Reading for Thursday, 5 February

And is there anything more devastating than this chapter here?  Not only is the ammunition blown up, which was the only thing that could have kept the artillery going, the artillery men are all wiped out as well.

I was very much with Pierre by the end of it – “Now they will be horrified at what they have done!” he thinks.  But it isn’t.  The battle (and all wars, really) just keeps on going.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 10.32 – Utterly Destroyed

  1. Yeah – I think if anyone had any doubt about Tolstoy’s view of war, they would only need to read this chapter, where, in such economic images, Tolstoy captures all the fear and craziness of it (as in the scene where Pierre and the Frenchman are choking each other), the vastness of the suffering (in the paragraph describing the crowds of wounded being carried on stretchers) and the relentless futility of it all (in the last two paragraphs, as you point out, Matt). There’s something darkly poetic, I think, about the way Tolstoy describes the sun, veiled in smoke, still high in the sky – as if this, in itself, is an ominous portent not only of what is to come, but of how far there is to go.

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