Reading for Sunday, 22 February

Sorry again about the delay.  One of the reasons for that is that I’ve actually been trying to work out exactly what happened in this chapter.  With no suitable footnotes, I’m not really sure what the background story is to the Vereshtchagin incident.

From what I understand, a fake proclamation (was it meant to be from Rastopchin or Napoleon?) appeared around town – probably something about Moscow about to be captured by the French.  Either way, they traced it back to the uneducated Vereshtchagin, who refused to offer any other explanation other than that he made it up.

Either way, I think this chapter is designed to show the madness that is Moscow on the eve of invasion.

One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 11.10 – Rastopchin’s Parlour

  1. The Pevear/Volokhonsky edition doesn’t shed a lot of light on this either, other than a couple of footnotes – one in this chapter to say that Tolstoy’s account of this whole incident is accurate – but nothing further in terms of explaining what the proclamation actually said. I assumed, in reading this chapter, that it pretended to be from Rastopchin. But, as you say, Matt, the main point here is to show us the madness and confusion in Moscow at this time – information, misinformation, all being spread via rumour from one person to another. The chaos that Pierre saw on the field of Borodino he now sees in the house of Count Rastopchin. I suspet that either this fake proclamation was a famous story at the time that Tolstoy didn’t need to explain or, perhaps more likely, he left it delberately confused and ambiguous because that’s exactly how it was for those trying to unravel it in Moscow.

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