David B. Hart comes down on the Tolstoy side of the scale when compared to Dostoevsky simply because of artistry, Tolstoy’s ability as a writer to not only create other worlds but to accurately describe the inner worlds of his characters to such an extent that we feel them to be completely real. He writes:
I do admire, however, any writer who can create the beautiful effect of an emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually complete and vivid and utterly believable personality. And, in this, Tolstoy’s art so far surpasses Dostoevsky’s that any comparison can only be invidious.
I would have to agree. My favorite novel is Anna Karenina and for the very reason noted by Hart, the creation of characters who seemed completely real and believable in a way that was so natural and even beautiful.