A Night at the Movies by Robert Coover

By Robert Coover

Previews, coming points of interest, horror, romance, secret, even intermissions--you identify the kind of motion picture and there's a fiction inside this assortment to hide it--all written with the exuberance you've come to count on in Robert Coover's writing.

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It made him a great novelist - this much has been generally acknowledged. It also gave him the capacity :'^\\ The critical foul ,*t • · { · • > · : · 2 5 for getting to the roots of the world's troubles, and seeing that half-measures, such as satisfy the conscience of the common run of humanity, would never bring about permanent results. General recognition of this quality has yet to come. The overall impression Tatyana gives of him up to 1879, when the second of the great novels was finished, was one of a normal, but somewhat larger than life, father of a happy and united family.

Pobedonostsev, Minister to the Holy Synod, who had been the Tsar's tutor, and had influenced him greatly in the direction of coercion rather than conciliation, was dismissed. As the next chapter will show, a British critic of Tolstoy's political ideas does not hesitate to claim that it was this policy of coercion that kept the revolution at bay for another twelve years; but a more 6 52 Tolstoy: Principles for a New World Order liberal view would be that it was the reforms, limited though they were.

The robbery was consummated, but neither the murder nor the torture. This achievement of a peaceful solution to a particular incident was a sample of Tolstoy's idea of a general solution to the whole human predicament. The State, he said, must go - not just the Russian State, but all States. They may have been useful once for protecting people from violence; but, by the end of the nineteenth century, they were initiating more violence than they prevented. H a d he lived another four years, and seen the events of 1914, he would certainly have been confirmed in this opinion.

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