A Year of War and Peace + Day 1

In which Anna Pávlovna Schérer throws a party, Prince Vasíli Kurágin attends only to negotiate on behalf of his family and we learn the importance of role playing

Playlist

War and Peace — Book One, Part One

Chapter One

“Well, Prince, so Genoa and Lucca are now just family estates of the Buonapartes. But I warn you, if you don’t tell me that this means war, if you still try to defend the infamies and horrors perpetrated by that Antichrist — I really believe he is the Antichrist — I will have nothing more to do with you and you are no longer my friend, no longer my ‘faithful slave,’ as you call yourself! But how do you do? I see I have frightened you — sit down and tell me all the news.”

If you have nothing better to do, Count (or Prince), and if the prospect of spending an evening with a poor invalid is not too terrible, I shall be very charmed to see you tonight between 7 and 10 — Annette Schérer.

“Heavens! what a virulent attack!” replied the prince, not in the least disconcerted by this reception. He had just entered, wearing an embroidered court uniform, knee breeches, and shoes, and had stars on his breast and a serene expression on his flat face. He spoke in that refined French in which our grandfathers not only spoke but thought, and with the gentle, patronizing intonation natural to a man of importance who had grown old in society and at court. He went up to Anna Pávlovna, kissed her hand, presenting to her his bald, scented, and shining head, and complacently seated himself on the sofa.

A Year of War and Peace — Day 1

Pávlovna’s God

Much like the Fatihah this chapter not only opens the great book of which it is a part but also encapsulates within its short space all the themes and ideas of what is to follow. Here we have the terror of war, the delicate dance and negotiation of social relations, the pain and joy of family, the unremarked movers of history, and, of course, a great confusion of Russian names first-time Tolstoy readers cannot possibly dream of conquering.

Daily Meditation

Please let me know what you think in the comments. I love talking War and Peace.

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For my friends and family, love. For my enemies, durian fruit.

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