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War and Peace
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Archived 2015 Group Reads > War and peace, Week 15

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Zulfiya (ztrotter) This is the thread to discuss the following parts - p5.1-p5.11 as it is indicated in our schedule.

So what do you think about Russian aristocracy? Does it resemble any other aristocracy at the most turbulent times - a number of military campaigns often interfere with the marital bliss for many of our characters?

Who is the most favorite character so far?

Who is the most memorable cameo character?

Is Tolstoy critical in his portrayal of Russian upper crust?

SusanK Yes, it occurred to me that the title can be taken another way. On the surface, it's the Napoleonic Wars compared to the home front at peace. But, what a domestic battlefield! There's skirmishes, sniping, spying, subterfuge, deceit, betrayal, gambles, strategic maneuvers, incompetence, and gunfire, for starters. Several characters find it more peaceful at the front. And while I might cast Prince Vasili as Napoleon, there is also an argument for Helene, beautiful and dangerous.

SusanK Both here and in Anna Karenina, I never feel as if Tolstoy dislikes the aristocracy as an institution. He seems to genuinely like certain members. He seems to accept them as part of life, but sees them very clearly with all their individual virtues and flaws.

I would not be surprised to learn that he did not like the Czarist model of government and I think he did not like the oppression of serfs in service of aristocrats' estates. He did not live to see the revolution, but maybe he would have felt sorry for the nobles that lost everything and could not adapt to the new order.

I think I have to read a Tolstoy biography next....

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) I'm afraid yet again I am lost as to which section this is. In Maude this part appears to be Book 8, titled Pierre's life in Moscow etc. SusanK helped me with the summary last time though I don't wish to burden anyone. Even the last line of the section ought to be enough. Our last moderator happened to have several translations at her disposal including Maude, so it made things easy. (Btw, Zulfiya this is no slur on you! You have been very kind to help us out of a tricky situation when you have more than enough on your plate!)

I shall be out of the country for a few days, so I don't anticipate much reading time, but I'd hope at least to catch up on this week. Sorry for any trouble and thank you for any help.

Zulfiya (ztrotter) My digital library has a Maude version to borrow. If anyone helps me with the plot and subject matter of the previous week, I might try to approximately find what we are reading now and where we are.

Hilary, no offense taken, but I do understand your frustrations. I also hope that E:-) is O'k. I have not heard from Kristi, our other moderator, for about two months. I hope both our members are O'K.

SusanK Hilary, lucky you, enjoy traveling. Take a good book :)
The end of Week 15 is where Dolokhov and Anatole discuss a certain marriage. And Week 16 ends Volume II with Pierre's "newly melted heart". It's back to the battlefields starting Week 17

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) Thanks so much, Zulfiya! I hope that are other moderators are well too. It's certainly not a task I could ever see myself doing. I appreciate all that you do.

Again, thanks so much SusanK. Your contribution is very helpful!

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) *our

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) Oh yes, and thanks. I'm looking forward to getting away! Reading is essential; somehow! ;-)

message 10: by Bonnie (last edited May 06, 2015 08:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Bonnie Week 15
Volume II / Part 5 / Chapters 1-11
Book 8 / Chapters 1-11

1. Pierre fares better in Moscow. Moral dilemma in abandoning the Masonry and his former ambitions. Drinking and ruminating over what to do with himself.
2. The Bolkonskys go to Moscow. Marya sad and lonely. Old Prince treats Marya harshly; the Old Prince and Mlle Bourienne.
3. Prince Bolkonsky treats Dr. Metivier as a spy. The prince's name-day dinner. Political talk about the French.
4. Pierre and Marya discuss Boris Drubetskoy and Natasha.
5. Boris had come to Moscow to find a rich wife (Julie or Marya Bolkonsky). empathizes with Julie's melancholy. Boris proposes to Julie.
6. Count Ilya Rostov, Sonya and Natasha go to Moscow and stay with Marya Dmitriyevna.
7. Count Rostov and Natasha call on the Bolkonskys. Disastrous visit. Natasha upset.
8. The Rostovs at the opera. Helene in the next box.
9. The opera. Helene's box fills with men. Natasha meets Helene. Dancing of Duport.
10. Natasha meets the seductive Anatole Kuragin and falls under his spell.
11. Kuragin had been sent to Moscow to find a rich wife. He stays with Pierre and carouses. He and Dolokhov discuss Natasha.

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) Thanks again Bonnie for all your help. Not quite caught up, what with trip abroad and some medical complications from a chronic back problem. I'll get there. All of your help is invaluable to me! Thank you everyone. :-)

Renee M I think the reception of Natasha by the Bolkonskis has a lot to do with her infatuation with Anatole Kuragin. And her long separation from Andrei, of course. She's so young and impressionable. So used to being pretty much adored by everyone. Completely unprepared for disappointment of any kind. I think it hit her pretty hard that she couldn't seem to win over Andrei's father and sister, making her ripe for the unscrupulous Kuragin to slither on in and confuse her with flirtation and seduction.

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) I suppose as Tolstoy was part of the aristocracy, these were the people he knew best and accepted them with all their foibles. It is said that later in life he turned his back on 'his' people and championed the serfs' freedom. He had become something of a recluse by then.

Oh dear, Hélène and Anatole; there's trouble afoot ...

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Hilary (agapoyesoun) Mary is certainly my favourite character so far. I feel for her. She needs to be set free from the oppressive nature of her father.

Duport was a rare little cameo with his bare legs and dancing. I confess I couldn't quite understand what he was doing there, but he reminds me of some of Dickens's more grotesque yet humorous characters

message 15: by Sera (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sera I am still reading and hope to catch up soon to finish out the book with the rest of you.

Natasha's youth shines through in these chapters. She is easily captivated by a handsome man and no one should be surprised. Tolstoy also foreshadows this occurrence by keeping Andrei and her apart for a year. It seemed that the bloom for Andrei had faded as well so maybe it is all for the best?

message 16: by Sera (new) - rated it 5 stars

Sera I love Mary, too, Hilary. I cannot stand her suffering and keep hoping that something magnificent will happen to her.

message 17: by Emu (new)

Emu Natasha keeps annoying me, even though I remind myself that she is so young.

I have mixed feelings for Mary. It annoys me that she punishes herself so much, on the other I'm really hoping that she will be a character that surprises me in the good way :-)

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