Reading for Saturday, June 13

And now we have another (I guess one of the last) domestic scenes as the Rostov family sit around the table talking. Despite my earlier worryings a few months ago about whether Denisov was still alive, there he is – I really did read it fast last time, didn’t I?

I’ve never actually considered whether older people are less interested (or get more confused by) the people we’re talking about – but then again, it is kind of how we treat them, isn’t it? When we’re talking to old relatives or grandparents, we ask them questions about their day, we swap stories about aunties and uncles they used to know. Very rarely do we burden them with the worries and cares that might be facing us today.

So I think there probably is something universal in that thought.

Anyway, all of that was swept aside by the servant, Anna Makarovna, who knows how to knit two stockings simultaneously and then pulls one out of the other . . . a pretty impressive feat.

There’s a tutorial I discovered on how to knit two socks at once, but it doesn’t have the impressive magic trick where one is pulled out of another . . . maybe it could only happen in fiction. But I like to think that Tolstoy knew a magic knitter somewhere who knew how to pull off that trick.

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4 thoughts on “One-Year War and Peace E1.13 – People You’re Interested In

  1. Congratulaions, Matt, on finding the tutorial n how to knit two socks at once. I can’t even knit one, so I have to confess I haven’t even opened the tutorial … but I’m impressed that you found it nonetheless. LIke you, I thought that little vignette was the highlight of the chapter – a little trivial detail about a little trivial character, which only Tolstoy would think worth including. But he’s so right to include it – oneof those little details that he is so famous for, which make his pictures so complete, so universal and yet so unique. I’m reminded here of that quirky old aunt and Anna Scherer soiree at the opening of the book – the old aunt who everyone had to acknowledge, and as the little set of ritualistic questions. Remember her? This little scene kind of does the same thing, I think – draws our attention to the little details which, ater all, is what the whole book has been about anyway.

  2. See there’s another example – I didn’t know you could knit two socks at once. I never was much of a knitter. At one time I took up crocheting and liked it.

    But see how we speak about someone knitting – Ian says he can’t even knit one. And I’m not surprised – I came up in an age where the men did not knit. Most men did not knit.

    Yet in some societies, men knit as a matter of course.

    Why is knitting a woman’s job, a woman’s hobby?

    Why would gardening be a man’s job or a woman’s job?

    Because the men are the hunters and the women are the gatherers?

    Strange how we think of things like that.

    Yes, Ian – I identify with you on that – I can’t knit one sock at once – I’m not good at it. My knitting, I’m afraid, is like rice – it doubles as it boils.

    1. I like the rice analogy Carly!

      I did sort of learn to knit at one stage – it was part of a deal with a friend … I was to teach her how to read music and she was to teach me how to knit. As students and teachers, we both failed miserably!

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