Reading for Saturday 8/11/08

Now I don’t know if we’ve got any animal rights activitsts out there reading this at the moment – Ian, you’ve got two small dogs, that might put you in that category – but we begin the famous Wolf Hunt set piece.

I think “set piece” is the only way to really describe this.  Like the ballroom scene or one of the major battles, Tolstoy goes all out to deliver the details on this Russian aristocratic pastime.

He starts by describing the day.  Nikolai’s dogs are keen to go.  Old Danilo (or Daniel, depending on your translation) is gruff and ready to go.  And so the whole family – clearly a day job is not an issue to any of them – decide to get dressed and go catch themselves a wolf.

More comments on that in the next chapter.


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 7.3 – A Good Morning For It

  1. Well, Matt, I don’t think I quite qualify to be an animal rights activist – I eat meat, after all – but, still, the recreational killing of animals is something that I do find pretty hard to mtake, so the whole idea of hunting is pretty deplorable to me but, if someone is going to write about it, I guess I would prefer it was Tolstoy. And, already, we can see how well he’s going to do it – his descriptions of the countryside, the dogs, the way the wolves fit in with it all, and then awkward Danilo, completely out of place indoors and in human company, all makes a pretty engaging picture, and makes you feel like being part of this expedition, whatever your views about recreational killing of animals might be. I suppose that’s the skill of a great writer, when even things you would prefer not to know anything about draw you in.

  2. I despise this portion of the book! I think this kind of sport is disgusting!

    There’s no need for it – killing animals unnecessarily.

    If I had to hunt my own meat, I’d become a vegetarian.

    Mind you, if a wolf ate one of my kids that would be different – I’d have his tail stuffed and hang it on the wall!


  3. Daniel –

    “O-hoy!” came at that moment, that inimitable huntsman’s call which unites the deepest bass with the shrillest tenor, and round the corner came Daniel the head huntsman and head kennelman, a gray, wrinkled old man with hair cut straight over his forehead, Ukrainian fashion, a long bent whip in his hand, and that look of independence and scorn of everything that is only seen in huntsmen.

    Uvarka –

    “I sent Uvarka at dawn to listen,” his bass boomed out after a minute’s pause.


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