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

Tolstoy was born into the Russian aristocracy and thus had the benefit of paid tuition as a young man. He was interested in languages and so, given the opportunity to learn them, he did. In fact he ...
Matt Thrower's user avatar
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12 votes

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

In his critique of Shakespeare, Tolstoy wrote: For a long time I could not believe in myself, and during fifty years, in order to test myself, I several times recommenced reading Shakespeare in every ...
Alex's user avatar
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10 votes
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Is this mistake in Tolstoy's original, or just this translation?

It is indeed end of November in the actual Russian text and all my research so far shows that this is a genuine author's mistake. "Он исписал альбомы девочек стихами и нотами и, не простившись ни с ...
tum_'s user avatar
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8 votes
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Why did the doctor give Count Bezukhov cream of tartar?

Notably this isn't the Count's first stroke. It is, in fact his sixth. Doctors have known for centuries that victims of stroke can become constipated and suffer from fecal impaction as a result of ...
Valorum's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why did Russian corpses rot in "War and Peace", but not French?

These uneducated soldiers ascribe supernatural unhuman qualities to the invaders. A little further they suspect that the French military commander Napoleon possesses shape-shifting and undead ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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7 votes
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How do Pierre and Natasha "lie to each other" in 'War and Peace'?

They really don’t. 1. The lie in question. Beauvoir didn’t provide insight of her own here, it’s a paraphrase of certain arguments from Fantasia of the Unconscious by D. H. Lawrence: Better Anna ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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7 votes
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Why does Pierre think a priest giving a deserter the cross to kiss is hypocrisy?

To begin with, Pierre is describing a particularly brutal method of execution. Being "knouted to death" means being whipped until your body literally cannot take any more. Hanging would be ...
MJ713's user avatar
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6 votes
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What was the original meaning of "rolling their eyes"?

Seems to be a mistranslation. Rolling one’s eyes is a gesture “used to disagree or dismiss or express contempt”. The Russian phrase for it is «закатывая глаза». The novel says «выкатывая глаза» (...
b4rtr's user avatar
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5 votes

Why is War and Peace not considered an epic?

The obvious reason why War and Peace is usually described as a novel and not as an epic is that verse is one of the defining characteristics of the epic. Applying the descriptor "epic" to ...
Tsundoku's user avatar
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5 votes
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What does "gentleman of the bedchamber" mean in "War and Peace"?

Original text is: Пьер был у него под рукою в Москве, и князь Василий устроил для него назначение в камер-юнкеры, что тогда равнялось чину статского советника, и настоял на том, чтобы молодой человек ...
DVK's user avatar
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5 votes

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

While I didn’t find an explicit explanation in the book, it’s possible to speculate about it. The simplest solution is as follows. Vasily Denisov has a clear historical prototype: Denis Vasilyevich ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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4 votes

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

War and Peace is classified as a Novel of Ideas, which are sometimes labeled as Philosophical Novels. Other examples are Voltaire's Candide, and all novels by Goethe and by J.-J. Rousseau. Of course, ...
Philly's user avatar
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3 votes
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War and Peace: Russian troop movements in part 2, chapters 7 and 8

My understanding of the events. Nesvitski is sent with the order to “tell the hussars that they are to cross last and to fire the bridge […]; and the inflammable material on the bridge must be ...
b4rtr's user avatar
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3 votes

Why did Pierre want to assassinate Napoleon?

Он должен был, скрывая свое имя, остаться в Москве, встретить Наполеона и убить его с тем, чтобы или погибнуть, или прекратить несчастье всей Европы, происходившее, по мнению Пьера, от одного ...
DVK's user avatar
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2 votes
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Description of a character in 'War and peace'

Apraskin is an old Russian noble family. They are not the only real nobles portrayed in the novel, but I couldn't find exactly whom of the Apraskins Tolstoy had in mind. My guess would be Ekaterina ...
DrTyrsa's user avatar
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2 votes

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

TL;DR: It suited Tolstoy’s theory of history to portray the abandonment of Moscow as inevitable. Tolstoy’s theory of history Tolstoy portrays the decision-making after Borodino in the first four ...
Gareth Rees's user avatar
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1 vote

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

Of course, We will take it at once and show it to the count. is a pretext to save the face, and cannot be taken seriously. The Count is in the last moments of his life, doesn't recognize anybody. ...
Рябчиков-Жуй's user avatar

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