868) while praising Tolstoy’s realism in portraying members of high society, still was unhappy with the way the author, as he saw it, ‘idealized’ the old nobility, expressing “unconscious and quite natural tenderness towards” the Russian dvoryanstvo. On the opposite front, the conservative press and “patriotic” authors (A.S.Norov and P.A.Vyazemsky among them) were accusing Tolstoy of consciously distorting the 1812 history, desecrating the “patriotic feelings of our fathers” and ridiculing dvoryanstvo.[18]

    One of the first comprehensive articles on the novel was that of Pavel Annenkov, published in #2, 1868 issue of Vestnik Evropy. The critic praised Tolstoy’s masterful portrayal of man at war, marveled at the complexity of the whole composition, organically merging historical facts and fiction. “The dazzling side of the novel”, according to Annenkov, was “the natural simplicity with which [the author] transports the worldly affairs and big social events down to the level of a character who witnesses them.” Annekov thought the historical gallery of the novel was incomplete with the two “great raznotchintsys”, Speransky and Arakcheev, and deplored the fact that the author stopped at introducing to the novel “this relatively rough but original element”. In the end the critic called the novel “the whole epoch in the Russian fiction”.[18]

    Slavophiles declared Tolstoy their “bogatyr” and pronounced War and Peace “the Bible of the new national idea”. Several articles on War and Peace were published in 1869–1870 in Zarya magazine by Nikolai Strakhov. “War and Peace is the work of genius, equal to everything that the Russian literature has produced before,” he pronounced in the first, smaller essay. “It is now quite clear that from 1868 when the War and Peace was published the very essence of what we call Russian literature has become quite different, acquired the new form and meaning,” the critic continued later. Strakhov was the first critic in Russia who declared Tolstoy’s novel to be a masterpiece of level previously unknown in Russian literature. Still, being a true Slavophile, he could not fail to see the novel as promoting the major Slavophiliac ideas of “meek Russian character’ss supremacy over the rapacious European kind” (using Apollon Grigoriev’s formula). Years later, in 1878, discussing Strakhov’s own book The World as a Whole, Tolstoy criticized both Grigoriev’s concept (of “Russian meekness vs. Western bestiality”) and Strakhov’s interpretation of it.[21]

    Battle of Schöngrabern by K.Bujnitsky
    Among the reviewers were military men and authors specializing in the war literature. Most assessed highly the artfulness and realism of Tolstoy’s battle scenes. N.Lachinov, a member of the Russky Invalid newspaper stuff (#69, April 10, 1868) called the Battle of Schöngrabern scenes “bearing the highest degree of historical and artistic truthfulness” and totally agreed with the author’s view on the Battle of Borodino which some of his opponents were disputing. The army general and respected military writer Mikhail Dragomirov in an article published in Oruzheiny Sbornik (The Military Almanac, 1868-1870), while disputing some of Tolstoy’s ideas concerning the “spontaneity” of wars and the role of commander in battles, advised all the Russian Army officers to use War and Peace as their desk book, describing its battle scenes as “incomparable” and “serving for an ideal manual to every textbook on theories of military art.”[18]

    Unlike professional literary critics, most prominent Russian writers of the time supported the novel wholeheartedly. Goncharov, Turgenev, Leskov, Dostoyevsky and Fet have all gone on record as declaring War and Peace the masterpiece of the Russian literature. Ivan Goncharov in a July 17, 1878, letter to Pyotr Ganzen advised him to chose for translating into Danish War and Peace, adding: “This is positively what might be called a Russian Ilyad. Embracing the whole epoch, it is the grandiose literary event, showcasing the gallery of great men painted by a lively brush of the great master… This is one of the most, if not the most profound literary work ever.[22] In 1879, unhappy with Ganzen having chosen Anna Karenina to start with, Goncharov insisted: “War and Peace is the extraordinary poem of a novel, both in content and execution. It also serves as a monument to Russian history’s glorious epoch when whatever figure you take is a colossus, a statue in bronze. Even [the novel's] minor characters carry all the characteristic features of the Russian people and its life.”[23] In 1885, expressing satisfaction with the fact that Tolstoy’s works have now been translated into Danish, Goncharov again stressed the immense importance of War and Peace. “Count Tolstoy really mounts over everybody else here [in Russia],” he remarked.[24]

    Fyodor Dostoyevsky (in a May 30, 1871, letter to Strakhov) described War and Peace as “the last word of the landlord’s literature and the brilliant one at that”. In a draft version of the Teenager novel he described Tolstoy as “a historiograph of the dvoryanstvo, or rather, its cultural elite.” “The objectivity and realism impart wonderful charm to all scenes, and alongside people of talent, honour and duty he exposes numerous scoundrels, worthless goons and fools,” he added.[25] In 1876 Dostoyevsky wrote: “My strong conviction is that a writer of fiction has to have most profound knowledge – not only of the poetic side of his art, but also the reality he deals with, in its historical as well as contemporary context. Here [in Russia], as far as I see it, only one writer excels in this, Count Lev Tolstoy.”[26]

    Nikolai Leskov, then an anonymous reviewer in Birzhevy Vestnik (The Stock Exchange Herald), wrote several articles praising highly War and Peace, calling it “the best ever Russian historical novel” and “the pride of the contemporary literature”. Marveling at the realism and factual truthfulness of Tolstoy’s book, Leskov thought the author deserved the special credit for “having lifted up the people’s spirit upon the high pedestal it deserved”. “While working most elaborately upon individual characters, the author, apparently, has been studying most diligently the character of the nation as a whole; the life of people whose moral strength came to be concentrated in the Army that came up to fight mighty Napoleon. In this respect the novel of Count Tolstoy could be seen as an epic of the Great national war which up until now has had its historians but never had its singers,” Leskov wrote.[18]

    Afanasy Fet, in a January 1, 1870, letter to Tolstoy, expressed his great delight with the novel. “You’ve managed to show us in great detail the other, mundane side of life and explain how organically does it feed the outer, heroic side of it,” he added.[27]

    Ivan Turgenev gradually re-considered his initial skepticism as to the novel’s historical aspect and also the style of Tolstoy’s psychological analysis. In his 1880 article written in the form of a letter addressed to Edmond Abou, the editor of the French newspaper Le XIX-e Siecle, Turgenev described Tolstoy as “the most popular Russian writer” and War and Peace as “one of the most remarkable books of our age”.[28] “This vast work has the spirit of an epic, where the life of Russia of the beginning of our century in general and in details has been recreated by the hand of a true master… The manner in which Count Tolstoy conducts his treatise is innovative and original. This is the great work of a great writer, and in it there’s true, real Russia,” Turgenev wrote.[29] It was largely due to Turgenev’s efforts that the novel started to gain popularity with the European readership. The first French edition of the War and Peace (1879) paved the way for the worldwide success of Leo Tolstoy and his works.[18]

    Since then many world famous authors have praised War and Peace as a masterpiece of the world literature. Gustav Flaubert expressed his delight in a January 1880 letter to Turgenev, writing: “This is the first class work! What an artist and what a psychologist! The first two volumes are exquisite. I used to utter shrieks of delight while reading. This is powerful, very powerful indeed.”[30] Later John Galsworthy has called War and Peace “the best novel that had ever been written”. Romain Rolland, remembering his reading the novel as a student, wrote: “this work, like life itself, has no beginning, no end. It is life itself in its eternal movement.”[31] Thomas Mann thought War and Peace to be “the greatest ever war novel in the history of literature.”[32] Ernest Hemingway confessed that it was from Tolstoy that he’d been taking lessons on how to “write about war in the most straightforward, honest, objective and stark way.” “I don’t know anybody who could write about war better than Tolstoy did,” Hemingway asserted in his 1955 Men at War. The Best War Stories of All Time anthology.[18]

    Isaak Babel said, after reading War and Peace, “If the world could write by itself, it would write like Tolstoy.”[33] Tolstoy “gives us a unique combination of the ‘naive objectivity’ of the oral narrator with the interest in detail characteristic of realism. This is the reason for our trust in his presentation.”[34]

  4. Johnf112 Says:

    When I originally commented I clicked the Notify me when new comments are added checkbox and now every time a comment is added I get 4 emails using the same comment. Is there any way you may take away me from that service? Thanks! gdagcedkkcfd

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