Reading for Saturday 29 November

This chapter would be rather amusing if it wasn’t for the dire consequences we can see it’s going to have.  Tolstoy gives us a bit of background on what Anatole Kuragin has been up to since we last met him.  (Not much good, by the sounds of it.)

Oddly enough, while this chapter has Dolokhov in it, it never refers to the time when Dolokhov tried to woo Sonya.  But I can’t help thinking that that would have been in the back of Dolokhov’s mind when he sees his friend keen on Natasha.  By manipulating Anatole, he gets a double chance to have a shot back at the Rostovs (after the spectacular card game where he fleeced Nikolai, for those who can remember back that far).

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.11 – An Anatomy of Anatole

  1. Actually, I think in this chapter we get a bit more of a sympathetic insight into Anatole, where he is painted more as someone who is naively self-indulgent rather than arrogantly, or vainly so. Still a ratbag, admittedly – but maybe not quite as aware of how much of a ratbag he is, as we originally thought. I think it was probably necessary to do this at least to some extent, if only to make Natasha’s falling for him a little more credible, a little more understandable. Or maybe it’s just part of the way Tolstoy seems to paint all of his characters with enough real humanity, so that none of them seem totally irredeemable and “bad”.

    But, of course, now that we have the news that he is already married, we can’t help but feel that that slow motion train wreck that you spoke about the other day, Matt, is getting ominously close.

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