Saturday, April 16, 2011

Earthly Love

"There was tormenting doubt in Princess Marya’s soul. Was the joy of love, of earthly love for a man, possible for her? Thinking of marriage, Princess Marya dreamed of family happiness and children, but her chiefest, strongest, and most secret dream was of earthly love. This feeling was all the stronger, the more she tried to conceal it from others and even from herself."

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Descriptions of Young Men

I clipped the following in order to remember the descriptions of these men:

"Prince Bolkonsky was of medium height, a rather handsome young man with well-defined and dry features. Everything in his figure, from his weary, bored gaze to his quiet, measured gait, presented the sharpest contrast with his small, lively wife."

"[A] massive, fat young man with a cropped head, in spectacles... Though Pierre was indeed somewhat larger than the other men in the room, this fear could have referred only to the intelligent and at the same time shy, observant, and natural gaze which distinguished him from everyone else in that drawing room."

"Dolokhov was a man of medium height, curly-haired and with light blue eyes. He was about twenty-five. Like all infantry officers, he wore no mustache, and his mouth, the most striking feature of his face, was entirely visible. The lines of his mouth were remarkably finely curved. In the middle, the upper lip came down energetically on the sturdy lower lip in a sharp wedge, and at the corners something like two smiles were constantly formed, one on each side; and all of that together, especially combined with a firm, insolent, intelligent gaze, made up such an expression that it was impossible not to notice this face."

"Boris was a tall, blond youth with the regular, fine features of a calm and handsome face."

"Nikolai was a curly-haired young man, not very tall, and with an open expression of the face. On his upper lip a little black hair had already appeared, and his whole face expressed impetuousness and rapturousness."

"Denisov was a small man with a red face, shining black eyes, and disheveled black mustaches and hair."

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Progress 4

End of part two of book two. 32% complete!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rostov on Leave

"Rostov felt how his face and soul expanded under the influence of these hot rays of Natasha’s love [his sister], for the first time in a year and a half, into that childish and pure smile which he had not once smiled since he left home."

"Rostov again entered that world of his family and childhood, which had no meaning for anyone but him, but which had provided him with one of the best enjoyments in life..."

"Natasha asked so earnestly and excitedly that it was clear that what she was saying now, she had said before through tears."

Nikolái Rostov returned home on leave between major battles. Natasha was asking him about their cousin, Sónya, who loved Nikolái, and what he thought of her.

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy


"'Here it is!' thought Prince Andrei, seizing the staff of the standard and hearing with delight the whistle of bullets, evidently aimed precisely at him. Several soldiers fell. 'Hurrah!' cried Prince Andrei, barely able to hold up the heavy standard, and he ran forward with unquestioning assurance that the entire battalion would run after him. And indeed he ran only a few steps alone. One soldier started out, another, and the whole battalion, with a shout of 'Hurrah!' rushed forward and overtook him. A sergeant of the battalion ran up, took the standard that was wavering in Prince Andrei’s hands because of its weight, but was killed at once. Prince Andrei again seized the standard and, dragging it by the staff, ran with the battalion."

Note: The "it" Prince Andrei referred to was his defining moment during the war - the moment that would make him famous, like Bonaparte.

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy


"As in the mechanism of a clock, so also in the mechanism of military action, the movement once given is just as irrepressible until the final results, and just as indifferently motionless are the parts of the mechanism not yet involved in the action even a moment before movement is transmitted to them. Wheels whizz on their axles, cogs catch, fast-spinning pulleys whirr, yet the neighboring wheel is as calm and immobile as though it was ready to stand for a hundred years in that immobility; but a moment comes—the lever catches, and, obedient to its movement, the wheel creaks, turning, and merges into one movement with the whole, the result and purpose of which are incomprehensible to it. As in a clock the result of the complex movement of numberless wheels and pulleys is merely the slow and measured movement of the hands pointing to the time, so also the result of all the complex human movements of these hundred and sixty thousand Russians and French—all the passions, desires, regrets, humiliations, sufferings, bursts of pride, fear, rapture—was merely the loss of the battle of Austerlitz, the so-called battle of the three emperors, that is, a slow movement of the world-historical hand on the clockface of human history."

"A soldier in movement is as hemmed in, limited, and borne along by his regiment as a sailor by his ship. However far he may go, whatever strange, unknown, and dangerous latitudes he gets into, around him—as for the sailor always and everywhere there are the same decks, masts, and rigging of his ship—always and everywhere there are the same comrades, the same ranks, the same sergeant major Ivan Mitrich, the same company dog Zhuchka, the same superiors. A soldier rarely wishes to know what latitudes his whole ship has gotten to; but on the day of battle, God knows how and from where, a stern note is heard in the moral world of the troops, the same for everyone, which sounds the approach of something decisive and solemn and arouses in them an unaccustomed curiosity. On days of battle, soldiers excitedly try to get beyond the interests of their regiment, listen intently, look about, and greedily inquire into what is going on around them."

~ War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy

Progress 3

23% through War and Peace!

Originally posted April 3rd, 2011.