Reading for Friday, 30 January
From the despairing thought-world of Andrei, we now turn to the somewhat amusing headquarters of Napoleon. A world where everyone bows and scrapes (as only the French can do) as they try to keep the boss happy.
It’s all a bit ridiculous, really, what with the portrait and Napoleon’s taking Beausset out to see Moscow “because he loves travel”. I wonder how much of this is true (I know Tolstoy would have done his research pretty well), because it rings like the kind of anecdote that would never have been written in any historical document, but passed on to Tolstoy by some 75-year-old Frenchman who witnessed the incident and happily told the tale.
Is there an annotated War and Peace out there that explains all these allusions and stories? I should investigate . . . but not tonight . . . I’m going to go to bed.