Reading for Sunday, 12 April
Sorry, I should have known better when I said Tolstoy didn’t criticise too much in the last chapter. He was just holding back for this one.
The strength of the contrast is that he was able to contrast what I’m sure were real historical documents of Napoleon’s with the truth of the matter in these stories. Well, we assume it’s the truth . . . That’s the funny thing, in all of this – Tolstoy sets himself up as the master historian, correcting all errors of history and all errors of the philosophy of history.
But who corrects Tolstoy? Maybe that comes out in some of those academic companion pieces to War and Peace.
It does say one thing, however, about historical fiction – whether it be books or films. The secret is not necessarily how accurate you are – but how believable does it seem. I think all of us could easily imagine the situation in Moscow being as chaotic as this.