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Questions tagged [war-and-peace]

For questions concerning the novel War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Use with the [leo-tolstoy] and [russian-literature] tags.

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3 votes
1 answer
126 views

War and Peace: Vassily Kuragin's plot to remove Pierre from the will

My question concerns Vassily Kuragin's plot to remove Pierre from the Old Count Bezukhov's will. I'm using the Rosemary Edmonds translation. The primary chapters are 18, 20, and 21 in part 1 of book 1....
6 votes
1 answer
485 views

How did Denisov reappear in Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace?

In 1807 Major Denisov got court-martialed for stealing food, threatening and insulting chief quartermaster, and thrashing two officials even dislocating the arm of one of them. All of this happens ...
3 votes
1 answer
154 views

Why does Pierre think a priest giving a deserter the cross to kiss is hypocrisy?

In book 2 part 5 chapter 1, Pierre laments the failure of the masons mission. He says "We all profess the Christian law of forgiveness ... but yesterday a deserter was knouted to death and a ...
3 votes
1 answer
236 views

What was the original meaning of "rolling their eyes"?

While reading War and Peace translators use variants of the phrase "rolling their eyes" in odd places. For example, one character is described as "rolling their eyes in terror". ...
5 votes
1 answer
162 views

War and Peace: Russian troop movements in part 2, chapters 7 and 8

I was reading War and Peace and became a bit confused about troop movements during the Kutuzov's fallback to Vienna. I wanted to check my understanding and hopefully resolve some contradictions I see. ...
5 votes
2 answers
686 views

Why is War and Peace not considered an epic?

The plot of War and Peace involves more than 500 characters. More than 200 of them are real historical figures put to life on the pages of Tolstoy’s novel. The novel is set 60 years before Tolstoy's ...
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

How did Leo Tolstoy approve Maude's English translation of War and Peace? Did he speak good English already?

It is widely known that Maude's English translation of War and Peace was approved by Tolstoy himself. How did Tolstoy approve it, and did he know and speak English?
7 votes
1 answer
336 views

Why did Russian corpses rot in "War and Peace", but not French?

I am not sure if I understand this clearly but why? "Must be the grub" and what's the grub? Part IV, chapter 8, from the 2009 Penguin translation by Anthony Briggs: I’ll tell you one thing, ...
6 votes
1 answer
689 views

What does "gentleman of the bedchamber" mean in "War and Peace"?

Could anyone explain what it really means in War and Peace? Is it a position in the govenment? Part III, ch 1 With Pierre at hand in Moscow, Prince Vasily secured him an appointment as gentleman of ...
1 vote
1 answer
645 views

Why did Pierre want to assassinate Napoleon?

Pierre’s friend Andrei was shown to have great respect for Napoleon, as his view on historic events being the will of a few important people is embodied best by Napoleon. While lying wounded on the ...
7 votes
1 answer
263 views

How do Pierre and Natasha "lie to each other" in 'War and Peace'?

Simone de Beauvoir writes in The Second Sex (emphasis mine) Lawrence adds that to merit this devotion, man must be authentically invested with a higher purpose; if his project is but a sham, the ...
10 votes
1 answer
426 views

Is this mistake in Tolstoy's original, or just this translation?

I am reading the Vintage edition of War & Peace with the translation by Pevear & Volokhonsky. In Volume II, part I, chapter 11, the farewell dinner for Nikolai at the Rostov's is held on "the ...
11 votes
2 answers
414 views

What is the relevance of the essays in Tolstoy's 'War and Peace'?

War and Peace is regularly interspersed with essays -- something that I have not seen anywhere else in literature. How significant are these essays? They obviously help in exploring the themes and ...
4 votes
1 answer
589 views

In War and Peace, why do all the generals and Kutuzov consider it "impossible" to defend Moscow?

After the battle of Borodino, in which the Russians apparently did well, why did the French simply advance to Moscow and why was it considered inevitable that Moscow would be abandoned and the army ...
5 votes
0 answers
83 views

Does Countess Natalia Rostova let Prince Andrei die so Nikolai could inherit all of Marya's wealth?

Natasha's mother, Countess Natalia Rostova, seems to dislike her daughter's affections for Prince Andrei when they meet again at his (eventual) deathbed. At this point in the story, she's also been ...
4 votes
1 answer
567 views

Description of a character in 'War and peace'

In the book 'War and peace ' , the characters seem to mention the name of a person ' countess Apraksina ' with a tone of respect and concern in chapter 10. This character 'countess Apraksina' is not ...
12 votes
1 answer
430 views

Why did the doctor give Count Bezukhov cream of tartar?

In War and Peace, Count Bezukhov's doctors gave him Cream of Tartar after his stroke. What purpose did that serve? I haven't been able to find anything about medical benefits of cream of tartar that ...