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

Rotten beef, indeed, covered with a fine French sauce.

 


Peppermill wrote:

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?

 

 


 

 

"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 - Metaphors

Fozzie,

 

I agree with you concerning the metaphors.  They are delightful!  Thanks for posting these.

 

tgem

 


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.


 

 

 

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

PaulK,

 

It has been a long time since I've read Russian Lit, although I love it.  I remember some tricks I used to help with the names.  If there is no one else with the same first name, I train myself to just read the first name.  When a person has a long and complicated name, I find something I'm comfortable with and train myself to translate to that name.  For instance, the little Princess Bolkonskaya can be Lise.

 

I like your comment about the weight of the book.  It's some heavy reading. :smileyindifferent:

 

tgem 


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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Re: White Nights

Laurel,

 

Thank you for this guided journey.  I didn't know about this.  I'm starting to feel the attraction I once had for this part of the world, and my fantasy about traveling there.

 

tgem

 


Laurel wrote:
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.


 

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Re: On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

Laurel,

 

Am I correct in remembering that Natasha, a.k.a. Natalya, is also called Nathalie?  That's my mother's name, and people were always wanting to call her Natalie, which is more common here in the U.S.  Her father came from Ukraine.

 

tgem


 Laurel wrote in part:

 

...and 13-year-old Natasha (Natalya), our heroine.

 

 

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Re: On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

Yes, Nathalie would be one of the forms of the name. "H' is often tricky whin transliterating a language, because it can mean many things and often combines with the letter after it or before it to make a sound that is unkown in the target language.

 


tgem wrote:

Laurel,

 

Am I correct in remembering that Natasha, a.k.a. Natalya, is also called Nathalie?  That's my mother's name, and people were always wanting to call her Natalie, which is more common here in the U.S.  Her father came from Ukraine.

 

tgem


 Laurel wrote in part:

 

...and 13-year-old Natasha (Natalya), our heroine.

 

 


 

 

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Re: On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

[ Edited ]

The scenes at the Rostov residence in Moscow are my favorites of Part I. The infectious love within this family overflows to the community about them. Nonetheless, Tolstoy provides glimpses of family tensions -- Natasha perhaps a bit spoiled in overreaction to Vera's careful upbringing; extended obligations to Anna Mihalovna, her son Boris, and to Sonya; a willingness to be a bit snippy about visitors once they leave; Nikolai who is young and uncertain of his allegiances; the luxury, even extravagance, of their entertaining. And then there are lines like Count Rostov's "portly form again shook with a deep ringing laugh, the laugh of one who always eats well and, in particular, drinks well. 'So, do come and dine with us....'"

 

Vivid are scenes like Natasha's entrance (with the other youth), the drawing-room and dining table conversations, the gossip, the incipient romances, the underlying concerns about sons leaving for military service, the sibling squabbles, the formidable Maria Dmitrievna Ahrosimov, the talk of war and politics, the audacity of Natasha again and again, the card playing, and finally the Daniel Cooper with Maria D and Count Rostov.

 


Laurel wrote {ed.}: 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, ostensibly 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.

 


Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-07-2008 10:02 AM
"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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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.

I am just now reading all of the posts carefully and notice we posted the same thing, Laurel!  LOL!

 


Laurel wrote:

Good points, both of you. Anna Pavlovna is a combination of a shop foreman and a maitre d':

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. ch. 2
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. ch. 3

 

Laura

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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 - Cliffs Notes

I haven't been reading the commentaries, just the summaries.  I have found, in other books, that the commentaries contain spoilers.  I don't chance it anymore.

 

I disagree with the comments also.  He is not without a personal history.

 


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


 

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Re: White Nights

I hadn't picked up on this!  I didn't realize St. Petersburg was that far north.  Thanks for the links.

 

 

Laura

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

I am very weak on history, but here is a footnote from my book, in case it is helpful:

 

"The reference is to the murder of Louis-Antoine, duc d'Enghien (1772-1804), of the princely house of Conde, who lived in emigration in Germany after the revolution.  Falsely accusing him of taking part in a plot to assassinate him, Bonaparte had him arrested, condemned by a summary court-martial, and shot.  Alexander I ws the only European monarch to protest openly against this act."

 


Peppermill wrote:

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?

 

 


 

Laura

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Re: On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

Great post, Peppermill! I think I could get really involved with this family. There's quite a contrast between the mother and the father, isn't there?

Peppermill wrote:

The scenes at the Rostov residence in Moscow are my favorites of Part I. The infectious love within this family overflows to the community about them. Nonetheless, Tolstoy provides glimpses of family tensions -- Natasha perhaps a bit spoiled in overreaction to Vera's careful upbringing; extended obligations to Anna Mihalovna, her son Boris, and to Sonya; a willingness to be a bit snippy about visitors once they leave; Nikolai who is young and uncertain of his allegiances; the luxury, even extravagance, of their entertaining. And then there are lines like Count Rostov's "portly form again shook with a deep ringing laugh, the laugh of one who always eats well and, in particular, drinks well. 'So, do come and dine with us....'"

 

Vivid are scenes like Natasha's entrance (with the other youth), the drawing-room and dining table conversations, the gossip, the incipient romances, the underlying concerns about sons leaving for military service, the sibling squabbles, the formidable Maria Dmitrievna Ahrosimov, the talk of war and politics, the audacity of Natasha again and again, the card playing, and finally the Daniel Cooper with Maria D and Count Rostov.

 


Laurel wrote {ed.}: 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, ostensibly 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.

 


Message Edited by Peppermill on 08-07-2008 10:02 AM

 

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

[ Edited ]

Perhaps it has something to do with our names. :smileyvery-happy:

 

 

 

I am just now reading all of the posts carefully and notice we posted the same thing, Laurel!  LOL!

 


Laurel wrote:

Good points, both of you. Anna Pavlovna is a combination of a shop foreman and a maitre d':

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. ch. 2
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. ch. 3

 

Laura
Message Edited by Laurel on 08-07-2008 08:54 AM
Message Edited by Laurel on 08-07-2008 08:56 AM
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Tolstoy Zingers

Here's someone else who has been reading War and Peace.

 

She lists the following amazing insights precisely put from 1.1--what she calls zingers. What others would you add from this section of the book?


Tolstoy Zingers

One of the things I love best about War and Peace is how action-packed it is ... and yet how, suddenly, seemingly out of nowhere, we get these psychological ZINGERS thrown at us - which have such the ring of truth that I am amazed at the insight. These are things I have also perceived - in myself, and in my fellow man - foibles, vanities, whatever ... but the way Tolstoy just boils it down is one of the most thrilling parts, for me, of his writing style.

Zingers:

 

Page 10

Ellen was so lovely that she was not merely free from the slightest shade of coquetry, she seemed on the contrary ashamed of the too evident, too violent and all-conquering influence of her beauty. She seemed to wish but to be unable to soften the effect of her beauty.

Page 19

He looked at them all and smiled. His smile was utterly unlike the half-smile of all the others. When he smiled, suddenly, instantaneously, his serious, even rather sullen, face vanished completely, and a quite different face appeared, childish, good-humoured, even rather stupid, that seemed to beg indulgence.

Page 61

Berg talked very precisely, serenely, and politely. All he said was always concerning himself. He always maintained a serene silence when any subject was discussed that had no direct bearing on himself. And he could be silent in that way for several hours at a time, neither experiencing nor causing in others the slightest embarrassment. But as soon as the conversation concerned him personally, he began to talk at length and with visible satisfaction.

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

One of the commentaries I ran across suggested that Chapter1 1-4 were the embodiment of the title of the novel.  Not only is there talk of war in the midst of the peace of a soiree, but  that in this apparently peaceful setting  Anna Pavlovna is actually running the event with the precision of a general running a battle.  Vasili calls her first foray an "attack," and she threatens him if he dares to "defend" Bonaparte. Vasili is in uniform with stars, presumably military honors, on his breast.  When Pierre gets into a heated conflict, she steps in to try to restore peace. 

 

It's an interesting approach to the openign chapter.  I'm not entirely persuaded, but also there's no doubt that the theme of war (the first word, after all, in the title) is central to the book, and why not from the very start.  

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

It didn't strike me at the time, but reading these in your post I was struck with how very much they were exactly the sort of thing Homer wrote over and over!


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.


 

 

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

I agree.  I got this translation from the library to see whether it was enough better than the other translations I have to invest in it.  I found this approach extremely distracting.  I am perfectly capable of imagining the conversation if I'm told it's in French; I don't need to interrupt my reading of the text either to go down to the undersized footnotes to read the story or to just skip over those parts and miss important aspects of the book.  Perhaps the translators like this approach because they are French (or at least are living in France; I don't know their actual nationality) and it's no problem for them to read the French.  But like you, I found it distracting and detracting from the flow of reading the story.


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.   [snip]


 


 

 

 

_______________
I think, therefore I drive people nuts.
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JessikaDarcy
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Re: On to Moscow 1.6 and beyond.

I have to agree with you. I have to say I love the scenes with the younger generation. I think it captures exactly what youth is facinated with. They are essentially reinacting adult relationships with all the gossip and infactuations, and yet as soon as no one is around they are quick to return to their childlike routes. I found that extremely interesting when I was reading those couple of chapters.

Peppermill wrote:

The scenes at the Rostov residence in Moscow are my favorites of Part I. The infectious love within this family overflows to the community about them. Nonetheless, Tolstoy provides glimpses of family tensions -- Natasha perhaps a bit spoiled in overreaction to Vera's careful upbringing; extended obligations to Anna Mihalovna, her son Boris, and to Sonya; a willingness to be a bit snippy about visitors once they leave; Nikolai who is young and uncertain of his allegiances; the luxury, even extravagance, of their entertaining. And then there are lines like Count Rostov's "portly form again shook with a deep ringing laugh, the laugh of one who always eats well and, in particular, drinks well. 'So, do come and dine with us....'"

 

Vivid are scenes like Natasha's entrance (with the other youth), the drawing-room and dining table conversations, the gossip, the incipient romances, the underlying concerns about sons leaving for military service, the sibling squabbles, the formidable Maria Dmitrievna Ahrosimov, the talk of war and politics, the audacity of Natasha again and again, the card playing, and finally the Daniel Cooper with Maria D and Count Rostov.

 

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Laurel
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Dancing and Dying ch. 17-21

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)

19. Anna Mikhaylovna takes Pierre to see his dying father. (Maude 22)

20. The count does not recognize anyone.Pierre's discomfort. (Maude 23)

21. Death of the count. (Maude 24)

 

While in the Rostovs' ballroom the sixth anglaise was being danced, to a tune in which the weary musicians blundered, and while tired footmen and cooks were getting the supper, Count Bezukhov had a sixth stroke. [emphasis added] --Pevear 18, Maude 21

 

Everyone seems to know that Count Bezukhov has written a will that leaves the bulk of his great wealth to Prince Vasily Kuragin, whose wife is a close relative, but Prince Vasily and the count's nieces know that there is another, later, will under the count's pillow that leaves the wealth to Pierre. Count Bezukhov has written to the emperor asking that Pierre be legitimized so he can inherit.

 

Prince Vasily conspires with the oldest niece, Katish, to get hold of the second will. They are discussing the tactic of taking it to the old count, in front of the priests and gathered relatives, and asking him to renounce it. Just then Anna Mikhaylovna comes in. She, knowing that Pierre is far more likely to help her than is Prince Vasily, tries to convince Vasily to not disturb the count. There is a fierce struggle, and, in the midst of the tug-of-war, someone comes in to say that the count is dead.

 

Thus, if the count's letter makes it to the emperor and the emperor approves it, our Pierre will be one of the richest men in Russia, the owner of a vast estate that including 40,000 male serfs, not counting their wives and children.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSOsSHfm8KU

"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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Happy29fan
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Re: Dancing and Dying ch. 17-21


Laurel wrote:
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)

19. Anna Mikhaylovna takes Pierre to see his dying father. (Maude 22)

20. The count does not recognize anyone.Pierre's discomfort. (Maude 23)

21. Death of the count. (Maude 24)

 

While in the Rostovs' ballroom the sixth anglaise was being danced, to a tune in which the weary musicians blundered, and while tired footmen and cooks were getting the supper, Count Bezukhov had a sixth stroke. [emphasis added] --Pevear 18, Maude 21

 

Everyone seems to know that Count Bezukhov has written a will that leaves the bulk of his great wealth to Prince Vasily Kuragin, whose wife is a close relative, but Prince Vasily and the count's nieces know that there is another, later, will under the count's pillow that leaves the wealth to Pierre. Count Bezukhov has written to the emperor asking that Pierre be legitimized so he can inherit.

 

Prince Vasily conspires with the oldest niece, Katish, to get hold of the second will. They are discussing the tactic of taking it to the old count, in front of the priests and gathered relatives, and asking him to renounce it. Just then Anna Mikhaylovna comes in. She, knowing that Pierre is far more likely to help her than is Prince Vasily, tries to convince Vasily to not disturb the count. There is a fierce struggle, and, in the midst of the tug-of-war, someone comes in to say that the count is dead.

 

Thus, if the count's letter makes it to the emperor and the emperor approves it, our Pierre will be one of the richest men in Russia, the owner of a vast estate that including 40,000 male serfs, not counting their wives and children.

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSOsSHfm8KU


 

I found it odd that they had Count Bezukhov "slumping" in an armchair while he is dying.  Was this a common practice?  In one sentence in the first paragraph of Chapter 20, it states that "Prince Vasily was standing beside the invalid chair on the other side of the door".  Also, there doesn't appear to be any privacy in dying.  From the description of the scene, it sounds like his room was more crowded that Grand Central Station at rush hour!