Actually, rather a bizarre piece of espionage. Nothing in this chapter goes quite the way you expect it.

Dolohov and Petya run into the French, and for the most of the chapter you feel like Dolohov will get caught. Everything he does has an air of obvious fakery about it.

And yet he does not. Is Tolstoy saying something about the French? Or is this chapter just meant to be another example of Dolohov’s extraordinary ability to come out on top in any situation?

I’m not really sure . . . and the kiss at the end is equally ambiguous. Hero worship? A Russian thing? Or a hint of homosexuality?

Who knows? But we now know the layout of the French, and we’re all set for the attack tomorrow.

One thought on “One-Year War and Peace 14.9 – A Bit of Espionage

  1. I very much suspect that the kiss at the end is simply hero worship … I think if Tolstoy really was intending to inject a hint of homosexuality here, he would have done it in a rather more subtle way … this over-the-top adulation that comes from Petya is, I think, just part of his boyish impetuosity and, of course, hero worship is very much a part of that too. He is just over-the-moon with excitement about everything he sees; and everything he sees seems to him to be a hundred thousand times more impressive than he imagined it (or than he thinks he imagined it) to be. In some ways, I guess, Petya is the reappearance on the war fields of his sister Natasha in the ballroom – trying to effect a certain pretence of familiarity with it all, and yet really seeing everyone and everything as simply wonderful beyond imagining, and almost unbearably eager to become a part of it. And, of course, it remains to be seen if Petya will meet his destiny here as his sister did there…!

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