Russian Thinkers - The Hedgehog and the Fox Summary & Analysis

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The Hedgehog and the Fox Summary and Analysis

The Greek philosopher Archilochus said in a fragment: "The fox knows many things, but the hedgehog knows one big thing." "Foxes" are dedicated to the multiplicity and concreteness of experience, while "hedgehogs" interpret life in terms of some grand abstract design or pattern. Leo Tolstoy was "a fox who believed in being a hedgehog." In his novels he presented life in its concrete multiplicity, not according to some overarching pattern or design. But he frequently felt guilty about not having an overarching vision and spent his last years as a moral preacher rather than a novelist.

Critics often dismiss Tolstoy's theorizing, while praising his skills as a novelist and chronicler of the details of human experience. But Tolstoy's philosophy of history in War and Peace has been underestimated by his critics, right and...

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This section contains 346 words
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