Reading for Wednesday 19/11/08

Book 8 is out to drag us down even further, if possible, than the ending of Book 7.  We start with Pierre – I’m in a rush to go off to a concert, so I don’t have time to go into all the details – but look at him.  He’s become the very mindless aristocrat that he was so looking to avoid.

He’d be the type of person that he wouldn’t fit in with normally, and that Andrei couldn’t stand.

His faith in freemasonry has fallen through.  But underneath, haunting him, is the question that it must all mean something.  Not having found his answer in faith, he’s headed for the option that most other people opt for – fill your life with so much fun that you won’t have time to think.

This works for some of us – but there are many of us who just don’t stop thinking, do we?

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6 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.1 – Pierre’s Backsliding

  1. Yes, this certainly is another great bout of Russian angst here, with Pierre pondering the imponderables. I guess it was inevitable that Pierre would end up in such a place – his conversion to Masonry did seem to be, after all, more of a neatly packaged set of answers at a time when he needed some meaning and some purpose.

    I just love the description of Moscow as “comfortable, warm, habitual and dirty, like an old dressing gown”. It immediately conjures up for me exactly what Moscow must mean to Pierre.

    It’s also interesting, I think, that Pierre is so much more at home here in this ragged Russian world of Moscow than in the more refined, European, world of St Petersburg. I suspect that this, too, reflects Tolstoy’s own sentiments about the divided paths along which Russia was travelling in those days – one deeper and deeper into the heart of Mother Russia, the other out into the glamour and new world culture of Europe.

    So what and how was the concert, Matt? I saw a wonderful performance last night of Gorky’s play “The Lower Depths” – long, unrelentingly bleak and depressing, very Russian!! It was wonderful. And Saturday night I’m seeing Opera Australia’s production of Verdi’s “Otello” – so an unsually busy week of culture for me!

  2. And he’s often getting under the affluence of inkahol again.

    He was doing so well.

    What’s he gonna’ do with all that money?

    Save the Rostov’s?

    (I just love the way he sits down and digs right into the food! Ha ha!)

  3. Hi Ian,

    The concert was a performance of Hespèrion XXI, who specialise in early music and music of other cultures.

    It was less early music and more a mixture of different cultures, but it was an awesome show to watch. They had six musicians playing all sorts of strange instruments (from the viola da gamba to the theorbo to the oud) and the audience wasn’t bored for a single second.

    I can’t remember if they’ve already toured Melbourne or not . . .

    Or maybe that’s next week.

  4. The character count?

    Deserter –

    We all profess the Christian law of forgiveness of injuries and love of our neighbors, the law in honor of which we have built in Moscow forty times forty churches- but yesterday a deserter was knouted to death and a minister of that same law of love and forgiveness, a priest, gave the soldier a cross to kiss before his execution.”

    …………………………………………………………

    Nikolaevich – Apollon Nikolaevich

    “What for? Why? What is going on in the world?” he would ask himself in perplexity several times a day, involuntarily beginning to reflect anew on the meaning of the phenomena of life; but knowing by experience that there were no answers to these questions he made haste to turn away from them, and took up a book, or hurried of to the Club or to Apollon Nikolaevich’s, to exchange the gossip of the town.

    OK . . . I’m supposing he’s a ‘person’ . . . that this para refers to a ‘club’ that’s owned by him, or after him.

    Let’s have a google . . .

    The only thing I’m seeing is an ‘artist’ by that name . . .

    http://www.google.ca/search?hl=en&q=Apollon+Nikolaevich&btnG=Google+Search&meta=

    ………………………………………………..

    Priest –

    We all profess the Christian law of forgiveness of injuries and love of our neighbors, the law in honor of which we have built in Moscow forty times forty churches- but yesterday a deserter was knouted to death and a minister of that same law of love and forgiveness, a priest, gave the soldier a cross to kiss before his execution.”

    Brings us to a grand total of 629, folks!

  5. I, btw, have been avidly keeping a character list these past few days . . . I’ve been working in the previous chapters and adding the places to another list at my WC threads.

    It’s not official, so I’m not going to ‘count’ it as I go along – not yet.

    Places . . .

    Astraea Lodge –

    My brother Masons swear by the blood that they are ready to sacrifice everything for their neighbor, but they do not give a ruble each to the collections for the poor, and they intrigue, the Astraea Lodge against the Manna Seekers, and fuss about an authentic Scotch carpet and a charter that nobody needs, and the meaning of which the very man who wrote it does not understand.

    http://books.google.ca/books?id=lU5e-E6wBeEC&pg=PA110&lpg=PA110&dq=Astraea+Lodge&source=web&ots=v19xtgHDy8&sig=ZU2WBD_KIXfSrSP0dBWT8rHRmno&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=10&ct=result

    Iberian Shrine –

    In Moscow as soon as he entered his huge house in which the faded and fading princesses still lived, with its enormous retinue; as soon as, driving through the town, he saw the Iberian shrine with innumerable tapers burning before the golden covers of the icons, the Kremlin Square with its snow undisturbed by vehicles, the sleigh drivers and hovels of the Sivtsev Vrazhok, those old Moscovites who desired nothing, hurried nowhere, and were ending their days leisurely; when he saw those old Moscow ladies, the Moscow balls, and the English Club, he felt himself at home in a quiet haven.

    This is all I can find on this . . . I expect this means the same thing – the gate, the chapel;

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iberian_Gate_and_Chapel
    ………………………………..

    Kremlin Square –

    In Moscow as soon as he entered his huge house in which the faded and fading princesses still lived, with its enormous retinue; as soon as, driving through the town, he saw the Iberian shrine with innumerable tapers burning before the golden covers of the icons, the Kremlin Square with its snow undisturbed by vehicles, the sleigh drivers and hovels of the Sivtsev Vrazhok, those old Moscovites who desired nothing, hurried nowhere, and were ending their days leisurely; when he saw those old Moscow ladies, the Moscow balls, and the English Club, he felt himself at home in a quiet haven.

    http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/545

    (There’s also ‘animals’ and ‘french words and phrases’)

    Yeah, I know – I’m one of those obnoxious overachievers!

  6. Matt . . . I gotta’ call ‘Uncle’ – do you know a simple way of getting the picture up on the top of the blog page?

    I’ve selected a moon scene to put up on my blog for now – I’m gonna’ change it to a snow scene later – but I just can’t figure it out.

    (I know I said I was gonna’ figure this out all by myself – I’m determined this is one thing I’m not gonna’ ask the Huz to do for me.)

    Gimme a shout on the e mail if you have any tips on this.

    Thanks in advance.

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