This chapter, in some respects, is probably the melodramatic high point of the book.  From this point on, War and Peace never really hits these heights of soap opera drama again.

That’s not to say that Tolstoy is out of ideas, or that the book is boring from here on in – far from it.  But all of these goings on have served a number of purposes.  First, it’s a fascinating development of the characters, and a reminder of how fast the time has gone from Natasha the noisy teenager and Andrei the pessimistic husband through to this current state of affairs.

Secondly, it’s also served to kill the time between 1807, when the Tilsit peace treaty was signed and 1812, which is right around the corner.

So, in effect, as things kind of fall apart here in the idyllic world of Natasha and Andrei, it’s just a metaphor for the general havoc that is going to be wreaked upon Russian civilisation in a very short period of time.

There’s a loss of innocence here that reminds me much of the loss of innocence that is about to come to Russia.

So far, all the affairs and intrigues were happening to other people that we didn’t care about (except maybe Pierre and his unfortunate marriage), but now they come to Natasha who we love (or at least are meant to love – I think she’s meant to be a lovable character).  It’s much more personal.

And so also the wars and battles, which have been fought in countries and with allies that we don’t care about that much – Austrians and Poles – is now coming to Russia itself.

Prepare yourself – the great novelistic shift is coming.


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 8.18 – Aftermath

  1. I had never thought of all this drama with Anatole and the elopement as a sort of metaphor for what lies at the doorstep of Russia, but the parallels are certainly there, now that you point them out, Matt, and it somehow fits in with Tolstoy’s way of showing us that the big picutre is made up of the small picture, and that the life of a nation is made up of the lives of its people.

    I also love the way, into all this high drama, the merry, forever-optimistic count enters, and seems as willing to enter into the deception that all is well as everyone else is to perpetuate it. I think probably all of us know only too well what that can be like – to not see what we don’t want to see. And therein lies another tragic parallel with the bigger picture because, after all, turning a blind eye to the suffering of others is the stuff that wars are made of!

  2. Well, having looked at the film clips at You Tube, I can see that the book starts picking up as far as war scenes are concerned.

    I’m looking forward to that.

    I’ve already read through to Book 10; that’s why I know what you two are talking about here.

    But for right now, I’m working back in Book 1, because of my book discussion.

    The people involved in that one, btw, also want to go ‘one-chapter-a-day’!

    Slow dancers, eh?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s