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Fozzie
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Metaphors

I have a comment on Tolstoy’s writing style.  Tolstoy uses unusual metaphors to describe things.  Two examples from the first party made me pause and form odd, interesting, yet surprisingly accurate, pictures in my mind.

 

 And having got rid of this young man who did not know how to behave, she resumed her duties as hostess and continued to listen and watch, ready to help at any point where the conversation might happen to flag. As the foreman of a spinning mill, when he has set the hands to work, goes round and notices here a spindle that has stopped or there one that creaks or makes more noise than it should, and hastens to check the machine or set it in proper motion, so Anna Pavlovna moved about her drawing room, approaching now a silent, now a too-noisy group, and by a word or slight rearrangement kept the conversational machine in steady, proper, and regular motion.  (Chapter II) 

 

Anna Pavlovna was obviously serving him up as a treat to her guests. As a clever maitre d'hotel serves up as a specially choice delicacy a piece of meat that no one who had seen it in the kitchen would have cared to eat, so Anna Pavlovna served up to her guests, first the vicomte and then the abbe, as peculiarly choice morsels. … and the vicomte was served up to the company in the choicest and most advantageous style, like a well-garnished joint of roast beef on a hot dish.  (Chapter III) 

 

These odd metaphors interested me throughout my reading of Anna Karenina and I will be on the lookout for them in War and Peace.  To me, they add an unusual twist and depth to the reading.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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PaulK
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

I am reading the P/V translation that translates the French in the footnotes. While it surely is true to Tolstoy's writing it does give me a headache to keep jumping up and down the page. I am glad to hear that there is less after Part 1. Besides the French there are many challenges in reading W&P. The numerous Russian names for the characters takes getting used to. The different chapter breaks in different translations does not help. I like to  read the chapter summary in Spark notes after I read the original. However Spark Notes has different chapter breaks than P/V. Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

Despite these problems I am getting hooked on it. I have found it interesting that I have not found any of the characters to be particularly noble or admirable, however, I am interested in following all of them. They all seem to have obvious flaws. I guess that is the way we really are.

 

Lastly, the Matthew Hodge blog has been helpful to follow. Too bad we will be passing him this week. I guess if I get too far behind I can just stay with Matthew's one year blog.

 


Fozzie wrote:

I like that the translators did not translate the French into English, leaving it as Tolstoy wrote it.  The translations are at the bottom of the page in my book.  It was the same in Anna Karenina.  In glancing through the book, it appears that a large amount of French is spoken at the party, but then much less frequently during the rest of the book.  I think Tolstoy did this on purpose, based on the information I have read.  French was the language spoken in society in Russia at the time.  That, coupled with the historical information about Napoleon and Russia allying with other countries against France, helps put the reader squarely in the times.  The reader “hears” French being spoken at the party, and also “hears” the concerns about Napoleon’s aggression, and can sense the dichotomy the characters must feel about


 

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Laurel
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Metaphors

I think Tolstoy is very much like Homer in his use of metaphors.

 


Fozzie wrote:

I have a comment on Tolstoy’s writing style.  Tolstoy uses unusual metaphors to describe things.  Two examples from the first party made me pause and form odd, interesting, yet surprisingly accurate, pictures in my mind.

 

 And having got rid of this young man who did not know how to behave, she resumed her duties as hostess and continued to listen and watch, ready to help at any point where the conversation might happen to flag. As the foreman of a spinning mill, when he has set the hands to work, goes round and notices here a spindle that has stopped or there one that creaks or makes more noise than it should, and hastens to check the machine or set it in proper motion, so Anna Pavlovna moved about her drawing room, approaching now a silent, now a too-noisy group, and by a word or slight rearrangement kept the conversational machine in steady, proper, and regular motion.  (Chapter II) 

 

Anna Pavlovna was obviously serving him up as a treat to her guests. As a clever maitre d'hotel serves up as a specially choice delicacy a piece of meat that no one who had seen it in the kitchen would have cared to eat, so Anna Pavlovna served up to her guests, first the vicomte and then the abbe, as peculiarly choice morsels. … and the vicomte was served up to the company in the choicest and most advantageous style, like a well-garnished joint of roast beef on a hot dish.  (Chapter III) 

 

These odd metaphors interested me throughout my reading of Anna Karenina and I will be on the lookout for them in War and Peace.  To me, they add an unusual twist and depth to the reading.


 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

[ Edited ]

Paul I haven't been able to figure out what translation SparkNotes is following. It's all very confusing. CliffsNotes, on the other hand, works very well with Pevear or most of the older translations. It refers to 25 chapters in Book 1, part 1. Here is their summary of the first 6 chapters. Here are the CliffNotes comments on the soiree:

 

 

Like a host welcoming strangers to his town, Tolstoy throws a cocktail party to introduce us to most of the people in his novel. At Anna Pavlovna’s we meet the main characters as we usually meet people in real life: We are given a minimum of biographical detail and our attention is drawn to a person’s features, his smile, the look in his eyes, his way of looking or not looking at another person. We first learn of Pierre, for instance, when Anna Pavlovna greets him with the nod she reserves for her lowest-ranking guests. This harmless-appearing, massively built, bespectacled youth must possess a special power if he can threaten the equanimity of a large soirée. Our awareness of his latent power is our first indication of Pierre’s importance in the novel.

 

Prince Andrey is introduced to us through his lively little wife, with Tolstoy emphasizing her charm and appeal to the male guests. This charm has no effect on Andrey, who turns away in disgust when he arrives and turns eagerly to Pierre. Clearly we observe how their naturalness and spontaneity distinguish Pierre and Andrey from the other guests and that Tolstoy favors this distinction.

 

Sketching in other details, like Ellen’s unvarying smile and her décolleté, Liza’s seductiveness despite her pregnancy, Anna Pavlovna’s constant enthusiasm, and Ippolit’s storytelling, Tolstoy provides us with a penetrating first impression of the “enchanted circle” of Petersburg life.

 

 Fortunately, the Pevear/Volokhonsky translation was made availabe for e-book reading devices just a few days ago, so I keep my hardcover edition ona shelf where it is easy for me to see when I need to know again how to spell Volokhonsky.

 

There are many challenges to reading War and Peace the first time, but once you have read it, it is with you forever. Matthew Hodge's notes are beautifully done, aren't they?

 


PaulK wrote:

I am reading the P/V translation that translates the French in the footnotes. While it surely is true to Tolstoy's writing it does give me a headache to keep jumping up and down the page. I am glad to hear that there is less after Part 1. Besides the French there are many challenges in reading W&P. The numerous Russian names for the characters takes getting used to. The different chapter breaks in different translations does not help. I like to  read the chapter summary in Spark notes after I read the original. However Spark Notes has different chapter breaks than P/V. Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

Despite these problems I am getting hooked on it. I have found it interesting that I have not found any of the characters to be particularly noble or admirable, however, I am interested in following all of them. They all seem to have obvious flaws. I guess that is the way we really are.

 

Lastly, the Matthew Hodge blog has been helpful to follow. Too bad we will be passing him this week. I guess if I get too far behind I can just stay with Matthew's one year blog.

 


Message Edited by Laurel on 08-04-2008 07:23 PM
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Laurel
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Pierre and Andre ch. 5 and 6

[ Edited ]

 5. Pierre's indecision over choosing a career. (Maude 6)

 6. Pierre visits Andrey and goes on to Anatole Kuragin's. Dolokhov's bet. (Maude 7, 8, and 9)

 

We learn more about Pierre and Andre--and Andre and Lise--once we leave the soiree and head for Prince Andre's house. What do you think of the conversation of the two men? Of the way Andre treats his little wife, so obviously in an "interesting condition"? Pierre puts his foot in his mouth again when Lise enters by mentioning the very thing that is bound to cause a row.

 

A few notes from CliffsNotes about the two male leads of our novel:

 

We learn more about Pierre and Andrey from their conversations after the party. As they both regard Napoleon as their hero, we can see their youthful desires for fame, glory, love of men. While these desires for power are basically the same that motivate the social climbers at Annette’s salon, the egotism of Pierre and Andrey represents no more than a phase of their maturation and not its end. Indeed, Tolstoy spends a large part of War and Peace showing how self-conscious and selfish interests lead to disillusion and how self-aware heroism turns to powerlessness. Besides denying the greatness and power of Napoleon, Tolstoy carries Pierre and Andrey through experiences that make each conclude the nothingness of personality and the greatness of soul.

 

The little we know of their heritage is already a key to their destiny. Because Pierre is illegitimate, his search for identity is unencumbered by personal history; in effect, he is without history. Prince Andrey, however, bound by strong family ties as well as by marriage, must escape his past in order to find his purpose in life. Bolkonsky’s past already foredooms him, whereas the freer Pierre will find a meaningful way of life.

 

By introducing Pierre and Andrey at the beginning of their careers, Tolstoy indicates to us that the novel will deal with their personal development. Having observed the microcosm of Russian aristocracy at Anna Pavlovna’s salon, we learn that Tolstoy will discuss society as a whole. With Napoleon being the personal hero of Pierre and Andrey as well as the “Antichrist” threatening the world of the ruling classes, we recognize that history itself is the unifying investigation of War and Peace.


Pierre promises Andre faithfully that he will stay away from Kuragin--and immediately goes there, to take a leading role in a wild party.

 

Here is chapter 6 as dramatized on the Bondarchuk film.

 

 

Message Edited by Laurel on 08-04-2008 08:16 PM
"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Choisya
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.

I agree that he isn't trying to upset anyone, it is just that his way out views (by Petersburg standards) upset others, particularly conventional others - just like the Flower People:smileyhappy:.

   

 


Laurel wrote:

The thing is, I don't think he's trying to upset anyone. He's just trying to find some intelligent people who can give him a chance to express his ideas and help him figure things out.

 

Pierre had been educated abroad, and this reception at Anna Pavlovna's was the first he had attended in Russia. He knew that all the intellectual lights of Petersburg were gathered there and, like a child in a toyshop, did not know which way to look, afraid of missing any clever conversation that was to be heard. Seeing the self-confident and refined expression on the faces of those present he was always expecting to hear something very profound.

Unfortunately, there was no intellectual or intelligent conversation to be had.

 


Choisya wrote:

Pierre's view on Napoleon are, of course, very typical of his generation in Europe at the time.  He was widely portrayed as a liberal hero by artists and writers.  They are also the views of the Age of Enlightenment when the Divine Right of Kings was questioned and people were thinking about democracy and 'rights' - equality of citizenship and freedom of speech...'  Pierre had been educated in France where a number of the 'movers and shakers' of the former century were still exerting intellectual influence. 

 

How would we characterise Pierre today?  Perhaps as a long haired 'Flower Power' person of the 60s, marching about Vietnam, going to rock concerts? :smileyvery-happy:.  And of course, upsetting his parents, just as he upsete the older guests at the soiree.


 

 


 

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Choisya
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

And although Pierre was educated in France he spoke French very badly and Tolstoy shows this in the book, often in amusing ways.  Unfortunately I do not have good enough French to understand his jokes!  Does anyone else??  

 


Fozzie wrote:

I like that the translators did not translate the French into English, leaving it as Tolstoy wrote it.  The translations are at the bottom of the page in my book.  It was the same in Anna Karenina.  In glancing through the book, it appears that a large amount of French is spoken at the party, but then much less frequently during the rest of the book.  I think Tolstoy did this on purpose, based on the information I have read.  French was the language spoken in society in Russia at the time.  That, coupled with the historical information about Napoleon and Russia allying with other countries against France, helps put the reader squarely in the times.  The reader “hears” French being spoken at the party, and also “hears” the concerns about Napoleon’s aggression, and can sense the dichotomy the characters must feel about France.


 

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Choisya
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

This has always been a problem for me too, especially as I mostly read in bed.  I have a Penguin two-volume edition which helps.   I used to have a big, cuddly cat who did not mind acting as a book rest but alas! she died last year so cannot join me in this reading:smileysad:

 

 


PaulK wrote:
 

I am reading the P/V translation that translates the French in the footnotes. While it surely is true to Tolstoy's writing it does give me a headache to keep jumping up and down the page. I am glad to hear that there is less after Part 1. Besides the French there are many challenges in reading W&P. The numerous Russian names for the characters takes getting used to. The different chapter breaks in different translations does not help. I like to  read the chapter summary in Spark notes after I read the original. However Spark Notes has different chapter breaks than P/V. Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

Despite these problems I am getting hooked on it. I have found it interesting that I have not found any of the characters to be particularly noble or admirable, however, I am interested in following all of them. They all seem to have obvious flaws. I guess that is the way we really are.

 

Lastly, the Matthew Hodge blog has been helpful to follow. Too bad we will be passing him this week. I guess if I get too far behind I can just stay with Matthew's one year blog.

 


Fozzie wrote:

I like that the translators did not translate the French into English, leaving it as Tolstoy wrote it.  The translations are at the bottom of the page in my book.  It was the same in Anna Karenina.  In glancing through the book, it appears that a large amount of French is spoken at the party, but then much less frequently during the rest of the book.  I think Tolstoy did this on purpose, based on the information I have read.  French was the language spoken in society in Russia at the time.  That, coupled with the historical information about Napoleon and Russia allying with other countries against France, helps put the reader squarely in the times.  The reader “hears” French being spoken at the party, and also “hears” the concerns about Napoleon’s aggression, and can sense the dichotomy the characters must feel about


 


 

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WildCityWoman
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Re: Enter Pierre

OK . . . Pierre, in the movie, looks exactly as I expected him to look - the kinda' guy that's about to burst from his clothes.

 

He takes up the whole room (vibes-wise).

 

Yes, I understand why Anna is nervous . . . she knows Pierre has no real experience in society of this nature and is afraid he will embarass her and himself.

 

It is very important to this society that he is 'illegitimate'.

 


Laurel wrote:

 

The party is going along so well, and then--Pierre Bezukhov arrives. Peirre is such a huge figure in this book that I have given him his own thread. Choisya has graciously agreed to adopt him and is putting together some notes for us to discuss on the Pierre thread. In the meantime, I would like to hear your impressions of Pierre as seen in the first six chapters. Why is his presence so disconcerting to Anna Scherer?  Is he a man of principle or a man without principles? Or does he not know yet?

 


 

Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.

Pepper, as in the Anna K film, there's too much to put on the film - and yes, it is just three conversations, this scene.

 

As for what the characters look like in the film, I'm impressed . . . they look just as I expected they would look.

 

Anna is just perfect . . . running around, as Tolstoy described her, like some mill owner checking all his bobbins . . .

 

Anna, in my opinion, is an old busybody . . . I might like her better as I read on.

 


Peppermill wrote:

Does the soirée in the film accurately reflect the novel? This one seems SO huge, so grand. Doesn't the novel concentrate on just three circles of rather intimate conversation?

 

(But I do love how Anna manages conversations in the film -- and almost less successfully in the novel itself! More later on her morsel of fine boeuf in one of the three circles.)

 


Laurel wrote: ....

Here is the opening of the Bondarchuk film. The soiree begins at 5:26.

 


 

 


 

Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée & Russian Nobility.

Choisya, about Lisa (the little princess) showing up at the soiree, pregnant . . . isn't it funny how things were then - all the silly rules about what women could do and what they couldn't do . . . you gave your age on the 'intro' thread - you've got 10 years on me, but we can both appreciate how things were when we were at childbearing age.

 

We wore maternity blouses! And the more frivolous amongst us, wore our husband's shirts, in lieu of same - but we certainly didn't show up at a 'soiree' dressed like that.

 

Can you imagine one of these people from Tolstoy's time stepping into our modern society? Today's world? I don't know if the girls are doing this in England or not, but here, preggies are out on the street with their bellies bare for all the world to see!

 

They either wear close-fitting shirts, t-shirts, blouses, or they bare them completely!

 

How things have changed!

 

:smileysurprised: 

 


Choisya wrote:

The homes of the Russian nobility were very large P so even an ante-room, such as where the soiree might have been held, in would seem large to us lesser mortals!  I have not seen any of the old palaces in St Petersburg or Moscow but I have visited a number of French palaces of the same period and I remember thinking 'no wonder there was a revolution'! You could literally drive a coach and four horses through parts of the Palace of Versailles!  Only a couple of 'stately homes' and castles in the UK equal the grandeur of these places - ours are quite 'homely' by comparison.  (Perhaps that is one of the reasons we didn't have a Revolution,:smileyhappy:)

 

However, Tolstoy writes: 'The young Princess Bolkonsky....no longer appeared at large occasions because she was pregnant, but she did still attend small soirees.' so perhaps the films are exaggerating for effect and Anna Pavlovna's soiree was a small one - although what constituted small in those circles goodness only knows!:smileysurprised:

 

This is what is happening to those Russian palaces now.  These are former palaces of  mere CountsBlenheim Palace is the nearest the UK has to this grandeur but that was built for an important Duke-general for goodness sake!:smileyvery-happy:. If you key Russian Palaces into Google Images you will get an idea of the sort of places our characters lived in.  

 

Here is a useful classification of Russian nobility as it applied to our characters (scroll down). I always find it instructive to look at way the Czars to ordered their nobles around because it makes me realise that when the Soviets came into power with the intention of revolutionising Russian society they just continued being as oppressive in banishing people to Siberia, preventing them from travelling etc etc.  Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose and all that!   

.   

 


Peppermill wrote:

Does the soirée in the film accurately reflect the novel? This one seems SO huge, so grand. Doesn't the novel concentrate on just three circles of rather intimate conversation?

 

(But I do love how Anna manages conversations in the film -- and almost less successfully in the novel itself! More later on her morsel of fine boeuf in one of the three circles.)

 


Laurel wrote: ....

Here is the opening of the Bondarchuk film. The soiree begins at 5:26.

 

 

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-03-2008 06:09 AM

 

Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

Choisya, our cat, Skitter, wouldn't put up with that for one minute - I've always used my stuffed bear 'Dick' . . . I often use Dick to prop my book on.

 

Dick is also handy for tucking into the small of my back when I want to ease the pressure of aching bones.

 

I sleep on my side, propping my left arm on Dick . . . I don't know why I feel I need to elevate my arm, but I do.

 

As for Skitter, her idea would be to use 'me' for a place to prop something - she sometimes uses my shoulder as a stepping stone to the window.

 


Choisya wrote:

Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

This has always been a problem for me too, especially as I mostly read in bed.  I have a Penguin two-volume edition which helps.   I used to have a big, cuddly cat who did not mind acting as a book rest but alas! she died last year so cannot join me in this reading:smileysad:

 

 


PaulK wrote:
 

I am reading the P/V translation that translates the French in the footnotes. While it surely is true to Tolstoy's writing it does give me a headache to keep jumping up and down the page. I am glad to hear that there is less after Part 1. Besides the French there are many challenges in reading W&P. The numerous Russian names for the characters takes getting used to. The different chapter breaks in different translations does not help. I like to  read the chapter summary in Spark notes after I read the original. However Spark Notes has different chapter breaks than P/V. Lastly, the weight of my book has made it awkward to read and find a comfortable position.

 

Despite these problems I am getting hooked on it. I have found it interesting that I have not found any of the characters to be particularly noble or admirable, however, I am interested in following all of them. They all seem to have obvious flaws. I guess that is the way we really are.

 

Lastly, the Matthew Hodge blog has been helpful to follow. Too bad we will be passing him this week. I guess if I get too far behind I can just stay with Matthew's one year blog.

 


Fozzie wrote:

I like that the translators did not translate the French into English, leaving it as Tolstoy wrote it.  The translations are at the bottom of the page in my book.  It was the same in Anna Karenina.  In glancing through the book, it appears that a large amount of French is spoken at the party, but then much less frequently during the rest of the book.  I think Tolstoy did this on purpose, based on the information I have read.  French was the language spoken in society in Russia at the time.  That, coupled with the historical information about Napoleon and Russia allying with other countries against France, helps put the reader squarely in the times.  The reader “hears” French being spoken at the party, and also “hears” the concerns about Napoleon’s aggression, and can sense the dichotomy the characters must feel about


 


 


 

Carly

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WildCityWoman
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

I took a buncha' extra notes while I've been working through the thread - here they are . . .

 

So far, the only thing I'll comment on is my impression of how
the undertakers parked outside the house as the old man was
dying.
That struck me as so tacky . . .

 
........................................
QUOTING CHOISYA . . .

Strangely, war with France/Napoleon did not make court circles drop what might have been seen as an unpatriotic practice.  French was the lingua franca of the educated world at this

time, just as English is today and, as you will know, English literature was peppered with it too.   (I come from a generation which still uses quite a lot of French words and phrases and I note, for instance, that I have just used two in this post soiree and effete!  LOL.)

 

UNQUOTE

 

I find many of today's novels are sprinkled with French phrases.

 

Jeff always has a giggle when I read aloud and come to the French words . . . my French is good enough only for reading the backs of soup cans . . . but I do muddle through them, and manage to roll the pronunciations off my tongue.

 

Shoulda' paid more attention in French class, I guess.

 

But humour me here . . . this is how I would pronounce this phrase . . . la femme la plus seduisante de Petersbourg . . . lah fem lah plew see-doo-swawnt de Petersbourg . . . and I would put the accent on 'bourg'. 

 

Am I right?

 

......................................................

 

OK, in the film, the girl who is sitting a table, talking to that effeminate man who's leaning on the table, and complaining about the men's interest in the war - is that 'the little princess'? Or is it the blonde?

 

And is the man 'Prince Vasily'?

 

......................................................

 

Montmortemart is just beautiful!

......................................................

 

It is wrong for me to judge the illegitimate Pierre because of his chunkiness, his pompous ass look . . . I do admire him for his enthusiasm for Napoleon, for the Revolution. I admire his not joining the army against him because of his convictions. For not standing down just to please others.

He seems to be the only person in the story, so far, that has this wonderful nature.

 

.......................................................

Carly

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Laurel
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Dichotomy

Helene is the blonde who leaves with her father, Prince Vassily, near the end. Prince Vassily has a red and black or navy uniform. Ippolyt, his son, is flirting shamelessly with Lise, the little princess, at the small table. We see her husband, Prince Andre, glance at them and then walk away.

 

Pierre seems to be the only legitimate one so far.



 

OK, in the film, the girl who is sitting a table, talking to that effeminate man who's leaning on the table, and complaining about the men's interest in the war - is that 'the little princess'? Or is it the blonde?

 

And is the man 'Prince Vasily'?

 

...................................................... 

It is wrong for me to judge the illegitimate Pierre because of his chunkiness, his pompous ass look . . . I do admire him for his enthusiasm for Napoleon, for the Revolution. I admire his not joining the army against him because of his convictions. For not standing down just to please others.

He seems to be the only person in the story, so far, that has this wonderful nature.

 

.......................................................


 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Cliffs Notes

Paul, I, too, have been using Cliffs Notes.  I find the spellings closer and the plot points clearer than with Sparks Notes in this case.

 

 


Laurel wrote:

Paul I haven't been able to figure out what translation SparkNotes is following. It's all very confusing. CliffsNotes, on the other hand, works very well with Pevear or most of the older translations. 

 


 

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Cliffs Notes

[ Edited ]

I actually picked up a "hard copy" of Cliff Notes in the book store -- this novel will take us long enough that I decided the ease of reading versus the on-line version was worth it.

 

I do have a reaction to the commentary for Chapters 1-6:

 

"Because Pierre is illegitimate, his search for identity is unencumbered by personal history; in effect, he is without history."

 

This comment doesn't ring "true" for me -- first, although Pierre is illegitimate, he does know at least part of his personal history. That his father is acknowledged as Count Bezuhov, a courtier in the court of Catherine, makes me wonder who is his mother and will she ever be a part of this story. Second, many children whose parents are unknown (i.e., they are "without history" ) are the very ones who find themselves called to search for their history.

 

Pepper

 


Fozzie wrote:

Paul, I, too, have been using Cliffs Notes. I find the spellings closer and the plot points clearer than with Sparks Notes in this case.


Laurel wrote:

Paul I haven't been able to figure out what translation SparkNotes is following. It's all very confusing. CliffsNotes, on the other hand, works very well with Pevear or most of the older translations.

 



Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-05-2008 04:47 PM
"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy
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White Nights

It was past one o'clock when Pierre left his friend. It was a cloudless, northern, summer night. Pierre took an open cab intending to drive straight home. But the nearer he drew to the house the more he felt the impossibility of going to sleep on such a night. It was light enough to see a long way in the deserted street and it seemed more like morning or evening than night. On the way Pierre remembered that Anatole Kuragin was expecting the usual set for cards that evening, after which there was generally a drinking bout, finishing with visits of a kind Pierre was very fond of. Maude 6

I've always puzzled over what time it was in this scene, and then I finally remembered--Petersburg, June or July, of course: the famous White Nights. 

 

Here are some amazing photos of Petersburg in the middle of the night.

 

This travel journal tells me that Pierre's wild party was not just a thing of the past.

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Cliffs Notes

I'm glad you picked up on that, Pepper. I took exception the the "illegitimate" paragraph, too. I'm also glad that we have people here who are not embarrassed to say they use CliffsNotes and such. If you are actually reading the book, there is nothing wrong about referring to notes and summaries written by others.

 


Peppermill wrote:

I actually picked up a "hard copy" of Cliff Notes in the book store -- this novel will take us long enough that I decided the ease of reading versus the on-line version was worth it.

 

I do have a reaction to the commentary for Chapters 1-6:

 

"Because Pierre is illegitimate, his search for identity is unencumbered by personal history; in effect, he is without history."

 

This comment doesn't ring "true" for me -- first, although Pierre is illegitimate, he does know at least part of his personal history. That his father is acknowledged as Count Bezuhov, a courtier in the court of Catherine, makes me wonder who is his mother and will she ever be a part of this story. Second, many children whose parents are unknown (i.e., they are "without history" ) are the very ones who find themselves called to search for their history.

 

Pepper

 


Fozzie wrote:

Paul, I, too, have been using Cliffs Notes. I find the spellings closer and the plot points clearer than with Sparks Notes in this case.


Laurel wrote:

Paul I haven't been able to figure out what translation SparkNotes is following. It's all very confusing. CliffsNotes, on the other hand, works very well with Pevear or most of the older translations.

 



Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-05-2008 04:47 PM

 

 

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

The scene shifts. Princess Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskoya, having succeeded in getting Prince Vassily Kuragin to give her son Boris at least some help with his military career, moves from Petersburg to Moscow, and so do we. She stays at the mansion of her wealthy relatives, the Rostovs, who have thrown a huge reception to celebrate the name day of Countess Rostov and her daughter, both named Natalya. (A name-day celebration takes place on the feast-day of the saint for whom a person is named.)


We hear all sorts of gossip at the Rostovs' party. Pierre is in Moscow, too, having been banished from Petersburg by an incident involving a policeman and a bear just after the party at Anatole Kuragin's place. Prince Vassily Kuragin is also in Moscow, obstensively on business but really, Anna Mikhaylovna confides, to make sure that the inheritance of Pierre's fabulously rich father, who is on his deathbed nearby, falls to him and not to Pierre.

At the reception we meet, of course, the ever-cheerful Count Rostov and his ever-bearing wife. She has born twelve children; we do not know how many survived, but we soon meet Vera, an older daughter, and 13-year-old Natasha (Natalya), our heroine. The sons are Nikolai, who will also be important to the plot, and little Pyotr. There are also two cousins: Anna Mikhaylovna's son Boris, whom the Rostovs have educated and pretty much raised, and whom we learn is attached to Natasha; and Sonya, who has been brought up by the Rostovs and is in love with Nikolai.

I think this is as good a time as any to view the next 10 minutes of the Bondarchuk film. It puts things in its own order but roughly touches on these chapters:

 

7. A double name-day celebration at the Rostovs'. (Maude 10)
8. Natasha. (Maude 11)
. . . .
10. Nikolay's relationship with Sonya. (Maude 13)
11. Natasha and Boris. Boris's mother, Anna Mikhaylovna. (Maude 14)
. . . .
15. Dinner at the Rostovs'. (Maude 18)
16. Talk of war. Natasha misbehaves. (Maude 19)
17. Sonya's distress. Natasha dances with Pierre. The 'Daniel Cooper' dance.  (Maude 20)

18. Prince Vasily Kuragin's machinations over the dying count's inheritance.  (Maude 21)




Since the film snippet ends with the Daniel Cooper, I'll give this to you now.

"Truth must of necessity be stranger than fiction, for fiction is the creation of the human mind, and therefore is congenial to it." ~~G.K. Chesterton
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.


Peppermill wrote:

 

(But I do love how Anna manages conversations in the film -- and almost less successfully in the novel itself! More later on her morsel of fine boeuf in one of the three circles.)


I promised more on Ann's prime morsel of fine boeuf that we wouldn't want to eat if we knew the kitchen from which it came, so let's see if I can get the stories quasi-straight.

 

“The vicomte told his tale very neatly. It was an anecdote, then current, to the effect that the Duc d'Enghien had gone secretly to Paris to visit Mademoiselle George; that at her house he came upon Bonaparte, who also enjoyed the famous actress' favors, and that in his presence Napoleon happened to fall into one of the fainting fits to which he was subject, and was thus at the Duc's mercy. The latter spared him, and this magnanimity Bonaparte subsequently repaid by death.

 

The story was very pretty and interesting, especially at the point where the rivals suddenly recognized one another; and the ladies looked agitated.”

 

What is the significance here of the vicomte’s tale regarding the Duc d’Enghien, whose death Czar Alexander I, almost alone among the monarchs of Europe, formally protested. As best I have been able to find, the tale told here is quite fictitious. (Duc d’Enghien was accused of being part of a plot to assassinate Napoleon – also possibly unjustly.) Mme. George’s affairs with Wellington, Napoleon, and Alexander I, however, are widely reported! In fact, Alexander I biographies say he fathered two children, Maria Alexandrovna Parijskaia (b. 3/19/1814) and Wilhelmine Alexandrine Pauline Alexandrov (b. 1816) by Mademoiselle George (Marguerite-Joséphine Weimer).

 

 

One wonders how much of this Tolstoy realized when he selected this incident for his introductory story. Even though the productive liaisons of the Russian leader would not have occurred by 1805, the setting of this soirée, Tolstoy may well have known about them by the time he wrote these pages. Are there two messages at cross-purposes here: first, a positive depiction of the czar standing up against Napoleon for a royalist unjustly murdered and who was largely abandoned by the other rulers of Europe and, second, a jab at the illicit underlying connections and obligations? Why is this story so central to the introduction and appropriate at the soirée whereas the outburst by Pierre is not – even the tawdry story by Prince Ippolit is more acceptable? Because his is an outburst, or because it is supportive of Napoleon, or ...? (Anna Pavolona Scherer, after all, is maid of honor to the mother of the czar.)

 

How strong a put-down of politics is this by Tolstoy? What is he saying by following it by scenes from Moscow and then the country?

 

 

"Seize the moments of happiness, love and be loved! That is the only reality in the world, all else is folly. It is the one thing we are interested in here." -- Leo Tolstoy