Reading for Friday, 5/12/08

And here we see Anatole and Dolokhov and their bungled attempt at abduction and adventure.  The atmosphere is even more crazy in this chapter, with Anatole taking it all deadly seriously, Dolokhov keeping the momentum moving as part of his grand amusement, and all the low-lifes of Moscow on hand to help out.

We can only breathe a sigh of relief that everything fell apart in the end.


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.17 – Treachery

  1. Yes, I guess it’s hardly a surprise that the whole things ends up in such a mess. Still, it’s an exciting chapter and, of course, made a great scene in the film, as I remember.

    I’m not sure if it’s a widely recognised rule of writing, or not, but I love these sorts of decisive, nothing’s-ever-going-to-be-the-same-again episodes, where there has been a pretty lengthy build-up and then the event itself is over in a flash. This whole elopement scene has, of course, been brewing for the past few chapters – and, in away, even before that – and then the whole thing takes only as few lines and it’s over.

    That’s probably how things often happen in life, too, come to think of it – and, at any rate, it can make great art. Wagner was a master of it in his operas – long, long scenes of intense dialogue and monologues as characters ponder their souls and minds from every conceivable angle, preparing for some event which ends up taking a couple of minutes, like this great battle between Siegmund and Hunding at the end of Act Two of Die Walküre, or the drinking of the love potion in Tristan und Isolde. Not sure how Tolstoy would feel about being compared with Wagner (or the other way around for that matter) but I couldn’t help but see the parallel in this chapter.

  2. Oh, boy! You’ll forgive me if I don’t involve myself in the opera discussion . . . I’m not a fan, but I’m glad to see your enjoyment of the art.

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