First off, I want to say that we now have 11 people taking part in the Tolstoy challenge (not including myself).
- Dave P
- Bruce M
- Nathain S
- Damien F
- Christina F
- Damien’s sister
- Dave E
- My sister Rachel
- Chris W
- Janine W
- Adam L
So that’s quite exciting . . .
However, was talking to Dave P tonight and he just pointed out to me that I was giving away spoilers of upcoming chapters (thus breaking my no-spoilers rule) because I was talking about stuff that hadn’t happened yet.
Thinking, I’d miscounted, I went and did some research on the net – it appears (horror of horrors) that there are a different number of War and Peace chapters depending on which English translation you are reading.
I have two in my house – one by Constance Garnett and the other by Rosemary Edmondson (a Penguin Classics edition) and that’s the chapter numbers that I’ve been working to. (That also is the chapter count that fits into the one-year plan.)
However, some of you may be working off the translation by Louise & Aylmer Maude. If that is the case, then you have the five minutes a day translation, because it has more chapters. It doesn’t have more content (you haven’t got a secret “Director’s Cut” edition), but it does split some of the longer chapters (like mine today . . .) into more chapters.
What I’m going to do (because I started it and I can) is stick to the Garnett and Edmondson chapter numbers. However, I will look up the Maude chapter numbers on Project Gutenberg and post them online every day, so you know where you should be up to.
The bad news . . . if you have been reading the Maude translation, you are now four chapters behind everyone else. What was chapter 6 for me was chapter 9 in the Maude translation, so you may have a bit of catching up to do. (This now reminds me also why I remember the chapters being shorter last time I read it – which was years ago, when I had a scruffy old copy of the Maude translation, which I have since either given away or done something else with it . . . I obviously should have kept it.)
So, depending on how quickly you read, you may find that today’s reading is closer to 15 minutes than 10.
But, anyway, you should be up to Chapter 9 of the Maude, Chapter 6 for everyone else.
If you haven’t read that far yet, then you might want to come back later to miss the spoilers below . . .
If you’re all caught up, Andrei and Pierre have got back to Andrei’s place to have a chat about life, marriage, etc. and Andrei has come out with the jaw-dropping quotable quote for the day: “Never, never marry, my dear fellow; that’s my advice to you; don’t marry till you have faced the fact that you have done all you’re capable of doing, and till you case to love the woman you have chosen, till you see her plainly, or else you will make a cruel mistake that can never be set right, etc.”
I always have to chuckle when I read that line, to think that a young man could get so jaded, so fast. (You never know – Leo Tolstoy might actually have believed this stuff. He got married quite late in life, to a girl who was 16 years younger than he was.)
Andrei’s rant about the horrors of marriage and high society is entertaining reading enough, but we then come to one of the most memorable scenes in the whole book – well, actually, there’s lots and lots of memorable scenes – but this is one of the ones that you’ll remember at the end of it all.
Pierre, despite his promise, heads off to a drinking spree with Prince Vassily’s ratbag son, Anatole. You’d think that finally reading about Anatole in person (after hearing about his reputation in chapter 1) would be a big deal – but no. He’s only introduced for a paragraph, and then straightaway is eclipsed by an even bigger ratbag – Dolohov (now added to the MindMap).
Whenever he appears, Dolohov will engage in the kind of jaw-dropping scoundrelness that makes the chapter come alive. In this, his first appearance, he engages in a life and death wager regarding a bottle of rum and a window sill . . .
To make it easier, I’ll also introduce a Tomorrow’s Reading feature for those of you with the Maude numbering and those with the regular numbering. That way you can keep up with me.
Tomorrow’s Reading (Regular): Chapter 7.
Tomorrow’s Reading (Maude): Chapter 10.