What Is to be Done? (sometimes translated as What Then Must We Do?) is a non-fiction work by Leo Tolstoy, in which Tolstoy describes the social conditions of Russia in his day. Tolstoy completed the book in 1886, and the first English language publication came in 1887. The title was also used for two better-known works by Nikolai Chernyshevsky and Vladimir Lenin.
thed in some grey ragged stuff. They were talking, as they walked, about some kind of business.
Every expression was unfailingly accompanied by some obscene word. Neither was drunk, but each absorbed with her own affairs; and the passing men, and those about them, paid not the slightest attention to their language, which sounded so strange to me. It appeared to be the generally accepted manner of speech in those parts. On the left we passed some private night-lodging-houses, and some of the crowd entered these; others continued to ascend the hill towards a large corner house. The majority of the people walking along with me went into this house. Before it, people all of the same sort were standing and sitting, on the sidewalk and in the snow.
At the right of the entrance were women; at the left, men. I passed by the men: I passed by the women (there were several hundreds in all), and stopped where the crowd ceased.
This building was the "Liapin free night-lodging-house" ("doss-house"). Th