Monday, September 23, 2013
The Historical Depiction of Russian Culture
The most popular way to read War & Peace is as a representation of Russian society in the early 19th century. Tolstoy's heavy incorporation of real historical events and figures make his work a great insight to the way Russians thought about their own country and culture at the time. There are a lot of posts being made comparing the times of war and peace, and the differences between them. I believe that through a historical lens, the sections of War offer the most truthful insight to what Russian culture was really like in the 19th century. Tolstoy was raised in a wealthy aristocratic family, and served in the military like many of the main characters. Just like the wealthy young men serving in the military in War & Peace, it is likely Tolstoy's only interactions with classes of Russians outside aristocrats was in the context of the military. Thus, when Tolstoy wants to represent true Russians, he does it in the only context that he knows them. Although the War scenes are a lot of play-by-play action scenes, scenes such as Andrew riding through the ranks of Russians are a more realistic depiction of Russian culture than parties hosted by Anna Pavlovna.
Posted by Sam McDonnell at 9:48 PM