Katavasov introduces Levin to Metrov and tells Metrov about Levin’s book on the natural conditions of the worker and that Levin is influenced by zoology. Levin is excited to discuss his ideas, but Merov only talks about his own theories. Merov only thinks about the Russian worker in terms of political-economic theory, which Levin thinks is ridiculous, but he doesn’t argue with him. The three men attend a meeting of the Society of Amateurs. Merov offers to read Levin’s manuscript, but Levin says no. At the meeting, Levin reflects that his ideas are just as important as Metrov’s.
Levin is flattered that Merov is speaking with him, not realizing that Merov would bloviate to anyone and everyone. Merov is a stereotypical university professor, perfectly happy to expound upon his own theories but never really paying attention to what’s actually going on in the society that he’s purportedly studying. Tolstoy’s caricature of Merov makes it clear to the reader his disdain for the cloistered nature of the ivory tower.