Reading for Tuesday, 17 February

And here we zoom out again for the big picture of everybody leaving Moscow.  In probably the first time that Tolstoy has taken his philosophy from out of the battlefield context, he shows us that the leaving of Moscow by everyone was inevitable as well (despite what the single individual, Rastopchin, would try to do to the contrary).

One person started leaving, somebody else did as well, and the fervour spread to the crowd.  And it was that crowd that was going to determine what happened, not what Rastopchin did.

Granted, it does all sound a bit crazy, and things have certainly escalated from the time when everyone was doing their best to think about anything besides the impending invasion.

And certainly, there’s nothing more diverting from the invasion than the events of the next chapter . . .

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 11.5 – Leaving Moscow

  1. I suspect that the abandonment of Moscow, and its subsequent burning, must be an event that is (or at least was in Tolstoy’s time) very much etched into the Russian collective memory. It must have been a massive evet in Russia’s history, and I think in this chapter here even we, so far away frm it in both time and distance, get a real sense of its significance – and, in an almost incomprehensible way, we can feel the sense of shared and national pride that the people of Moscow expressed in this. Even though this was another fairly didactic chapter, I found it to be immensely powerful, moving writing.

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