The amusing thing about reading Book 4 of War and Peace is that all the soap opera aspects that disappeared after Book 1 (and makes most people stop reading at Book 2), all come back with an absolute vengeance in this Book 4.

Here we go, with buds of romance starting to blossom between Denisov and Natasha.  Well, okay, he’s head over heels, and she’s 14 and in love with everybody.  It may not work.

But they’ll dance some great mazurkas in the meantime . . .

I’m not really much of a dancer at all (I had a few weeks of lessons before my wedding with Rachel), but I often wish I was.  I especially notice this when the old community hall next to us fires up on ballroom dancing nights. The sounds of the old crooners and the dance tunes from the 40s and 50s float across the night air, and even though the dancers at the evening are mostly well into their 60s, there’s a sense of enjoyment and fun that I’ve never felt at any nightclub that I’ve ever visited in my time.

Denisov’s mazurka just reminded me of all that . . . Ah well . . .

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 4.12 – Denisov’s Mazurka

  1. Now, Matt, I’m not going to quite agree with your description of these chapters as “soap”, but I take your point nonetheless – it’s certainly a far cry from the battlefield, and even from the intensity of birth and death in Bolkonsky household. I think we probably needed a little bit of light relief after all of that – but, even so, the whole thing for me is still so rich and alive because, when it’s Tolstoy telling the story, everything seems to have that extra dimension to it.

    In this case, that dimension has certainly got a lot of sparkle to it, with Denisov’s mazurka really sounding quite “out there” – enough for even the always-over-the-top Natasha to say, “What on Earth is that?” It sounds a lot of fun and, whatever Denisov is on, I want some!!

  2. Natasha calls Denisov Vasili Dmitrich in this chapter – guess that’s his name, eh?
    ……………………………………….
    Gorchakov Princesses –
    The two pretty young Princesses Gorchakov met suitors there and were married and so further increased the fame of these dances.
    Iogel – the dancing master
    What distinguished them from others was the absence of host or hostess and the presence of the good-natured Iogel, flying about like a feather and bowing according to the rules of his art, as he collected the tickets from all his visitors.
    452

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