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Showing posts from February 27, 2022

Tolstoy's war

This article was first published in Eureka Street online, on Thursday the 3 rd of March 2022  here:  One of the most memorable scenes in Russian literature relates the thoughts of a man lying on the ground staring at the sky in the middle of a major European battle. Prince Andrei Bolkonsky is wounded. He is placed in a situation where, instead of running, fighting, and thinking every moment might be his last, he is suddenly met with silence, grandeur, tranquillity. Instead of everything being horror, deception, and emptiness, he sees only peace and infinity, and for this he is grateful. His desire for life is affirmed.   Nor does he forget his experience when caught in a place of extreme vulnerability on a battlefield. Later, when Prince Andrei as it happens encounters the architect of Austerlitz in person, he finds Napoleon wanting, “so petty did his hero with his paltry vanity and delight in victory appear, compared to that