Well, here we go.  In true epic novel style, the wheels have completely turned, and Prince Bolkonsky, once a total hermit and completely unpopular – is now the place to be seen in Moscow.

This chapter points out again the total hypocrisy of the upper class.  It must be clear to everyone that the old man is off his rocker and most unpleasant – witness the story about the French doctor.  But because of the growing anti-French sentiment, he’s all of a sudden become very popular . . .

The fact that Boris is there – and Boris only follows power, if you remember – is a sure sign.  If we remember, the last time Boris was at a dinner party was when he was dining with French soldiers following the peace treaty at Tilsit . . .

There’s not really anything particularly uplifting about this chapter, and believe you me, times of change and trouble are just beginning for our Russian friends.

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4 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.3 – Times of Change

  1. Yes, I agree Matt – it’s not an uplifting chapter,and really no one appears in a very flattering light here. But I do like the way Tolstoy uses this dinner party of dreary, puffed-up people, self-important people (except for Pierre, of course – we like him!!) as a way of also giving us some insight into the changing political situation in Russia and, partcularly, in the growing tensions not only with Bonaparte, but also between the Europeanised Russia and the East-looking Russia of Moscow.

    And Hesperion XXI certainly sounds like it would have been a night to remember. I have never seen them perform, but their recordings are always terrific – fascinating music, always performed with such vigour. Great stuff.

  2. I have to agree . . . ‘we’ do like Pierre. And I now include myself in that statement. I didn’t care for the character in the beginning of the book, but I’ve grown to like him. Andrei, as well.

    Can you imagine having to live with his father? I’m surprised somebody didn’t put a spot of something in his tea . . . yeah, like ‘murder’ . . . ‘zactly! Tolstoy’s too kind to him, methinks.

    A character count . . .

    Chatrov – General Chatrov –

    These guests- the famous Count Rostopchin, Prince Lopukhin with his nephew, General Chatrov an old war comrade of the prince’s, and of the younger generation Pierre and Boris Drubetskoy- awaited the prince in the drawing room.

    Lopukhin – Prince Lopukhin –

    These guests- the famous Count Rostopchin, Prince Lopukhin with his nephew, General Chatrov an old war comrade of the prince’s, and of the younger generation Pierre and Boris Drubetskoy- awaited the prince in the drawing room.

    Metivier – Doctor Metivier –

    In 1811 there was living in Moscow a French doctor- Metivier- who had rapidly become the fashion. He was enormously tall, handsome, amiable as Frenchmen are, and was, as all Moscow said, an extraordinarily clever doctor. He was received in the best houses not merely as a doctor, but as an equal.

    Oldenburg – Duke of Oldenburg

    At dinner the talk turned on the latest political news: Napoleon’s seizure of the Duke of Oldenburg’s territory, and the Russian Note, hostile to Napoleon, which had been sent to all the European courts.

    Oldenburg – Duchy of Oldenberg –

    “Other territories have been offered in exchange for the Duchy of Oldenburg,” said Prince Bolkonski. “He shifts the Dukes about as I might move my serfs from Bald Hills to Bogucharovo or my Ryazan estates.”

    Pope –

    Now the Pope’s turn has come and Bonaparte doesn’t scruple to depose the head of the Catholic Church- yet all keep silent!

    Rostopchin – Count Rostopchin –

    These guests- the famous Count Rostopchin, Prince Lopukhin with his nephew, General Chatrov an old war comrade of the prince’s, and of the younger generation Pierre and Boris Drubetskoy- awaited the prince in the drawing room.

    That gives us a count of 637.

  3. Another addition to the lovely phrases du Francais . . .

    Metivier, who came in the morning with his felicitations, considered it proper in his quality of doctor de forcer la consigne,
    * as he told Princess Mary, and went in to see the prince.

    * To force the guard.

    If I really want to apply myself, I might find some new ‘places’ to add to that ‘count’, but I’ll do that at a later time.

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