Petronius and Seneca could read and understand very well Goethe and Carlyle, but they could not read and understand Tolstoi and Dostojevsky, nor could they understand the Christianity of their own time. "Great men!" exclaimed the Roman world on their dying beds. "Great men!" exclaimed rejuvenated Western Europe in the nineteenth century. History consists of great men.

Such a conception of the Christian religion had Tolstoi in common with Dostojevsky and Gogol, with the Holy Synod, with the popular religious conscience of millions and millions of the living and the dead, in the orthodox world, and with all the jurodivi, the fools for Christ's sake. That is the religious spirit of the best of the Slavs.

Dostojevsky like Tolstoi and Gogol emphasised two things: first, there is no great man; secondly, there is no worthless man. He described the blackest crimes and the deepest fall and showed that the authors of such crimes are men just as other men, with much good hidden under their sins.

With his genial insight into human nature, Dostojevsky saw clearly the inevitable conflict of the different camps of Europe, whose apparent and hypocritical peace was only a busy preparation for conflict. "Everything will be pulled down," he said, "especially European pride." He had also a vision of what will come after this great conflict.

The present War has the same meaning as all the wars since Christ came until Bismarck. This war was prophesied by Dostojevsky forty years ago. Dostoievsky was the only contemporary man towards whom Nietzsche felt respect and even fear because of his deep thought and clairvoyance.

He was the first of a series of preachers. He was listened to and applauded, but he said nothing new. After him followed the preachers: Gogol, Tolstoi, Goncharov, Tchehov, Turgeniev, Dostojevsky, and many others, like a choir, in which three voices are still the strongest and most expressive: Gogol, Tolstoi, Dostojevsky. What did they say?

Will it be in existence a thousand years hence? Who knows? Walking in the streets of London I look round me and see nothing great except God. The famous Russian literature from Gogol to Dostojevsky is the finest psychological analysis of men. The result of this analysis was: there exists no great man.