This is a chapter that is quite difficult to know how to take. If you read it back in Tolstoy’s day, how would you react to it? Is it a grand old tale of everybody’s favourite sport, wolf hunting? Or are we meant to feel a sense of horror at this poor old wolf getting savaged by an overwhelming number of dogs for the pleasure of the Russian aristocracy?
I’m not sure. I tend to read it as the latter – especially since Tolstoy, as always trying to make each character as distinct as possible, gives the wolf a personality of its own. So I wasn’t feeling a huge sense of satisfaction at the end of this chapter, but mercifully, they decide not to kill the wolf straight away.
Actually, on the question of the wolf – what sex is it? The only reason I ask is that Garnett describes the wolf as a “he” and Maude describes it as a “she”. Surely, “he” and “she” is not that complex a concept to translate into English, is it?