Saturday, July 23, 2011

War and Peace Summer Readalong Week #3

War and Peace Summer Readalong Week #3

War and Peace By Leo Tolstoy
Summer Read-A-Long sponsored by Laurie at What She Read blog.

 Week #3
Pages read:  201-294
Chapters read:  1-19
Volume 1, Part Three read.

Last week's reading was really hard for me to get into, with tons of battle tactics that were hard to understand, this week I found the reading much more enjoyable as Tolstoy ties together, St. Petersberg society with the soldiers in the war.

In Volume One, Part One we are introduced to a multitude of characters in Russian society, which include Counts, Princes and Princesses and many more rich society folk.

In Volume One, Part Two, Tolstoy takes some of the male characters from Part One and sends them to war in a campaign against Napoleon and the French in Austria.

In Volume One, Part Three,  I felt a turning point in my reading as I couldn't wait to find out what happens next.  Pierre inherited a title and a fortune when his father died and now everyone is vying for Pierre's money and attention.  He was basically tricked into marrying Helene, Prince Vassily's daughter.  Vaguely reminds me of the story of the Greeks Paris and Helen and the war they started.  Could this be a hint from Tolstoy of a tragedy in Russia, that is to come?

Then Prince Vassily, sly dog that he is, tries to marry off his last son, Anatole, to Prince Bolkonsky's daughter Marya (who is very ugly and plain).  She is very religious and wants to leave her demanding father, but she finds Anatole in the arms of her lady servant and declines his marriage proposal.  Her father is overjoyed.  Marya vows to help Mlle Bourienne, her lady friend, marry Anatole.  This should prove to be interesting.  Prince Andrei, Marya's brother is in the war at this time and he left his pregnant wife in the care of his father and sister.

Nicolas Rostov is injured in Part two but sends a letter to his family in Part Three causing great stress and excitement back home with his secret love Sonya and his sister Natasha.  Natasha has a secret love for Pierre.  The Rostov's write a letter back sending money for his promotion.  The letter leads the reader back into the war.

Nicolas Rostov receives his letter and money and then meets Prince Andrei Bolkonsky.  The Council of War is planning a major battle offensive against the French.  The Emperor of France is there, The Grand Duke of Austria is there and The Sovereign of Russia is there.  The Battle of Austerlitz becomes known as The Battle of the Three Emperors and is fought on December 2nd, 1805.  I loved learning about this battle.  It is hailed a tactical masterpiece and one of Napoleon's greatest victories.  During this battle, Prince Andrei is wounded and discovered by Napoleon when he observes the grounds of his victory.  Andrei receives medical care, but is not expected to live.   Rostov is riding on his horse observing with great sadness, the loss of life and the depressed state of his Sovereign leader, Alexander. 

I also discovered that Tolstoy has included a character in his book named Titus.  Titus is an old house serf and the soldier men joke, Titus, Don't bite us!  This is quite funny to me, because my dog is named Titus!  Here is his picture.  He is so darn cute!

Next week I am reading Volume Two, Part One! 

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