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1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805

1.1 July-August 1805

 

In War and Peace, Tolstoy maintains a delicate balance between stirring scenes of major historical events and intimate portraits of daily life. In 365 chapters (approximately 1500 pages), the author moves back and forth between social life and military life, ballrooms and battles, marriages and massacres, and many venues in between. No character is too small and no subject too large for Tolstoy's broad literary canvas. One critic from Tolstoy's time called its author "a reflector as vast as a natural lake; a monster harnessed to his great subject—all of human life!"   --Andy Kaufman

 

Briggs's summary of Book 1 by chapters:

 

 1. Anna Scherer's soiree in Moscow. Prince Vasily negotiates.

 2. Pierre Bezukhov arrives

 3. Andrey Bolkonsky arrives to rejoin his pregnant wife, Lise. (Maude 3 and half of 4)

 4. Pierre's faux pas in conversation. (Maude second half of 4, and 5)

 

 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)

***The on-line versions mistakenly use part of Book 2 for Maude 7. ***

 7. A double name-day celebration at the Rostovs'. (Maude 10)
 8. Natasha. (Maude 11)
 9. Nikolay has joined the army. (Maude 12)
10. Nikolay's relationship with Sonya. (Maude 13)
11. Natasha and Boris. Boris's mother, Anna Mikhaylovna. (Maude 14)
12. She takes her son to visit the dying Count Kirill Bezukhov. (Maude 15)
13. Boris visits Pierre. (Maude 16)

 

12. Anna Mikhaylovna takes her son to visit the dying Count Kirill Bezukhov. (Maude 15)

13. Boris visits Pierre. (Maude 16)

14. Countess Rostov gives Anna Mikhaylovna money for her son's uniform. (Maude 17)

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)

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)

 

22. Bald Hills. Old Prince Nikolay Bolkonsky and his daughter, Princess Marya. (Maude 25)

23. Prince Andrey arrives with Lise. (Maude 26)

24. The old prince discusses Napoleon's merits with his son. (Maude 27)

25. Andrey leaves for the army. Lise is unhappy and frightened about giving birth. (Maude 28)

 

Welcome to a conversation about Tolstoy's great epic. To begin, I would like to just hear your general impressions of this section. Then we will discuss the chapters pretty much as they are divided above. I am posting this thread on August 1 because I know many are eager to begin. So go right ahead and "jump the gun." Who will be first?

 

If you have not yet introduced yourself in the Silver Samovar thread, please do so now. Even if you plan to be a lurker, it is helpful to know how many are here.

 

Here is a link to the online Maude translation.

 

And here is the searchable Maude translation.

 

Matthew Hodge's one-year blog of the novel is very helpful. (Scroll down for the beginning.)

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

[ Edited ]

Anne Pavlovna Scherer's soiree right at the beginning of the book is just the sort of soiree I like to attend - it launches into controversial politics immediately!  But it also foreshadows what is to come because what was happening in Austria in 1805 was to be of utmost importance to our characters.   The spelling of 'Buonapartes' instead of Bonapartes also hints at the disdain in which educated Russians now held Napoleon, who had recently declared himself Emperor. The use of the 'u' indicates that he was a jumped-up Corsican.  Beethoven reputedly tore up his manuscript of the Erioca Symphony, which had been dedicated to him, when he heard that he had crowned himself Emperor . After all, France had a Revolution to get rid of monarchy and to impose a Republic!     

 

BTW the Notes at the end of our editions are essential to understanding the politics which are being referred to at this soiree.  Does everyone have these?  If not, I expect Laurel could post them for reference.    

 

(SPOILER) There is also mention of General Kutuzov, 'The Fox of the North', one of the most revered generals in Russian history, saviour of Moscow and Stalin's inspiration for the Siege of Stalingrad 1942/3 (which was the turning point in WWII which saved our bacon!).  What a coup for the Princess to have such an important personage at her soiree, even though he was currently out of favour.  Interestingly, Kutuzov has been compared with the Roman general Fabius Maximus who was famous for his delaying tactics in battle and we shall learn more about that later and whether Kutuzov used these tactics or not.

 

We are, incidentally, in St Petersburg, so here are some 360 degree panoramic shots of that wonderful historic city. 

 

But now Laurel, in her disguise as the Princess, has tapped me on the shoulder and 'smiling sweetly has indicated that the political and social conversation is now at an end and personal conversation is in order':smileyvery-happy:.


Laurel wrote:

1.1 July-August 1805

 

In War and Peace, Tolstoy maintains a delicate balance between stirring scenes of major historical events and intimate portraits of daily life. In 365 chapters (approximately 1500 pages), the author moves back and forth between social life and military life, ballrooms and battles, marriages and massacres, and many venues in between. No character is too small and no subject too large for Tolstoy's broad literary canvas. One critic from Tolstoy's time called its author "a reflector as vast as a natural lake; a monster harnessed to his great subject—all of human life!"   --Andy Kaufman

 

 

 1. Anna Scherer's soiree in Moscow. Prince Vasily negotiates.

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-02-2008 07:08 AM
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soiree.


 

Choisya, you have just done my work for me. Thank you, that was beautifully put! I'm counting on everybody to chime in with notes from their editions and their own impressions and brilliant small talk and philosophizing. This book is just too big for me to handle alone. Did you notice that Tolstoy, in true epic style, begins right in the middle of things?

 

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

 

Why all the French in a Russian film/book? Here's the Barnes & Noble classics edition note to the fifth paragraph:

 

4. (p.3) He spoke in that elaborate choice French:  As part of his program of accelerated Europeanization, Peter the Great (1672-1725) Peter the Great promoted the adoption of European aristocratic norms of behavior and the use of French, the prestigious language of the time.Until the Russian Revolution of 1917, members of the Russian nobility were bilingual, relying on French as their language of social intercourse, often to the detriment of their command of Russian. 

 

 


Choisya wrote:

Anne Pavlovna Scherer's soiree right at the beginning of the book is just the sort of soiree I like to attend - it launches into controversial politics immediately!  But it also foreshadows what is to come because what was happening in Austria in 1805 was to be of utmost importance to our characters.   The spelling of 'Buonapartes' instead of Bonapartes also hints at the disdain in which educated Russians now held Napoleon, who had recently declared himself Emperor. The use of the 'u' indicates that he was a jumped-up Corsican.  Beethoven reputedly tore up his manuscript of the Erioca Symphony, which had been dedicated to him, when he heard that he had crowned himself Emperor . After all, France had a Revolution to get rid of monarchy and to impose a Republic!     

 

BTW the Notes at the end of our editions are essential to understanding the politics which are being referred to at this soiree.  Does everyone have these?  If not, I expect Laurel could post them for reference.    

 

(SPOILER) There is also mention of General Kutuzov, 'The Fox of the North', one of the most revered generals in Russian history, saviour of Moscow and Stalin's inspiration for the Siege of Stalingrad 1942/3 (which was the turning point in WWII which saved our bacon!).  What a coup for the Princess to have such an important personage at her soiree, even though he was currently out of favour.  Interestingly, Kutuzov has been compared with the Roman general Fabius Maximus who was famous for his delaying tactics in battle and we shall learn more about that later and whether Kutuzov used these tactics or not.

 

We are, incidentally, in St Petersburg, so here are some 360 degree panoramic shots of that wonderful historic city. 

 

But now Laurel, in her disguise as the Princess, has tapped me on the shoulder and 'smiling sweetly has indicated that the political and social conversation is now at an end and personal conversation is in order':smileyvery-happy:.



 

 

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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soiree & a la Francais.

Thanks lot Laurel (great link!)but I didn't want to spike your guns:smileysurprised:   It was 'well put' except that I said that Kutuzov himself was expected at the soiree whereas it was, of course, his aide Prince Bolkonsky.  Sorry!  We meet the old fox later on:smileyhappy:

 

Yes, the use of French at the Russian Court and in aristocratic circles was very common at this time although Tolstoy himself, like Pushkin, was one of those who spoke out against this effete practice and urged a return to the Russian language and for greater respect for Russian folk music and poetry in the vernacular.  This was part of the 'back to the country' movement and the failed Decembrist Revolt of the 1820s which we discussed in both Eugene Onegin and Anna Karenina.  War and Peace started out as a novel about the Decembrist revolt but as Tolstoy was researching it, he started to draw a wider canvas which took in the war with Napoleon although there is mention of the Decembrists in the first draft of the novel.   A number of the nobles who took part in the revolt, including Pushkin, were banished to their country estates by the Tsar for a number of years and the first draft of the novel has old Prince Bolkonsky so confined.  (Banishments like this and preventing people from travelling abroad did not start with the Soviets!) The Decembrist revolt is said to be the precursor of the Russian Revolution proper because it was an attempt to depose the Tsar, or at least create a constitutional monarchy (like Britain), and to establish a Republic.  

 

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.)

 

 


Laurel wrote:

Choisya, you have just done my work for me. Thank you, that was beautifully put! I'm counting on everybody to chime in with notes from their editions and their own impressions and brilliant small talk and philosophizing. This book is just too big for me to handle alone. Did you notice that Tolstoy, in true epic style, begins right in the middle of things?

 

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

 

Why all the French in a Russian film/book? Here's the Barnes & Noble classics edition note to the fifth paragraph:

 

4. (p.3) He spoke in that elaborate choice French:  As part of his program of accelerated Europeanization, Peter the Great (1672-1725) Peter the Great promoted the adoption of European aristocratic norms of behavior and the use of French, the prestigious language of the time.Until the Russian Revolution of 1917, members of the Russian nobility were bilingual, relying on French as their language of social intercourse, often to the detriment of their command of Russian. 

 

 

 

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Enter Pierre

2. Pierre Bezukhov arrives (Maude 2)

3. Andrey Bolkonsky arrives to rejoin his pregnant wife, Lise. (Maude 3 and half of 4)

4. Pierre's faux pas in conversation. (Maude second half of 4, and 5)

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)

 

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?

"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.

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.

 


 

 

"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 & Russian Nobility.

[ Edited ]

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

Peppermill wrote in part:  I do love how Anna manages conversation...

 

I agree with this.  For this reading I'm trying to concentrate a bit less on the overall events and more on the subtleties, how Tolstoy presents his characters, the little ways in which he manipulates the story.

 

The way he shows Anna managing the soiree is really beautiful.   Maybe it's a guy thing (but come to think of it, Tolstoy was a guy!), but I never thought of parties requiring this much careful and unobtrusive but firm management, making sure that each group of people has the right members, watching out for the bear/boor who intrudes into her china shop and trying to limit his breakages as much as possible.

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

I think it was probably quite large. Chapter 2 begins:

Anna Pavlovna's drawing room was gradually filling. The highest Petersburg society was assembled there: people differing widely in age and character but alike in the social circle to which they belonged.

And then Lize, The Little Princess, playfully takes the hostess to task:

"Mind, Annette, I hope you have not played a wicked trick on me," she added, turning to her hostess. "You wrote that it was to be quite a small reception, and just see how badly I am dressed." And she spread out her arms to show her short-waisted, lace-trimmed, dainty gray dress, girdled with a broad ribbon just below the breast.

Aren't you glad that we do not meet more people by name than we do in these first few chapters?

 

That reminds me of a word of advice someone gave me before my first reading of War and Peace. She said to not be overwhelmed by all the people in it and try to remember everyone's name immediately, that it's like going to a big reception and meeting for the first time the many people you will be working with for the next few months. You'll get to know them eventually, just not all at once.

 


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.

 


 

 


 

 

 

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

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
 

Everyman wrote:

Peppermill wrote in part:  I do love how Anna manages conversation...

 

I agree with this.  For this reading I'm trying to concentrate a bit less on the overall events and more on the subtleties, how Tolstoy presents his characters, the little ways in which he manipulates the story.

 

The way he shows Anna managing the soiree is really beautiful.   Maybe it's a guy thing (but come to think of it, Tolstoy was a guy!), but I never thought of parties requiring this much careful and unobtrusive but firm management, making sure that each group of people has the right members, watching out for the bear/boor who intrudes into her china shop and trying to limit his breakages as much as possible.


 

 
"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.

[ Edited ]

That reminds me of a word of advice someone gave me before my first reading of War and Peace. She said to not be overwhelmed by all the people in it and try to remember everyone's name immediately, that it's like going to a big reception and meeting for the first time the many people you will be working with for the next few months. You'll get to know them eventually, just not all at once.

 

 

That was good advice Laurel!  I have been to a lot of receptions and I used to dread being introduced to people because I knew I would forget their names immediately, especially if they were foreign ones!  There is a knack to remembering names I think because many schoolteachers seem to learn the names of the entire class at the beginning of every school year!  I have to talk to someone for awhile before I remember their name. 


Laurel wrote:

I think it was probably quite large. Chapter 2 begins:

Anna Pavlovna's drawing room was gradually filling. The highest Petersburg society was assembled there: people differing widely in age and character but alike in the social circle to which they belonged.

And then Lize, The Little Princess, playfully takes the hostess to task:

"Mind, Annette, I hope you have not played a wicked trick on me," she added, turning to her hostess. "You wrote that it was to be quite a small reception, and just see how badly I am dressed." And she spread out her arms to show her short-waisted, lace-trimmed, dainty gray dress, girdled with a broad ribbon just below the breast.

Aren't you glad that we do not meet more people by name than we do in these first few chapters?

 

That reminds me of a word of advice someone gave me before my first reading of War and Peace. She said to not be overwhelmed by all the people in it and try to remember everyone's name immediately, that it's like going to a big reception and meeting for the first time the many people you will be working with for the next few months. You'll get to know them eventually, just not all at once.

 

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-04-2008 11:57 AM
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.

[ Edited ]

I love the second quote here Laurel and will think of it at the next party I go to - I should have read it before my Srawberry Tea as I had a couple of choice morsels there!

 


Laurel wrote:

...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

 

Message Edited by Choisya on 08-04-2008 11:58 AM
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805

Hello all.  This is my first time joining in the Epic book club and I'm excited to read what other people think of the book.  I'm still reading the first Part, it definitely takes more time than I initially thought!  Hopefully by Wed I'll be done...it's definitely not a book I want to try and play catch up on.  :smileyhappy:

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

[ Edited ]

Welcome, Cecelia! Chime in any time with your thoughts as you read. I've scheduled War and Peace as a three-month read, but plan to keep the discussion open through November, while we are reading Chekhov.

 


cmflanagan wrote:

Hello all.  This is my first time joining in the Epic book club and I'm excited to read what other people think of the book.  I'm still reading the first Part, it definitely takes more time than I initially thought!  Hopefully by Wed I'll be done...it's definitely not a book I want to try and play catch up on.  :smileyhappy:


 

 

Message Edited by Laurel on 08-04-2008 10:10 AM
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Re: 1. WAR AND PEACE 1.1 July-August 1805 : The Soirée.

Thanks for the advice about the names. I've been trying to remember them by the actions and a slightly their nicknames, like "little princess" or "the guy who told that crazy joke". I know that eventually, the names will catch on.

 

I did find it interesting the influences of French society on Russian society. We are always taught that one of the czars loved France so much that he incorporated it into Russian architecture, however I had no idea that it had influenced Russian society so much that it is represented in literature, and essentially general culture. I thought it was extremely fascinating to look at.

 

 

 

Also, I found it interest the different discussions of war. Today, we have similar discussion. Though many may believe the arguments and situations are new to our generation, they really aren't. It is pretty clear when you examine their different arguments and discussions through out the party, as well as after.  

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

[ Edited ]

Here are my favorite snippets of conversation about war so far:

 

At the soiree:

 

"Won't you come over to the other table?" suggested Anna Pavlovna.

 

But Pierre continued his speech without heeding her.

 

"No," cried he, becoming more and more eager, "Napoleon is great because he rose superior to the Revolution, suppressed its abuses, preserved all that was good in it- equality of citizenship and freedom of speech and of the press- and only for that reason did he obtain power."

 

"Yes, if having obtained power, without availing himself of it to commit murder he had restored it to the rightful king, I should have called him a great man," remarked the vicomte.

 

"He could not do that. The people only gave him power that he might rid them of the Bourbons and because they saw that he was a great man. The Revolution was a grand thing!" continued Monsieur Pierre, betraying by this desperate and provocative proposition his extreme youth and his wish to express all that was in his mind.

 

"What? Revolution and regicide a grand thing?... Well, after that... But won't you come to this other table?" repeated Anna Pavlovna.

 

"Rousseau's Contrat social," said the vicomte with a tolerant smile.

 

"I am not speaking of regicide, I am speaking about ideas."

 

 

Afterwards, at Prince Andre's house:

 

"That is all nonsense." Prince Andrew again interrupted him, "let us talk business. Have you been to the Horse Guards?"

 

"No, I have not; but this is what I have been thinking and wanted to tell you. There is a war now against Napoleon. If it were a war for freedom I could understand it and should be the first to enter the army; but to help England and Austria against the greatest man in the world is not right."

 

Prince Andrew only shrugged his shoulders at Pierre's childish words. He put on the air of one who finds it impossible to reply to such nonsense, but it would in fact have been difficult to give any other answer than the one Prince Andrew gave to this naive question.

 

"If no one fought except on his own conviction, there would be no wars," he said.

 

"And that would be splendid," said Pierre.

 

Prince Andrew smiled ironically.

 

 


JessikaDarcy wrote:

Also, I found it interest the different discussions of war. Today, we have similar discussion. Though many may believe the arguments and situations are new to our generation, they really aren't. It is pretty clear when you examine their different arguments and discussions through out the party, as well as after.  


 

 

Message Edited by Laurel on 08-04-2008 04:09 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.

Very true Jessika!  And Tolstoy intended us to see that so he has done a good job even this early in the book:smileyhappy:

 


JessikaDarcy wrote:

Also, I found it interest the different discussions of war. Today, we have similar discussion. Though many may believe the arguments and situations are new to our generation, they really aren't. It is pretty clear when you examine their different arguments and discussions through out the party, as well as after.  


 

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

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

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.


 

 

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

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.

Laura

Reading gives us someplace to go when we have to stay where we are.