I think my favourite quote from this chapter (and there were a few), would have to be: “Influence in the world is a capital, which must be carefully guarded if it is not to disappear.”

But the highlight of the chapter would be the discussion about Napoleon – is he a good guy or a bad guy?  I’d have to do my own research on that particular question, but I think what’s amusing is the way the conversation progresses.

Like any gathering of people that talk about politics – whether it be liberals or conservatives – talking about politics and freedom of speech always seem to be encouraged until you get someone who holds the opposite view.

I can completely identify with Pierre’s blunder of speaking up boldly about his views on Napoleon in the middle of that soireé.  While his views may be misguided, it’s not his political opinion that’s at issue so much as the fact that he dared to breathe a different opinion to everyone else.

So when Ippolit (Hippolyte) tells his absolutely stupid tale about the female coachman, this is considerably more acceptable to the crowd than anything Pierre might say.  Luckily for Pierre, Andrei (in an uncharacteristic moment of kindness) rescues him from the crowd.  I’ll talk more about the relationship between Andrei and Pierre in another post.

In the meantime, we were also introduced to Princess Drubetskoy, who was lobbying for her son, Boris.  Also, there was a bit of information given as a throwaway that might be important later – and that is that Prince Vassily is related to Pierre’s dad. . . So, for those two new things, the MindMap has been updated accordingly.


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 1.4 – Conversation About Politics

  1. In this chapter, the politics is really about Princess Drubetskoy petitioning Prince Vasily for her son’s placement. She did that so well . . . Tolstoy is cynical about her, going so far as to criticize her having smiled cotequishly in such a way, only a younger woman is ‘allowed’ to do.

    Why is it people have a problem with older women when they do something they used to do in their youth?

    Anyway, Tolstoy makes a point of mentioning that when Vasily was gone, her face went back to normal . . . her face resumed its former cold, artificial expression . . .

    I do find Tolstoy a little harsh on women sometimes. He either ignores them completely, or chastises them for acting in a way he doesn’t approve of.


  2. I don’t think I’ve added Prince Andrew (Andrei – Andrey) to my character list.

    That makes 30 I’ve counted so far.

    He walks onto the scene in this chapter.

    (And yes, I know – the elderly lady is – it’s Boris’s mother . . . Princess Drubetskaya – aka Anna Mikhaylovna.

    So, I need to add ‘Boris’ . . .

    Vasily suggests she appeals to ‘Rumyantsev’ through ‘Prince Golitsyn’ . . . so that’s two more characters, making my total ’32’.

    I must adjust Kutuzov’s name on the listing – his full name is Michael Ilarionovich Kutuzov.

    So there’s a couple of people leaving the party – Vasily and his daughter, Helene – both main players in the story. Also, Prince Andre and his wife, Lise.

    And Anna Mikhaylovna (Drubetskaya) and her son Boris have been introduced to the story.


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