I. Pis’mo k Kitaitsu. (Oktabria 1906 g.) II. Kitaiskaia mudrost’. Mysli kitaiskikh myslitelei, sobrannyia L. N Tosltym [I. Letter to a Chinese. (October 1906). II. Chinese Wisdom. Thoughts of Chinese thinkers, collected by L. N. Tolstoy].

Moscow, “Posrednika”, 1907.

Large 8vo, pp. 41, [3]; a very good copy, untrimmed, stapled as issued, in the original printed paper wrappers, with a portrait of Tolstoy on the front cover, wrappers slightly soiled.

£2250

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I. Pis’mo k Kitaitsu. (Oktabria 1906 g.) II. Kitaiskaia mudrost’. Mysli kitaiskikh myslitelei, sobrannyia L. N Tosltym [I. Letter to a Chinese. (October 1906). II. Chinese Wisdom. Thoughts of Chinese thinkers, collected by L. N. Tolstoy].

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First edition, very rare, of Tolstoy’s open letter to the Malaysian-Chinese man of letters Gu Hongming, who had sent several of his works to Tolstoy, including Papers from a Viceroy’s Yamen (1905). In Tolstoy’s view China (like Russia, Persia and Turkey) was then in transition from despotism towards a Western model of industrialised democracy. This was in his mind a disastrous road – much to be preferred would be continued peaceful agriculturalism without central government, guided by Confucian philosophy and not retaliating against Western encroachment. The thoughts of Confucius and Lao-tse (the founder of Taosim) make up the majority of the second part here.

The work was first published in German in the Neue Freie Presse in November 1906, followed by periodical appearances in December in French, and then in Russian translated from the French. The present publication was the first to print the letter in the original Russian. See Polnoe sobranie sochinenii, 36, 695-6.

Not in OCLC or COPAC.

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