Tolstoy’s art as represented in his greatest novels: War and Peace and Anna Karenina continues to absorb, fascinate and delight modern readers despite the lack of appeal of much of his later convictions. His great works continue to exercise a profound influence on the best imaginative writing. In our own time Vikram Seth’s A Suitable Boy, clearly inspired by War and Peace, has deservedly become a world best seller. John Bayley concentrates in this short introductory study on Tolstoy’s two great works and the ancillary texts and tales that relate to them. In elucidating the power and originality which are alive in those masterpieces Professor Bayley makes a compelling case for a return to the originals which will continue to captivate readers and draw them irresistibly into a uniquely spacious and complex world.