Everyone writes in Tolstoy's shadow, whether one feels oneself to be Tolstoyan or not. His influence on the dissident writers of the Soviet Uniton was enormous. Figures like Grossman or Solzhenitsyn, although their language is less elevated, were dominated by a Tolstoyan desire to use fiction to tell the truth of history.
In the past, I used to counter any such notions by asking myself: 'Would you really want President Hattersley?' I now find that possibility rather cheers me up. With his chubby, Dickensian features and his knowledge of T.H. Green and other harmless leftish political classics, Hattersley might not be such a bad thing after all.
In the 18th century, James Hargreaves invented the Spinning Jenny, and Richard Arkwright pioneered the water-propelled spinning frame which led to the mass production of cotton. This was truly revolutionary. The cotton manufacturers created a whole new class of people - the urban proletariat. The structure of society itself would never be the same.