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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2913622 11/18/19 11:25 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I'm nearly finished with the body of the novel. I'm up to the part where Dolokhov and Denisov are chasing the French out of Russia.

Has Petya Rostov joined them yet?

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2913717 11/19/19 09:17 AM
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Yes, I completed his section last night. It reminded me of a passage I read about teenage drivers. It’s stated that their physical maturity far outpaces their reasoning skills. That is why teenage drivers have so many more accidents. It is not that they are less capable of driving, yet they lack the discipline and judgment to do so carefully.

Petya rushes into battle ahead of the cossacks to either prove his bravery or just to see action. There was absolutely no need for him to rush ahead of more experienced fighters into the fray of bullets. Yet he was so excited to see some action that he put himself in harms way unnecessarily.

Tolstoy needed another tragedy, and Petya was a perfect candidate for sacrifice.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2913730 11/19/19 09:47 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Tolstoy needed another tragedy, and Petya was a perfect candidate for sacrifice.

Not only that, but I have the cynical view that Tolstoy actually created Petya in the first place, in order to sacrifice him at the right time. 🤔


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2913760 11/19/19 11:08 AM
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🦹‍♂️ Supervillain Tolstoy


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2913767 11/19/19 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
🦹‍♂️ Supervillain Tolstoy

😒 🤣


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2914214 11/20/19 12:14 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
....Petya rushes into battle ahead of the cossacks to either prove his bravery or just to see action. There was absolutely no need for him to rush ahead of more experienced fighters into the fray of bullets. Yet he was so excited to see some action that he put himself in harms way unnecessarily.....

...and true to his Rostov heritage. grin

Last edited by Stubbie; 11/20/19 12:15 PM.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2915177 11/22/19 07:29 PM
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Take a look at this....it is astonishing! It is a depiction of the size of Napoleon's army during the march towards (in red) and then away from (in black) Moscow. Click link for bigger picture.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2915182 11/22/19 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Take a look at this....it is astonishing! It is a depiction of the numbers in Napoleon's army during the march towards and then away from Moscow.



Thank you. Interesting. I'm still in the third book. Page 767. Pierre is watching the troops and officers pray to the icon of the Smolenskaya Mother in Gorki and just ran into Prince Boris and Kutuzov.



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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2915342 11/23/19 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Take a look at this....it is astonishing! It is a depiction of the size of Napoleon's army during the march towards (in red) and then away from (in black) Moscow. Click link for bigger picture.

[Linked Image]

That's a great picture! I wish I could find a similar one for Operation Barbarossa 22 Jun 1941 - 7 Jan 1942, where the Germans suffered over a million casualties (and the Soviets suffered 4,973,820 casualties beating the invasion back).


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across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2915730 11/24/19 11:20 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Take a look at this....it is astonishing! It is a depiction of the size of Napoleon's army during the march towards (in red) and then away from (in black) Moscow. Click link for bigger picture.

[Linked Image]

Yes, a great graph (or is it a chart?). I show it to my students, very cool... I have some thoughts re Petya's death, will share after I get back.

Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2918658 12/01/19 05:05 PM
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Back from the conference. As promised, here are a couple of comments on the chapters describing Petya's last days.
--You may remember that the night before he is killed, he has this interesting experience of hearing some cosmic music (vol. 4, part 3, ch. X); scholars have argued that this is a pretty accurate description of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Petya is said to be very musical and compared to Natasha; Nikolai, too, as we know, has musical sensitivity (recall him being transported by Natasha's singing after his card loss to Dolokhov). Tolstoy wasn't a Romantic but he continues the Romantic tradition of linking music to intuition, irrationality, prophecy, etc., which is why I think he gives this musical sensibility to the Rostovs.

--Speaking of Dolokhov, he continues to play an almost demonic role in destroying the Rostovs: making Nikolai lose big, helping Anatol' with (nearly) kidnapping and dishonoring Natasha; and now, figuratively killing Petya. Petya is absolutely enamored with Dolokhov's image as a hero and, while trying to emulate and impress him, gallops to his death.

--I find it fascinating how Tolstoy describes Petya's actual death; he uses his technique of defamiliarization again (although in a less extended form than in the opera section). Instead of telling us right away that Petia is mortally wounded, Tolstoy shows us the effect of him being shot but it takes us some time to realize it. He describes it as if Petia is just riding the horse funny, but he’s already dead (or almost dead). Tolstoy even writes, “Petia galloped,” and grammatically it seems that Petia is still alive, still has agency, still galloping, but he’s clearly no longer in control of the horse, it's just his body.

There are more things to talk about, like Petya's friendship with the French drum boy, etc. In general, it seems to me that Petya is reminiscent of the younger Nikolai but he never gets to "grow up." He's one of the more minor but memorable characters, I'd say.

(All of this is not meant to be a lecture but just some thoughts/findings. Feel free to disagree or ignore).

Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
dumka1 #2918674 12/01/19 06:03 PM
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Originally Posted by dumka1
Back from the conference. As promised, here are a couple of comments on the chapters describing Petya's last days.
--You may remember that the night before he is killed, he has this interesting experience of hearing some cosmic music (vol. 4, part 3, ch. X); scholars have argued that this is a pretty accurate description of Beethoven's 9th Symphony. Petya is said to be very musical and compared to Natasha; Nikolai, too, as we know, has musical sensitivity (recall him being transported by Natasha's singing after his card loss to Dolokhov). Tolstoy wasn't a Romantic but he continues the Romantic tradition of linking music to intuition, irrationality, prophecy, etc., which is why I think he gives this musical sensibility to the Rostovs.

--Speaking of Dolokhov, he continues to play an almost demonic role in destroying the Rostovs: making Nikolai lose big, helping Anatol' with (nearly) kidnapping and dishonoring Natasha; and now, figuratively killing Petya. Petya is absolutely enamored with Dolokhov's image as a hero and, while trying to emulate and impress him, gallops to his death.

--I find it fascinating how Tolstoy describes Petya's actual death; he uses his technique of defamiliarization again (although in a less extended form than in the opera section). Instead of telling us right away that Petia is mortally wounded, Tolstoy shows us the effect of him being shot but it takes us some time to realize it. He describes it as if Petia is just riding the horse funny, but he’s already dead (or almost dead). Tolstoy even writes, “Petia galloped,” and grammatically it seems that Petia is still alive, still has agency, still galloping, but he’s clearly no longer in control of the horse, it's just his body.

There are more things to talk about, like Petya's friendship with the French drum boy, etc. In general, it seems to me that Petya is reminiscent of the younger Nikolai but he never gets to "grow up." He's one of the more minor but memorable characters, I'd say.

(All of this is not meant to be a lecture but just some thoughts/findings. Feel free to disagree or ignore).

Wow. This puts Petya's ending and last days into an entirely new light! Thanks!


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2918726 12/01/19 08:41 PM
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Interesting points about Dolokhov. He really is the devil! You're right, he helped lead to Petya's death, but not, apparently, intentionally. Rather, just by carelessly letting him do what he wants, when he was unprepared.

I find that even despite the fact that the novel is very long, some things seemed to occur and wrap up rather quickly. Petya's scene is an example of this. He gave him a chapter or two, very late in the novel, and he came and went....just like that.

I finished the main body of the novel. TS, you mentioned it was unnecessary to read the epilogue, but I think I should to find out more about the future of Natasha and Pierre, and Nikolai and Maria. I just am taking a break for a week or two.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2918784 12/01/19 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
I finished the main body of the novel. TS, you mentioned it was unnecessary to read the epilogue, but I think I should to find out more about the future of Natasha and Pierre, and Nikolai and Maria. I just am taking a break for a week or two.

Actually, I was only talking about Part 2 of the Epilogue. You definitely will want to read Part 1, now that you've come so far! smile


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2919091 12/02/19 03:23 PM
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Yeah, part 2 is completely nonfictional, more of Tolstoy's philosophy: it's all about freedom, determinism, etc. Still interesting to some but not in terms of the actual novelistic plot, characters, etc.

Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2919094 12/02/19 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by cmb13


I find that even despite the fact that the novel is very long, some things seemed to occur and wrap up rather quickly. Petya's scene is an example of this. He gave him a chapter or two, very late in the novel, and he came and went....just like that.


Yes, I agree, there's some unevenness in how characters are portrayed. Some come and go quickly. Some keep appearing (like Dolokhov) but not in an equally important role throughout... Petya does appear in an earlier scene when he is almost killed in a stampede while going to see Alexander I (so, he repeats Nikolay's infatuation with the emperor). I find the whole scene to be almost a parody of a communion ritual--"saintlike" Alexander (the future "Savior of Europe" and the founder of the "Holy Alliance") gives out some cookies, the crowd wants to partake, human sacrifice is necessary, etc.). As if Tolstoy is showing that this passionate patriotism focused on an idealized leader figure necessarily calls for self-sacrifice and loss of human life.

Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
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Wow, there's some interesting stuff to look forward to!

No, I didn't drop off the ends of the earth - just had some contract work and then the Thanksgiving holiday. I didn't catch up to you all tho laugh Just finished Book II Part 2. A couple of thoughts:

Pierre visiting Andrei at his new estate - Andrei's outlook spoke to me, and I found myself thinking "Andrei's cultivating his garden." And then Tolstoy put exactly those words in Andrei's mouth. Was Tolstoy noting Voltaire's Candide, or was it an artifact of translation?

Andre, Pierre, and Nikolai are all having new thoughts of their place in the universe - Andre's of the underlying place of all things, Pierre finally beginning to understanding family, and Nikolai, as always, sort of bringing up the rear - feeling like his regiment is family, where he can safely just follow directions laugh At least he's thinking of paying back his parents for his loss to Dolohkov. And he saved the old man, the woman, and the baby.

The depiction of the army's condition in the field is relentlessly truthful, again. And the whole episode of Dennisov taking the supply-train provisions for his starving regiment (and the reappearance of The Thief) and being under court martial for it is a catch-22 kind of depiction. Amazingly Nikolai resolves his cognitive dissonance by a reinvirogated faith in the emperor. Sheesh.

And what a sweet moment for Boris when he finds that Nikolai has to come to him for a favor - I'm sure he was quite aware that nothing would be done, and sort of self-satisfied with that. His mother would have approved.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2922198 12/12/19 11:06 AM
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Great thoughts, Cathy! I have to admit I cannot quote Voltaire right off. I think the characters are becoming clearer as you read more; their personalities, thoughts and ways are becoming cemented. The most interesting going forward, to me, will be Andre, as he undergoes multiple transformations in the coming chapters and books. His personality and values remain true, yet his experiences lead him in one direction or another.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
cmb13 #2922891 12/14/19 03:41 PM
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I just finished the novel. I will look at the Epilogue later. I am a little disappointed in the ending, or lack thereof. However, I am glad I have read this great novel. Thank you for introducing me to it. Okay, now on to "Anna Karenina." Or "The Count of Monte Cristo?"



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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy
ˆTomLCˆ #2922914 12/14/19 04:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TomLC
I just finished the novel. I will look at the Epilogue later. I am a little disappointed in the ending, or lack thereof. However, I am glad I have read this great novel. Thank you for introducing me to it. Okay, now on to "Anna Karenina." Or "The Count of Monte Cristo?"

Anna Karenina!


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"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
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