Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Vol IV, Part Three, Ch XII- XIX

Wrapping up the war. Dreadful details, e.g. p. 1061

On all sides lay the flesh of various animals, from men to horses, in various stages of decay. The walking men kept the wolves from coming near, so that Gray [a friendly dog] could eat as much as he liked.

Most of this is from Pierre's point of view. He's achieved a spiritual understanding. Much of this seems hurried, vague, yet here and there Tolstoy serves up some exquisite detail, e.g. p. 1064, right after Pierre hears the French soldiers execute his dear friend:

Pierre looked at the soldier and remembered how, twodays before, this soldier had burned his shirt while drying it over the campfire, and how everybody had laughed at him.

The strange power of that one, peculiar detail is stunning.

We see that intriguing movie star of a minor character, Dolokhov, yet again, p. 1066:

Dolokhov stood by the gates of a ruined house, letting a crowd of disarmed French soldiers go past him. The French. . . talked loudly among themselves; but as they went past Dolokhov, who tapped himself lightly on the boots with a whip and looked at them with his cold, glassy gaze, which promised nothing good, the talk ceased.

The last chapters, XVI- XIX it's pretty much Herr Professor Tolstoy bashing away at his theories. Not that I don't buy them; but this is all to the detriment of the novel-- and, dagnabbit, War and Peace wants to be a novel. Say I.

No comments:

Post a Comment