Caught up!

I’m not sure whether the horrendously hot weather here in Sydney today is what makes these chapters more stifling, but it just feels as if it was a hot, horrible summer day when I read this chapter.

And on that horrible day, Napoleon realises he’s losing.  The brilliance of this chapter, as general after general asks for reinforcements (none of them admitting that they’re losing, just asking for reinforcements) and the growing realisation that Napoleon has that he’s about to lose are brilliantly drawn.

Did Napoleon really feel like this?  I’m not sure.  But it’s fascinating that by the end of the chapter, he hasn’t given any decisive order – in fact, he’s not sure what to do (except that he doesn’t want to sacrifice his Old Guard).

The very fact that there’s nothing for him to say at the end, except to turn his horse away from what he’s saying and ride off, tells you everthing you need to know.


2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 10.34 – The Horror of Inevitable Death

  1. Well, firstly, congratulations on catching up Matt – quite a feat. My own attempts to maintain a blog are much less impressive than yours and in fact I hink I probably should abandon it altogether. It’s kind of easy to just comment on someone else’s thoughts – not so easy to generate them each day yourself. So, well done!

    But, yes, in this chapter we really do get a sense that the tables have turned. Napoleon’s sense of dejection must have, I imagine, been something that Tolstoy revelled in telling us about. Despite all is pacifism andscorn for war, it seems that Tolstoy was still fiercely patriotic.

    I think the scene in this chapter that got to me the most was the one where Tolstoy describes the masses of men and horses lying in pools of blood – and, particularly, the way we learn that neither Napoleon nor his generals had really seen anything like this before. Nor, it seems hd Napoleon even really seen many Russian soldiers. It’s all a fairly chilling reminder, I think, of how removed the people at the helm sometimes are from the real human dimensions of what they are involved in.

  2. Ha! Ha! Know what the temperature is going to be here in Toronto?

    6 celsius! That would be 42 fahrenheit . . . we are getting some rain today – hopefully, that will wash away some of the mounds of snow.

    This is a big increase in temps for us – we’ve been getting 20 degrees below . . . so it’s going to be a ‘balmy’ day for us. There will be wind though – yesterday was about 6 below – so that’s 12 degrees celsius we’re jumping – makes sense – the lake, of course, will be colder than the air – ergo, the wind.

    An e pal of mine in Texas, by the way, is enjoy 70 degrees fahrenheit!

    I’m not sure, but I think Russia gets even colder weather . . . how hot it gets in summer, I don’t know.

    I was surprised to see on the news that England has a lot of snow – global warming, I guess.

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