Reading for Tuesday 14/10/08
The meeting in this chapter between Andrei and Arakcheev is one of those chapters that is perhaps a bit more obscure to the ordinary reader. From what I can make out from my endnotes, Arakcheev was a real character, Tolstoy wasn’t really that keen on his politics, and so used this fictional meeting as a chance to poke some fun at him.
I’d probably have to know a bit more about Russian history to get the exact subtleties of this meeting. But I think what is far more amusing is that Andrei takes all this bad treatment in his stride (not to mention the snub from the Tsar), when previously he would have gone out in a black mood and strolled the streets of Petersburg brooding on the futility of it all. So for those who can’t quite get the satire, I think it definitely hints at a chance in the air for Andrei. (By the way, the other characters are around somewhere – I’m just not sure how long before they show back up again . . . But Andrei seems to be the particular focus at the moment.)