Up until now, I’ve remembered most of these chapters from last time I read War and Peace or they’ve come back to me as I read them.
But for the life of me, I cannot remember this incident with Denisov in the hospital and Nikolai going to visit him at all.
Maybe I blocked them out . . . by far, this is one of the most horrific of the war chapters we’ve encountered yet.
While the death on the battlefield was a horrific thing, the suffering of these soldiers in the rotting hospital in Prussia is something else entirely. It had been hinted a couple of chapters before, that more men were dying in the hospital than in the battlefield, but now Tolstoy shows us why that is so. I don’t need to say much about it, the chapter (all laid out in minute Tolstoy detail) is quite expressive enough. But it does remind us – for a soldier in those days, it wasn’t just the enemy that was dangerous.