Introduction

In order that you may understand the seriousness of this engrossed thoughtfulness of mine, and picture to yourself, if only approximately, the difficulty of my situation, I must tell you that after I had read these pages and remembered by association the entire contents of the manuscript I had intended to make use of as an introduction, it became quite clear to me that all this over which I had, as is said, ‘panted’ during so many sleepless nights, would now, after the changes and additions I had made in the final editing of the first series, be of no use at all.

When I understood this I experienced, for about half an hour, the state which Mullah Nassr Eddin defines by the words ‘to feel oneself plunged in galoshes up to the eyebrows’; and I was ready at first to resign myself, and came to the decision to rewrite this entire chapter from beginning to end. But afterwards, continuing to recall automatically all sorts of sentences from my manuscript, I remembered, among other things, the place where, in order to explain why I took an attitude of merciless criticism towards contemporary literature, I had introduced the words of a certain intelligent, elderly Persian which I had heard in my early youth, and which, in my opinion, could not have better described the characteristics of contemporary civilization. I considered it impossible to deprive the reader either of what had been said on this subject or of all the other thoughts, so to say, artfully imbedded in this passage, thoughts which, for anyone able to decipher them, can be exceedingly valuable material for a correct understanding of what I intend to elucidate in the last two series in a form accessible to any man seeking the truth.

And so, these considerations compelled me to think out just how, without the reader being deprived of all this, it could be possible for the form of exposition I had first employed to correspond to the form now required after the great changes made in the first series.

In fact, what I had written during the first two years of this new profession of mine—which I was forced to adopt—could no longer correspond to what was now required, since I had then put down everything as a first version in the form of a synopsis understandable only to myself, intending to develop all this material in thirty­six books, devoting each book to one special question.

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