Reading for Tuesday, 17 March

Here’s an ironic juxtaposition – Pierre starts out on his way to take Napoleon’s life, but gets distracted by a mission to save the life of a three-year-old.

We know the former plan would never have worked but it’s nice to see Pierre going after a more worthy goal. (Though Tolstoy, never one to get too cliched, makes the child out to be a little terror, once Pierre does find her.)

2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 11.33 – Taking Life and Saving It

  1. Yes, Tolstoy is certainly one for the jarring juxtapositions, isn’t he? I guess that’s another way in which he so resembles Mahler. After all the introspection and uiet bauty of the previous chapter, here everything is chaos, loud, full of fear and fire. Even when I read ths chapter the first time I had, by that stage, already seen the Bondarchuk film and so couldn’t help but be reminded of how dramatically and convincingly this scene was done in the film. And it’s another one of those scene which, being so well written and so graphically described, I am left wondering how Tolstoy could possibly have known what being in the midst of a burning city was like. Of course, the sense of chaos and exhileration and fear that Tolstoy evokes so well here might, in fact, be nothing what it’s really like to be in the midle of a fire – but, as alwayus when Tolstoy describes something to us, we are left (or at least I am) with that unshakeable feeling “Yes, that’s what it must be like …”

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