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Showing posts from August, 2013

War and Peace 2013: Entry 17--Reading Seventeen

N.B.: This post will discuss only the events through the end of Book III, Part 2, Chapter 33. Unlike with The Odyssey, the eventual resolution of the story is not necessarily common knowledge, so I will make every attempt to avoid spoilers as we go. Also, there seems to be some weird chapter numbering going on with some editions of the novel, Kindle and otherwise. I've updated the reading schedule to make it clearer where the readings end and will be more than happy to answer any questions if you're confused.

"Now they will stop it, now they will be horrified at what they have done!" --Pierre's thoughts during the Battle of Borodino

If Tolstoy's thorough examination of the Battle of Borodino wasn't enough for you, the Wikipedia entry linked to above does a nice job of laying out the ebb and flow of the battle. For me, however, the most interesting thing about Tolstoy's (lengthy) description of the battle is that he seems to profess to understand what r…

War and Peace 2013: Entry 16--Reading Sixteen

N.B.: This post will discuss only the events through the end of Book III, Part 2, Chapter 17. Unlike with The Odyssey, the eventual resolution of the story is not necessarily common knowledge, so I will make every attempt to avoid spoilers as we go. Also, there seems to be some weird chapter numbering going on with some editions of the novel, Kindle and otherwise. I've updated the reading schedule to make it clearer where the readings end and will be more than happy to answer any questions if you're confused.

Again, this is another catch-up post, so it will be less polished than I might wish.

"Sometimes, when [Mary] recalled [Nicholas'] looks, his sympathy, and his words, happiness did not appear impossible to her."

There's a (very) short story I first read some time ago--"The Story of an Hour" by Kate Chopin (go and read it if you haven't--I'm not kidding about its brevity)--that I couldn't help but think of while reading this section. …

War and Peace 2013: Entry 15--Reading Fifteen

N.B.: This post will discuss only the events through the end of Book III, Part 2, Chapter 5. Unlike with The Odyssey, the eventual resolution of the story is not necessarily common knowledge, so I will make every attempt to avoid spoilers as we go. Also, there seems to be some weird chapter numbering going on with some editions of the novel, Kindle and otherwise. I've updated the reading schedule to make it clearer where the readings end and will be more than happy to answer any questions if you're confused.

And now, having kept up with the readings, as I am sure have you all (right?), I am going to try to knock out a few quick and dirty blog posts to catch us up. So forgive me if this goes astray--though I wasn't dreaming when I wrote it.

"By omitting the e, though incorrectly, Pierre got the answer he sought. L'russe Besuhof made 666. This discovery excited him."

Pierre's manipulation of his name and various epithets and titles attributable to him in or…

War and Peace 2013: Entry 14--Reading Fourteen

N.B.: This post will discuss only the events through the end of Book III, Part 1, Chapter 15. Unlike with The Odyssey, the eventual resolution of the story is not necessarily common knowledge, so I will make every attempt to avoid spoilers as we go. Also, there seems to be some weird chapter numbering going on with some editions of the novel, Kindle and otherwise. I've updated the reading schedule to make it clearer where the readings end and will be more than happy to answer any questions if you're confused.

"A king is history's slave."

A month late, but finally, here we are, at the point in War and Peace where chapters go by on end without any of our main characters appearing, or without even the broader historical context being moved forward. Instead, we have Tolstoy the philosopher of history, espousing his theory that, as mentioned above, we are all bound to history, none moreso than the king.

In a way, it's a pity that he presents the abstract formulatio…