Reading for Monday, 16 March
This chapter is really just an elaboration on the last sentence of the previous chapter. I was struck, in reading it, by all Andrei’s thoughts of a divine love above all others.
That concept comes up a fair bit in 19th century books and music. I especially think of the last movement of the Mahler’s Third Symphony, which is a 25-minute picture of divine love. But it’s not romantic love, like we think of it. It’s a majestic, huge thing – really it’s another way for the Romantic artists to describe God.
What’s interesting is how that concept (and thus the music and words to describe it) seems to be so achingly missing from 20th and 21st century music and literature.
With the “death of God” in the latter half of the 19th century, there went the music that described him and with two world wars, it seems that we humans are much more skeptical about the idea of humans loving one another as well.
But in Tolstoy’s world, it’s the middle of an invasion, a man is dying, and a divine love conquers all. Or at least between Andrei and Natasha, and that’s all that matters for the moment . . .