Reading for Wednesday, 8 April

Now we move from the attack that didn’t happen to the attack where everything went wrong. Craziness abounds in this chapter about the shambolic Russian attempt to fight the French.

You get the feeling of Tolstoy, the amused storyteller, relating one tall tale after another about the war. From the regiment that could have captured Murat but chickened out through to the general who got killed in battle just to prove that he wasn’t a coward, the madness of the whole affair and the incompetence of the generals becomes more and more clear.

But what we haven’t seen yet – is what this is doing on the macro scale. All of these little actions are working towards the larger purpose of defeating the French.

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2 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 13.6 – A Comedy of Errors

  1. You know, Carly, I should tick that little box so I get the emails, too … but then I always kind of like the little moment of suspense as I open Matt’s blog, just to see who, and how many, have commented.

    But, yes, this capter was exactly as Matt describes it – a comedy of errors. But then, really, so has pretty well every description of battles all throughout W&P. I guess that’s a coming together of, on the one hand, Tolstoy’s utter contempt for war and, on the other hand, his staunch drive to debunk all the myths that the war was the controlled and ordered work of the master strategists.

    And yet, in the midst of all this comedy of errors, we are still reminded, every now and then, of just what is at stake here – like, here, in the closing paragraph where Tolstoy tells us, almost in passing, of another mass of deaths … all the more horrific, I feel, in the light of the cahos and pointlessness within which all this is happening.

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