Now this chapter is gold.  Firstly, because I don’t remember it at all from the first time I read it.  (I must have been reading really fast by this stage, and taking less stuff in.)

For some reason, I thought Berg and Vera were just going to drop out of the picture.

But no!  Here they are, opening their home for a soirée/card game – and it’s comic genius on Tolstoy’s part.

The feeling of superiority that both have over the other.  The great desire to have their party look exactly the same as everyone else’s (that point hammered home repeatedly by Tolstoy).  The argument over what they will discuss with their guests.

And who couldn’t help but be amused by the asymmetrical room?

I found much to chuckle over in this chapter, and to my delight, this particular soirée continues into tomorrow’s chapter.  See you then!

5 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 6.20 – A Comedic Interlude

  1. Yes, this was very much a lough-out-loud chapter for me, too and, like you, Matt, I don’t remember it at all from my first read. Of course, while the whole thing really was funny, it was, I’m sure, a pretty caustic commentary from Tolstoy about “society life” in 19th century Petersburg. Mind you, I can remember in my own younger days, hosting dinner parties where the main criteria for success was not how much people enjoyed themselves, but how things measred up against other people’s dinner parties – and I am sure that I, too, have at some time in my life had a little plate of cakes designed to be exactly as someone else’s little plate of cakes had been. I think I have well and truly grown out of that now – but, even so, this Chapter is perhaps a little subtle reminder that some things don’t always change all that much.

    But, Matt – how do you know that the soiree continues tomorrow??? You, of all people, are not reading ahead, are you?????!!!

  2. Well, actually, to tell the truth, I do kind of get a day ahead. It’s because I’m still juggling two translations.

    So what I do (rather than carry two books around) is read today’s chapter and tomorrow’s chapter on one translation on one day, and then do the same thing with the other translation the next day.

    E.g. Yesterday (30 October), I read 6.20 & 6.21 from the Maude. Today (31 October), I’ll read 6.21 and 6.22 from the Garnett.

    It makes it a bit easier with book juggling and if I have a super-busy day, and don’t get time to read it, it means I’m a chapter ahead, which has sometimes helped with the blogging.

    Of course, if it breaks the International Rules of One-Year War and Peace, well, I’ll have to give the habit up.

  3. I don’t think you have to give up War and Peace . . . I think once it’s over, I’m going to start up again – a chapter a day – maybe I’ll do it on my own forums. There’s so much out there that’s ‘about’ War and Peace too . . . I can read that.

    And there’s the movies!

    Here’s my characters for today . . .

    Panin –

    The old people sat with the old, the young with the young, and the hostess at the tea table, on which stood exactly the same kind of cakes in a silver cake basket as the Panins had at their party

    Yusupova –

    “Princess Yusupova wore one exactly like this,” said Berg, pointing to the fichu with a happy and kindly smile.

    My count is now 575

  4. Matt, I’m not sure but I think you may well be violating some international treaties here – but, hey, let’s live dangerously.

    Carly, I reckon we could almost start a little competition for people to guess what number your character count will eventually get up to by time we reach the end.

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