I’m back!  I’ll have to rush through these chapters in a bit of a hurry to catch up – which is a shame, because I foudn these battle scenes absolutely gripping and intense to read . . .

But still, I can’t give you everything on a plate, can I?

All I’ll say for this chapter is that I loved the whole concept of the Russians disappearing into a vast mist, thinking the French are miles away – little knowing that they’re very close in front of them.

And, of course, the awesome description of Napoleon, perched on the hill, ovelooking the whole scene in a godlike manner.  I know Tolstoy’s theory is that history is determined by millions of little actions of humans, not the actions of the few and the might – but you’ve got to admit – there is something larger than life about this description of Napoleon.  Finally, Tolstoy describes the man – he’s always been seen in the distance, or we’ve read his letters.

But here he is – and he gives the signal to attack . . .

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3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 3.14 – The Mist and Napoleon

  1. Welcome back, Matt! So much to catch up on, and you’ve been gone only for a couple of days.

    You are right about Tolstoy’s description of Napoleon in this chapter. It is an amazing description and, for me, both he and the mist dominate this chapter and create an tremndously ominous sense of anticipation – the masses of the Russian army all, it seems submerging into the fog and then Napoleon somehow standing above it all directing everything with just a signal from his glove.

    I guess if this was all we got to see of Napoleon and of the battle you would be right inseeing it as very much at odds with Tolstoy’s views about what really drives a war – but, remember, there is still much, much more to come!

  2. Adjutant –

    “What division are you?” shouted an adjutant, riding up.

    Austrian Guide –

    At the front an altercation occurred between an Austrian guide and a Russian general. The general shouted a demand that the cavalry should be halted, the Austrian argued that not he, but the higher command, was to blame.

    General –

    Then a general rode past shouting something angrily, not in Russian.

    Mitrich – Sergeant Major

    However far he has walked, whatever strange, unknown, and dangerous places he reaches, just as a sailor is always surrounded by the same decks, masts, and rigging of his ship, so the soldier always has around him the same comrades, the same ranks, the same sergeant major Ivan Mitrich, the same company dog Jack, and the same commanders.

    Napoleon –

    It has just occurred to me that I’ve never put the name of Napoleon Bonaparte onto my word count!

    Officers (2) –

    “I say, shall we soon be clear? They say the cavalry are blocking the way,” said an officer.

    “Ah, those damned Germans! They don’t know their own country!” said another.

    Russian General –

    At the front an altercation occurred between an Austrian guide and a Russian general. The general shouted a demand that the cavalry should be halted, the Austrian argued that not he, but the higher command, was to blame.

    Soldier –

    “Tafa-lafa! But what he’s jabbering no one can make out,” said a soldier, mimicking the general who had ridden away. “I’d shoot them, the scoundrels!”

    362

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