By Leo Tolstoy
"Tolstoy is considered by almost everyone as the greatest novelist that ever lived, and I can only say, me too. From his first beautiful book on [war] and [Sebastopol,] all through his long and marvelously productive life he stands alone as a writer."
"It is interesting to me to think of the seeds of his stories, 'his illuminations.' Anna Karenina was evolved because he had heard of a woman who had jumped in front of a moving train and died. The grandeur of [War and Peace], a historical novel, which must have brought Tolstoy almost daily illuminations. He was fastidious as Proust in his realism of the styles and fashions of the times, and like Proust he was working on an immense canvas."