Tzvetan Todorov, one of Europe's leading intellectuals, explores the complex relations between art, politics, and ethics in the two essays that make up The Limits of Art . In Artists and Dictators, Todorov traces the intimate relationship between avant-garde art and radical politics in pre-revolutionary Russia, pre-fascist Italy, and pre-Nazi Germany. Todorov sets forth the radical idea that the project of totalitarian dictators and avant-garde artists actually 'emerged from the same womb': both artists and dictators set out to make it new - be it art or society. Further troubling the role of art in the world at large, in Art and Ethics Todorov re-examines the age-old question of what can be expected from art and whether it should be emancipated from ethics. Must art be morally instructive, or should it be self-sufficient and concept-free? The answer is not an either/or to Todorov, who believes, like Baudelaire, that art has both cognitive and ethical aspects to it - even if it is presented as art for art's sake. Throughout the essays in The Limits of Art , Todorov insists on the essential need for artists to recognize, understand, and even love the world outside.