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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2926698 12/25/19 10:31 AM
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A Merry Tolstoy Christmas to all of you! 🎄

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Extra Christmas cheer for anyone who can guess which of his stories the above painting represents! 😁


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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
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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2926771 12/25/19 03:05 PM
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A Christmas Carol, of course, by Charles Dickens Tolstoy lol.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2929033 01/01/20 02:33 PM
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Hm. I didn't finish laugh So, some highlights from Bk III Part 1, chpts 1 - 11

One of the things Tolstoy said in his opening treatise on how war depends on a million small things happening, not on great men, was that war is "contrary to human reason and to the whole of human nature." Well, perhaps the "reason" part, but I think it is as much a part of human nature as is peace, alas and alack. Altho I have a book on the history of war that traces war as we know it, rather than tribal skirmishes that seem to be so innate to us, to the rise of states - standing armies, or easy conscription, weapons that are used primarily if not exclusively for war rather than as an offshoot of hunting, etc.

Tolstoy is back to being funny here, mocking the diplomatic process, the fact that Napolean is in Vilnoy, exactly where Alexander had left 4 days ago, etc. But it is a sharper, maybe meaner, humor, and when Napolean suddenly dismisses Balashov to send him back to the Russians, it is also suddenly not funny any more.

I found the counterfeit Russian banknotes interesting - used to buy supplies, perhaps to cause inflation, to disrupt the economy - I wonder how much of modern warfare tactics started during the Napoleanic wars.

The description of the unofficial counsel of war at Drissa was more of the same - and Andrei seems to be alone in seeing the real nature of it - all the factions and how useless they were to any real battlefield (again, it's not the plans of great/important men that count, but the regular soldier who shouts "lost", or "hurray") And what a human portrayal of Andrei as he quarrels with his father for the first time, defending Marya, and loses himself in military tasks to distract himself from his grief, and his need to confront Anatole.

I'll just keep plugging along, but try to keep the commentary shorter, but I probably won't join the Anna thread since I have 3 other books to get thru and I'm only a little over half way with W&P. I'll follow the thread, tho!

Happy new year, all.


Cathy
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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: jotur] #2929089 01/01/20 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by jotur
I'll just keep plugging along, but try to keep the commentary shorter, but I probably won't join the Anna thread since I have 3 other books to get thru and I'm only a little over half way with W&P. I'll follow the thread, tho!

Happy new year, all.

Your analysis has been great Cathy! Don't shorten them. I'm getting a lot from your comments smile

Happy New Year!


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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 [Re: jotur] #2929301 01/02/20 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by jotur
Hm. I didn't finish laugh So, some highlights from Bk III Part 1, chpts 1 - 11

One of the things Tolstoy said in his opening treatise on how war depends on a million small things happening, not on great men, was that war is "contrary to human reason and to the whole of human nature." Well, perhaps the "reason" part, but I think it is as much a part of human nature as is peace, alas and alack. Altho I have a book on the history of war that traces war as we know it, rather than tribal skirmishes that seem to be so innate to us, to the rise of states - standing armies, or easy conscription, weapons that are used primarily if not exclusively for war rather than as an offshoot of hunting, etc.

Tolstoy is back to being funny here, mocking the diplomatic process, the fact that Napolean is in Vilnoy, exactly where Alexander had left 4 days ago, etc. But it is a sharper, maybe meaner, humor, and when Napolean suddenly dismisses Balashov to send him back to the Russians, it is also suddenly not funny any more.

I found the counterfeit Russian banknotes interesting - used to buy supplies, perhaps to cause inflation, to disrupt the economy - I wonder how much of modern warfare tactics started during the Napoleanic wars.

The description of the unofficial counsel of war at Drissa was more of the same - and Andrei seems to be alone in seeing the real nature of it - all the factions and how useless they were to any real battlefield (again, it's not the plans of great/important men that count, but the regular soldier who shouts "lost", or "hurray") And what a human portrayal of Andrei as he quarrels with his father for the first time, defending Marya, and loses himself in military tasks to distract himself from his grief, and his need to confront Anatole.

I'll just keep plugging along, but try to keep the commentary shorter, but I probably won't join the Anna thread since I have 3 other books to get thru and I'm only a little over half way with W&P. I'll follow the thread, tho!

Happy new year, all.

Keep going we'll check in!
The theory about how everything, once set in motion, becomes unstoppable was interesting. Probably less so now, due to modern communication, but the point is well taken.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2930285 01/04/20 07:57 PM
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VIII, Pt1 Chpts XII - XXIII

More denial! - The loss at Saltanovo is ignored, in favor of the story of Raevsky taking his sons into battle, like Thermopylae! Which was a massacre! Oh dear. Also, a rumor going around that Smolensk had fallen - prescient, since it would be another month before it actually did. Tolstoy must have been writing "revisionist history" here - that is, not the official version, eh?

The description of Nikolai analyzing the battle as he would the hunt and responding that way was amazing. Traditional societies are often described as that "in tune" with their surroundings, and hunters, like my niece who hunts with a bow and arrow, or my dad and uncles and grandfather shooting pheasants on Thanksgiving day, are still - and I have no doubt that skill followed my dad into WWII, or the gillies from the Scottish estates into WWI. And then Nikolai's revelation that the French were just like him - also afraid, also young, also just following orders of the military - which caused him much disquiet, tho he didn't really know why. I suppose Tolstoy knew what he was setting up when he described the earlier hunt scene - a great literary device.

And the description of Natasha's "disease" was also to the point. I loved it that the doctors and her family were genuinely concerned, but could only do what they knew how to do, and did it sincerely, regardless of whether it, medically speaking, helped or not. But it did - we know placebos work, medically, and certainly the caring wasn't just a placebo. And the growing attraction between Natasha and Pierre, which surprises both of them, and which it is hard for either to acknowledge. The humor is back here, too, and back to being more gentle - Natasha makes up enemies to be able to love and forgive laugh

The tsar's cannon, upon which Petya was deposited by the priest, is still in the Kremlin. Poor Rostov, trying to find a safe place for his second son and the war-is-glory fever that overcomes him frown

Pierre realizes his naivete in thinking that Alexander actually wanted the advice or opinions of the nobleman when all the tsar really wanted was a conscription for a militia from them, and money from the merchants. The conscription part was interesting - I'd looked that up before - but here the pledges for as much as 1000 men, even by Pierre, before the nobility goes back to their clubs, is particularly callous. We own these guys, here, use them as canon fodder smirk

I'm more than half way! laugh

Last edited by jotur; 01/04/20 07:58 PM.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2930545 01/05/20 02:59 PM
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Wonderful observations, Cathy! You would definitely get an A in my class smile
I agree with the others that you should continue posting detailed comments--not only are they very insightful but also you dwell on details which we often don't recall after reading the novel. No matter how many times I've read or taught War and Peace, it's such a rich and dense (and long, of course) work that, naturally, some details and scenes fade in my memory, but your comments bring them back to life, as it were.

Great point about Nikolai relying on his hunting experience for the battle (and, in general, parallels between hunting and war that Tolstoy draws). I just reread that scene in Russian (in ch. XV) and noticed that Tolstoy uses the word "chut'e" to refer to Nikolai's gut feeling of what the right thing to do is in that particular situation. This is the word often used for animals' keen sense of smell, especially for hunting dogs. So, even indirectly Tolstoy points to the hunting analogy (and keeps emphasizing how it's Nikolai instinct that leads him, not some theorizing--which Tolstoy ruthlessly satirizes in his military council scenes). Another great Tolstoyan detail--when Nikolai realizes the humanity of the French, his supposed enemies, it is specifically the dimple on the face of that young and scared French officer that haunts him. Again, Tolstoy makes this "big" point through something very minute and specific, unique to an individual and yet having larger, more universal, ramifications.

Just as military science, the science of medicine is criticized in the description of Natasha's illness. There's also a council, or a "konsilium"--the word Russians use for a fancy medical consultation when several top doctors gather to discuss a patient's condition (we'll see one in Anna Karenina as well); there are also different foreign languages mentioned, just as in military councils. But health, like war, doesn't follow theories and predictable patterns (I think Gary Saul Morson made this point in his book on War and Peace). And yes, Cathy, your point about placebo and the actions of the family is spot on! Tolstoy seems to believe more in psychological treatments of illness (at least this is what he does in his fiction; he probably was less dismissive of scientific medicine in real life as he had a Slovak doctor in his staff during his last years).

Great stuff!

Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2930660 01/05/20 08:21 PM
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Thanks, all. I appreciate the comments. dumka1 - I know what you mean by "dense". I think that's part of what I like. It's those telling little details that I can "hang my hat on" as an old prof of mine used to say - I've learned far more history from books about particular incidents or arenas - Hampton Sides, David McCullough, Ron Chernow's detailed "Hamilton" - than I ever learned from history books in school. I just sort of check out if the camera pan is too broad - I have no focus.

Ah, I hadn't caught the parallel between the course of the progress of war and that of illness. Very interesting.

Your observations about many of the small details fading was right on - I re-read this this thread a week or so ago, and it was all "oh, yeah, I remember that" or "oh, I'd forgotten that", or "oh, I see, that was a precursor to this." No wonder so many of you have read it so many times. There's always more to glean.

Oh, and thanks for the Russian translation that referred to an animal's sense of smell! That's exactly the kind of little detail that would be a perfect analogy but was completely lost in the translation! I am in awe of Tolstoy laugh

Last edited by jotur; 01/05/20 08:25 PM.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2930667 01/05/20 08:46 PM
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I had not noticed the parallel between the war and the hunt. Great observations!


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2930983 01/06/20 05:57 PM
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The use of tropes in War and Peace.

For Cathy's sake, since she hasn't finished, I will hide this one

From All The Tropes: (note: definition of the name of each trope can be found at the site linked to the left)
  • Adorkable: Pierre.
  • Apron Matron: Marya Akhrosimova.
  • Arranged Marriage: The Rostovs attempt to get Nikolai hitched with plenty of other girls, that meddlesome Childhood Marriage Promise to Sonya notwithstanding. Pierre's marriage to Elena Kuragin also counts.
  • Author Avatar: Pierre and Prince Andrei are both avatars of Leo Tolstoy, or are in part based on him.
  • Author Filibuster: The book becomes less fiction as it goes on and more philosophy of history essay.
  • Author Tract: HISTORY, HISTORY, HISTORY!There's an entire second epilogue devoted to tearing down the Great Man of History theory that was in vogue in the 19th century. It comes after all of the plot has been resolved, feel free to skip it considering that Tolstoy is rehashing the exact same argument he made in the book and you've already read one of the longest works of fiction in existence.
  • Badass Bookworm: Pierre, a shy, clumsy, overweight, myopic intellectual, happens to be remarkably strong and also very brave.
  • Battle Royale With Cheese: The action at Schöngraben, the battle of Austerlitz, most played straight with the Battle of Borodino.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Thoroughly averted when it comes to female characters. The beautiful ones are either outright evil (Hélène) or just selfish and shallow, like Vera, Mlle Bourrienne or Sonya.
  • Beta Couple: In the Distant Finale, Nikolai and Marya to Pierre and Natasha.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Pierre. For all his shy and gentle character, he is not above turning into a roaring monster when angered.
  • Bilingual Dialogue: The Russian aristocracy spoke primarily in French, and this is dutifully replicated. There are also snippets of German.
  • Break the Cutie: Anatole likes the women. Poor Natasha...
  • Brotherhood of Funny Hats
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Between Helene and Anatole.
  • The Caretaker: Princess Marya Bolkonsky.
  • Casanova: Anatole Kuragin.
  • The Cassandra
  • Character Filibuster: Plenty of 'em, usually when they're arguing with each other.
  • The Chessmaster: Prince Vassily Kuragin is a sort of social Chessmaster who engineers plots to further or consolidate his station in life. Also, every single general in Kutuzov's staff after the Battle of Borodino fancies himself a Chessmaster.
  • Childhood Marriage Promise: Nikolai and Sonya.
  • Christmas Episode: There is, in fact, a part or several chapters entirely devoted to the Rostovs at Christmastime after Nikolai returns from a tour of duty.
  • Cincinnatus: Field Marshal Kutuzov.
  • The Clan
  • Colonel Badass: Count Dokhturov exemplifies the trope, but any competent field general in the book has traits of Colonel Badass.
  • Contemplate Our Navels: A favorite activity of Pierre's.
  • The Cutie: Natasha Rostov.
  • Deadpan Snarker: The diplomat Bilibin.
  • Death by Childbirth: Lise, Prince Andrei's wife.
  • Delusions of Eloquence: Julie Karagin cannot speak her own language, and Anatole's French is lacking.
  • Desperately Looking for a Purpose In Life: Pierre and Prince Andrei prevalently, everyone else implicitly.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Prince Bagration at Schongraben, despite his army being massacred, has this odd calm to him. Captain Tushin is more Psychopathic Manchild and doesn't seem to realize he should have retreated hours ago.
  • Distant Finale: About eight years after the final events of the main novel.
  • Doorstopper: This is a big book. It clocks in at over 8,000 pages, the versions you'll see in the store have smaller fonts so it can cram more in per page and still be bound in a single volume. To the point that it is often the memetic example for 'longest book'. Often used in Peanuts for example. The audiobook version clocks in at 7 parts of 8+ hours each, for a grand total of roughly 55 hours. By comparison, you can get done with similarly noted doorstopper Moby Dick in under 24. Understandable, since Tolstoy originally planned War and Peace to span 5 books.
  • Dramatis Personae
  • Eccentric Mentor: Platon Karataev.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Dolokhov.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": The Rostov children have an "Uncle." We're never told what side of the family or even if the guy has a name.
  • Everything's Better with Princesses: And Princes. Lots of both.
  • Evil Chancellor: Doubly subverted with Speransky.
  • Fish Out of Water: Pierre, early in the book, in any social scene that doesn't involve heavy drinking and the boys.
  • Foregone Conclusion: We know Napoleon's invasion of Russia fails. And if we didn't, Tolstoy tells us it fails before it happens.
  • Funetik Aksent: Vaska Denisov has a stghrange tic of pghronunciation. Most likely that's a bad attempt of imitating French pronunciation when speaking Russian (very fashionable at the time). Many Russian nobles had a similar accent throughout the XIX century. Even Vladimir Lenin spoke like that.
  • Gambit Pileup: The Author Tract concerns this.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Princess Lisa Bolkonskaya has a small moustache and Tolstoy keeps going on and on about how beautiful it is and how charming it makes her.
  • Goth: Julie Karagin, sort of. While Goth subculture as we know it didn't exist back then, Gothic literature certainly did.
  • Helicopter Mother: Anna Mihkaylovna Drubetskaya. She will do *anything* to pull a string for her son Boris.
  • Hello, Nurse!: Elena Kuragin, or Hélène, is the most beautiful woman on Earth. There's a reason War and Peace doesn't have pictures.
  • Historical Fiction
  • Humphrey: Dolokhov.
  • Impoverished Patrician: The Rostov family slowly descends into this as it attempts to live beyond its means.
  • Inferred Holocaust: While arguing with Pierre, a character who disagrees with him acknowledges that he does have a point, referencing the story of Napoleon's giving aid to the plague-stricken. To those who know what happened in Real Life, however, this line is considerably more ironic and chilling...
  • Karma Houdini: Subverted; Anatole doesn't quite get away with his shenanigans scot-free. Dolokhov, on the other hand, does.
  • Large and In Charge: Subverted with Kutuzov, an old fat man who inspires absolute zilch in his troops.
  • Last-Minute Hookup
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: Something like 580 named characters, serving out their roles throughout the story. Maybe a fifth of those are present in the whole book. Made worse for non-Russian speakers in that each character has loads of nicknames or is referred to by their patronymic. For example, Nikolai Rostov is also Nikolushka, Nikolinka, and Kolya.
  • Lost in Translation: The title. "Mir" means not only peace but also an archaic word for "world" or "land", giving the title a second (and ostensibly the true, from author's POV) meaning, "War and the World".
  • Love Dodecahedron: Natasha is at the center of one involving both Author Avatar characters (Andrei and Pierre).
  • Love Triangle: There's the Pierre/Hélène/Natasha, the Nikolai/Sonya/Marya, and the Natasha/Andrei/Anatole.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Dolokhov.
  • Modern Major-General: Weyrother at Austerlitz.
  • Nerds Are Sexy
  • Nice to the Waiter: Natasha's capricious nature is revealed in the way she constantly asks the hired help to perform pointless menial tasks just because she can. One could say that this foreshadows the whole affair with Anatole...
  • No Ending
  • No Name Given
  • Noodle Incident: Dolokhov at one point has "Persian adventures", but this also applies to the various historical events the characters continuously refer to, events no one who didn't live in the early 1800s or isn't a professor of European history with a specialization on the pre-Industrial Revolution era can remember now.
  • Not Quite Dead: Prince Andrei is left for dead after Austerlitz, but makes quite the recovery after people assume he's dead.
  • The Noun and the Noun
  • Number of the Beast: Napoleon's name, calculated in a certain way, adds up to 666. This is brought up in the book. The real Boney had such an uncanny ability to manipulate people into willingly acting as his catspaws, added to his military genius that one might pardon people at the time for wondering if he really WAS the antichrist. Not to mention the Gigantic Comet that was going across the sky as Napoleon was conquering Europe. People honestly believed that the end of days might be close at hand. Also parodied with Pierre Bezukhov. Pierre wants to believe that he is the Chosen One destined to defeat Napoleon, and tries to write his name in such a way as to get the 666 sum. After several attempts he succeeds... but he cheats by using the wrong French article.
  • The Obi-Wan: Osip Bazdeev.
  • Obi-Wan Moment: Osip Bazdeev goes out relatively quietly in his bed, Platon Karataev goes out shot by the French in an unusual moment of calm for him. Prince Andrei seems to have one relatively early in the book, but it's then subverted by the fact that he doesn't actually die.
  • Officer and a Gentleman: Captain Ramballe of the French invasion.
  • Once More with Endnotes: They would be true Noodle Incidents without these.
  • One Steve Limit: Averted - there are plenty of Nikolais and Timokhins to go around. Usually because the offspring of one set of characters seems to get the names of their still-living grandparents.
  • Patronymic
  • The Philosopher: Pierre, Andrei at moments, Speransky, and it goes on...
  • Proud Warrior Race Guy: Andrei and the entire Russian army.
  • Pretty in Mink: Hey, it's Russia.
  • Psychic Dreams for Everyone: Sonya's vision of Prince Andrei's death, young Nikolai's dream about the Decembrists. Pierre has his share of these, too. Natasha is seriously psychic. Sees auras on people.
  • Punch Clock Villain: Captain Ramballe.
  • Put on a Bus: Happens to everyone besides main characters at one point or another.
  • The Siege: Averted; everyone expects Kutuzov to hold Moscow against a French siege, and he instead abandons the city.
  • Sliding Scale of Gender Inequality: The characters are all realistically written and have depth, but the society the story takes place in makes this squarely level 3.
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism: There's a character for every point on the scale; the book falls into the middle because of this.
  • Smug Snake: The Emperor Napoleon.
  • Stepford Smiler: Countess Rostov. Not at first, but increasingly so later on.
  • The Strategist: Pfuel.
  • Ten Paces and Turn: At least two, the famous one being between Pierre and Dolokhov.
  • This Is My Name on Foreign: How many ways are there to introduce yourself? As many languages as you know, of course!
  • Took a Level In Badass: Happens to different characters, Dolokhov and Nikolai Rostov stand out.
  • Twitchy Eye: A habit of the old Prince Bolkonsky. The other characters aren't sure if it's just him or some sort of mental disease.
  • Unexpected Inheritance: When Old Count Bezukhov dies, everything goes to his bastard[1] son Pierre--the house, the title, the money, everything. His three stepsisters are unpleasantly surprised, to say the least.
  • Unlucky Childhood Friend: Sonya.
  • Upperclass Twit: Ippolit Kuragin didn't get the good looks or manipulative minds of his siblings Anatole and Hélène. He makes up for it by being an idiot.
  • Warrior Poet: Prince Andrei turns into this after Austerlitz.
  • Will They or Won't They?
  • What Beautiful Eyes!: Princess Marya.


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"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 [Re: cmb13] #2931015 01/06/20 06:51 PM
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I laughed.


Cathy
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Perhaps "more music" is always the answer, no matter what the question might be! - Qwerty53
Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2933045 01/12/20 07:05 PM
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Vol III Pt 2 Chpts 1 - 10 Ah, more commentary on both the fruitlessness of anyone at the time thinking they know the consequences of their actions - Napolean thinks going on to Moscow is a great idea and will lead him to conquering Russia, and Russia thinking trying to stop him is a great idea because if he gets to Moscow he will have conquered Russia. Wrong-o, Moosebreath. Going to Moscow gets both sides exactly the opposite! And a commentary on hind-sight - being 20-20 you know - and how historians, too, tell the story by picking only the events that bolster their viewpoint - the only mistakes that are recognized are the ones your opponents took advantage of - their were lots of others along the way. Bagration leaving a vulnerable gap in the lines as the Russians retreat to try block the road to Moscow may illustrate that.

I also thought about Andrei's letter to the family telling them to leave for Moscow. There were no censors of military mail in those days, huh -

I also liked it that Tolstoy divided the world in to two camps, not along good and evil, or smart or dumb, or other, but along those concerned with content and those concerned with form. In St. Petersburg the salons were all, no matter which side politically they were on (or for whatever reason they were on that side) were about form laugh My friends and I were talking about the political extremes we have here in the states and how it seems the folks on both far ends are, in reality, the same folks, just with different political vehicles to rant about. (uh oh, prolly shouldn't bring politics into this, huh - except for me that observation is more about characters and personality traits than politics - it's being on an extreme that is in common). And St. Petersburg is singled out as an example of that - over and against villages, and even Moscow - true Russia?

Then, at Bogucharov the peasants have learned to be independent because they were an outlying estate (and Andrei had freed them, in addition) and they subtly refuse to be ordered around - no horses, no food for themselves, etc. So Alpatych goes for the police, and Marya, both in her ignorance and in her essential goodness, believes them and orders the "master's grain" to be distributed among them - "what's ours is yours". That's after she figures out that the French woman is trying to manipulate her into turning everything over to the French - she fights that, I think, not just as Andrei or her father, but because she has a strength she hasn't yet recognized.

There's, of course, more (: , but that's kind of the highlights of what I read here.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2933055 01/12/20 07:52 PM
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Oh, and the counterfeit money! It's being used to buy off the peasants in the countryside so they won't abandon the farms, etc, but will be on the French side of the war.

And the peasants are being leafleted - propaganda!

Last edited by jotur; 01/12/20 07:53 PM.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2933463 01/13/20 07:19 PM
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Some good points we haven’t discussed, Cathy.

Especially like the ones about how the only mistakes that are recognized are the ones taken advantage of. The others are just unnoticed. And how historians pick only what supports their version. In statistics, for medicine, I have a saying - figures don’t lie, but liars figure.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2933545 01/14/20 01:20 AM
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laugh

Hm. I thought of something else this afternoon that I thought was important, but I can't think of it now. Senior moments abound.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2933675 01/14/20 11:14 AM
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Oh, I remember! Prince Vassily was spouting off about Kutukov at Bucharest, but I read about that, and Kutukov played it right, if the goal was peace with the Turks. But he took a lot of flak for his strategies, and Alexander disliked him. And then, when Andrei reports to Kutukov after he's made commander of the whole army Kutukov explains his thinking - patience and time, and everything will come to you.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2934869 01/16/20 02:05 PM
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Vol III Pt 2 Ch XI - XX

The peasants really are defying Marya, until Nikolai Rostov rides up, assumes they will do as told, and they revert to habit and get the carts ready to go. The peasants aren't just being independent, I think - they've been influenced by the French pamphlets, and they in particular don't want to leave their holdings to certain destruction.

Denisov shows up at Kutuzov's headquarters with a plan, much as Andrei had done in 1805. And it's ignored just as firmly - well, as officially, anyway - he gets an indifferent go-ahead. Kutuzov sticks with his patience-and-time philosophy, and Andrei recognizes it as he (Andrei) goes back to his own regiment, where he feels like he belongs rather than on staff. The partisan actions that Denisov advocates are guerrilla warfare.

It was interesting to read Tolstoy's take on Borodino - it was lost as soon as the line was withdrawn from Shevardino, and the historians have the positions and timing wrong - and compare it with the wikipedia description, tho the wiki descripition did say that much is still debated. But again Tolstoy points out that the battle accounts from the participants are not accurate, but have been boiled down and filtered and altered to suit a variety of purposes, not the least of which is shifting blame laugh

For some reason the scene where Pierre runs into the retreating and wounded Russian army, with the cavalry going the other direction and not realizing they are seeing their future, was very sad. Maybe because Tolstoy set it in a part of the road that was shadowed from the sun and was damp and gloomy.

Onward -

Last edited by jotur; 01/16/20 02:07 PM.

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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2935244 01/17/20 10:15 AM
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Moving along, Cathy, all good observations.

That battle must have been really terrible. War has evolved, and with modern weapons, I wonder whether we'll ever see a battle like that again. Hopefully not.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2935290 01/17/20 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by cmb13
Moving along, Cathy, all good observations.

That battle must have been really terrible. War has evolved, and with modern weapons, I wonder whether we'll ever see a battle like that again. Hopefully not.

Well, during the Napoleonic Wars, the bloodiest single battle was the Battle of Borodino in 1812 with 70,000 dead. But more modern weapons didn't decrease the death tolls in the battles that came later. The 5-month long Battle of Stalingrad in 1942-43 saw 1,250,000 dead, or 18 times the number of casualties.

I think the difference maybe in the case of "all-out warfare" vs "limited warfare". It's been a while since America in particular suffered those levels of casualties because the conflicts America have been embroiled in since WW2 have been instances of limited warfare. Even the entire Vietnam war saw 60,000 American deaths (Korean War saw 37,000 American deaths), much less than happened in single battles in WW2.


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Re: War and Peace - Tolstoy [Re: cmb13] #2935294 01/17/20 11:28 AM
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Yeah, it reminded me some of the battle descriptions of the American civil war (or war between the states depending on your point of view). What was the movie (?) in which technology had evolved so far that each side in a war simply chose, by lottery, which of their soldiers would die and turned them over? Easy-peasy war (barf). But maybe a perverted fulfilment/illustration of just how much all the actions of generals were the results of cumulative happenings, rather than deliberate plans. Nowadays I guess it's mostly, if not all, guerrilla war, but just as deadly to the ones on the ground frown Nonetheless, those battle scenes from wars clear thru WWII are horrendous. I haven't read much about Korea, but Vietnam was well into the guerrilla war, wasn't it?

It seems to me, the more I read, that there has, quite literally, never been a time when there wasn't war going on.


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