It’s nice to be caught up. (Possibly even a day ahead?)

And now we get in the headspace of Kutuzov, as he really comes into his own. Up until now, everything he’s done has been a bit unorthodox. He hasn’t attacked when others wanted him to. He follows the crowd. He falls asleep in meetings.

In fact, if the Russians had lost, he’d probably be written up as the most useless general in Russian history.

But, of course, that’s not what happened. And we can understand his impatience, knowing that he cannot push the battle, but just wait to see what happens.

My favourite moment in this chapter is when the message is brought to him about the final battle. He then asks to see the original messenger that brought the message.

This is so Tolstoy. Kutuzov, rather than rely on any talk of strategies or positions, wants to read the mood of the messenger, to determine the truth of the affair. This completely fits in with the theories about battles being won based on the mood and optimism of the victorious army, rather than any strategies.

There’s still a bit of cleaning up to do, but we know now, with Kutuzov’s tears, that the French are on their last legs.


3 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace 13.17 – Good News

  1. The advice Kutuzov would give his underlings would be like the advice to new medical doctors: First, Do No Harm.

  2. Well, firstly, Matt, congratulations on catching up. That was a Titanic (Tolstoyan, even!) effort – and, from this end, it’s so nice to be reading a chapter and reading your blog on it on the same day.

    I, too, loved the final lines of this chapter the best – the conversation between these two when, saying so much with so little words – and, like you say, Matt, it’s just so Tolstoy that here the camera hones on on this little conversation, on what Kutuzov, and we, and history, are able to glean from the emotion behind it.

    The final lines, with Kutuzov’s tears and his prayer of thanks for the salvation of Russia, brought to me some more of your relentlessly pursued cold shivers!

  3. Yes, Matt – congrats!

    Now you can say you’re ‘on the same page’ . . .

    Actually, I’m glad you’re here in Book 13, ’cause when I finished up W & P a few weeks ago, I was sorry to see it end.


    And welcome to our wee corner of the world here, silverseason!

    Hope to see more of you.


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