Love Peace And War Essay

After Austerlitz and the death of his wife, he feels nothing can save him.One spring, riding in a carriage to the Rostov estate on a business matter, he passes a grove of white birch trees in full leaf.They express two different attitudes toward life: a stern masculine distrust of the world and a child-like, sometimes buffoonish openness to it.

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Those ideas create confusion for some readers—and perhaps did so for Tolstoy himself—but shouldn’t obscure the truths that Tolstoy shares over the course of the story he tells.

We think of as a vast novel, but that’s only in page length—1,358 pages in the Anthony Briggs translation.

It’s a rare year when a bestselling writer doesn’t gripe about Leo Tolstoy’s masterpiece being too bulky or digressive or dull or cerebral or just plain long.

Henry James famously called it a “loose, baggy, monster,” but he also thought its title was .

There’s a third narrative about the Rostov family, a happy, careless pack of aristocrats that includes a young officer, Nikolay, and his lovely, lively, little sister, Natasha.

Over the course of the novel Natasha grows from an eager child of twelve to a serious woman of twenty. The two men define the book so strongly that it’s a surprise to realize afterwards that we see them together only three times. Later between the wars they meet in the country and compare their hopes and disillusion.

In the middle stands an old oak tree that looks dead and broken. At the estate he sees Natasha for the first time, a black-haired, black-eyed sixteen-year-old girl in a yellow print dress running with her friends in a field.

That night he overhears her and her cousin chatting and singing at the window above his window.

You can’t help wondering how much of the book he actually read.

A new BBC adaptation of the novel starring Paul Dano, Lily James, and Gillian Anderson was broadcast in January and February, occasioning new discussions of the book, including some by folks who know it only by hearsay. (The half was back in college: I didn’t finish but it was an intense, memorable encounter.) I last reread it a year ago and made notes.


Comments Love Peace And War Essay

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