The titles of books often have greater significance than a cataloguer’s convenience. Sometimes they arouse expectations in the reader which the author has no intention of fulfilling. We see this at its most extreme in the case of Sterne’s The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy Gentleman (a novel in which names are supposedly of overriding importance); in others a title may be a concentrated distillation of the book’s themes. War and Peace falls into this latter category.
On one level Tolstoy’s novel is about the two antithetical states of war and peace, an alternation of states in which Russia found herself at the beginning of the nineteenth century. It is also about the way these two experiences affect Russia’s upper classes, and- in a more veiled way – the fortunes of Tolstoy’s own ancestors. Tolstoy came from a military background. His mother’s side of the family could boast a long and distinguished military line; his maternal grandfather Nikolay Volkonsky was the military governor of Archangel (he enters his grandson’s novel thinly disguised as Nikolay Bolkonsky). Tolstoy’s own father was also a soldier, and is the Nikolay Rostov of the novel. Yet set against such warlike antecedents we have Tolstoy’s mother, who, reinterpreted as Princess Marya, embodies passive, compassionate, non-violent values – the values of peace.
As a young man Tolstoy himself thought of pursuing a military career. His brother Nikolay was a soldier and in 1851 he took Lev along with him to the Caucasus as a non-combatant where he witnessed the fighting against the tribesmen. This ambiguous position of the civilian observer of warfare is reproduced in the novel in the presence of the non-combatant Pierre Bezukhov at the battle of Borodino.
Tolstoy showed a certain hesitancy when it came to choosing a military career, but he became an officer cadet (yunker) in 1852 and was commissioned two years later. He took part in the Crimean War, but in 1856 at the end of hostilities he resigned his commission. Dissatisfaction with military values, although such values were part of the family tradition, can be seen not only in his vacillation in the choice of a career, but more clearly in his writings of the time, particularly in his Sebastapol Sketches. The equivocation is there in War and Peace. Indeed, the two elements of the novel’s title may be seen as equal pans of balancing scales, reflecting the moral dilemma of the author himself: on the one hand there is a sense of loyalty and nostalgia for the traditions of a family, whom Tolstoy, orphaned at an early age, never knew; on the other is Tolstoy’s own growing pacifism and revulsion against all forms of force, which would later find its expression in the doctrine of ‘non-resistance to evil by violence’.
Although at the end of his life this rational doctrine appeared to have weighed the scale against the claims of emotion, its victory was not entirely clear. Violence can be verbal and Tolstoy was a vehement polemicist. Moreover he obviously took sides during the Russo-Japanese war in 1904, expressing strong opinions about the fall of Port Arthur, and one of the most impressive stories he wrote towards the end of his life, Khadzhi Murat (1896) is about a Caucasian military leader. The portrait is sympathetic and in this story it is as though Tolstoy is looking back on his own earlier military experiences in that area.
It is this dichotomy between the turmoil of war and the passive values of peace, between a would-be heroism and a latent pacifism, which informs the double warp of the novel. The rational side of Tolstoy is clearly expressed, not only in the growing number of authorial interventions in the plot, and most strikingly in the final epilogue. Yet, Tolstoy’s rational analysis of warfare is also powered by strong emotion, and, as we shall see, it may not be all it seems.
RUMOURS OF WAR
Both the opening and final sections of the novel are set in time of peace, though war and the threat of violence are never far away. Rumours and causes for war are there in the opening sections set in Anna Scherer’s salon, and at the end, in the Epilogue, part I, the consequences of war bring new hints of violence: Russian officers, returning in victory from western Europe, had brought back with them ideas for the reform of Russian society, which led to conspiratorial groups within the army and to the abortive insurrection of the ‘Decembrists’. At the end of the novel Pierre is caught up in this, but his adherence to the actual Decembrist movement is merely adumbrated. Nevertheless, we know that Tolstoy’s original conception of his ‘great elephant’, as he called his novel, was to portray the background and build-up to the Decembrist uprising. Not only, given its political sensitivity, was such an undertaking difficult to realize, but the novel took on a momentum of its own, relegating the Decembrist theme to a vague conspiracy touched on in the Epilogue.
TOLSTOY’S DEPICTION OF WARFARE
But what of war itself? Tolstoy emphasizes its confusion:
In reality all these movements backwards and forwards did not improve or change the troop positions. All their assaults and collisions against one another scarcely brought them harm – the harm, the death, the mutilation was inflicted by cannon balls and bullets, which were flying everywhere in the area where these people were surging. (III, 2, 33).
Warfare is not always what the combatants think it should be. During the Austerlitz campaign Nikolay Rostov, standing on a bridge about to be raked by French fire, feels at a loss: ‘There was no one to hew down (as he had always imagined what a battle would be like)’ (I, 2, 8). Tolstoy’s description and Nikolay’s perplexity are instructive: warfare, as it is depicted in the novel, rarely involves the hand-to-hand fighting of the set battle, but it does reflect the two aspects of the author’s own experience of warfare: on the one hand the partisan skirmishing he had witnessed in the Caucasus – the subject matter of early stories (The Raid, Wood Cutting, The Cossacks). In War and Peace the warfare of raids is recreated in the sections which involve Denisov – a figure based on the real life partisan leader and strategist, Denis Davydov. On the other hand we have the warfare of siege, conducted through heavy artillery fire, the heroism of the Raevsky Redoubt, which is the only real impression of the battle of Borodino vouchsafed to the reader. Here Tolstoy is drawing directly on his own experience of the Crimean War – Sebastopol under siege – not combat hand-to-hand, but the terror of the artillery barrage. Indeed, one episode in Sebastopol in May 1855, describing the death of Praskukhin from a spinning mortar bomb prefigures the spinning bomb that seriously injures Prince Andrey at Borodino (III, 2, 36) 
In effect the battle of Borodino is witnessed from just one standpoint – a position like the one in which Tolstoy found himself in Sebastopol, but observed as though through the eyes of a younger more naïve Tolstoy, the civilian Tolstoy who followed the fighting in the Caucasus, and now fictionally represented in the form of the ingénu civilian, Pierre Bezukhov, who in the novel takes on the role of the representative of peace.
There is, however, a third aspect of Tolstoy’s presentation of warfare which looks back to the Crimean experience. On the British side the generals were not the heroes of the campaign, but there was a heroine – the nurse Florence Nightingale. This was paralleled by the emergence of the surgeon Pirogov as the real hero of the war on the Russian side (it was he who gave hospital practice the notion of ‘triage’). After the peace treaty at Tilsit Nikolay Rostov ponders on the significance of the meeting of the two emperors, but is disconcerted by his memories of the military hospital:
It seemed, he was now aware so vividly of that hospital smell of dead bodies, that he looked round in order to understand where this smell came from. Then he remembered that smug Napoleon, with his white hand, who was now an emperor, and was liked and respected by the Emperor Alexander. What was the reason for these torn off arms and legs, and people killed? (II, 2, 21).
The suggestions in Nikolay’s mind are later more fully realized in a simile from the author himself, who compares Napoleon, before the battle of Borodino, to a self-assured surgeon, rolling up his sleeves and donning his apron, while the patient is tied to the bed. (III, 2, 29). During the battle, however, as things are not going well, he is seen as a harmful physician:
Napoleon could not see that in relation to his army he was playing the role of a doctor, who was hindering with his medicines – a role which he so truly understood and condemned. (III, 2, 34)
The medical implications of warfare are strongly emphasized in Tolstoy’s novel. Some of the bloodiest scenes occur, not on the battlefield, but in the surgical tent. Chapter 37 of Part 2, Book III, where Prince Andrey experiences its full horrors, opens with a striking image: ‘One of the doctors came out of the tent in an apron covered with blood. His small hands were also covered in blood, and in one of them he held a cigar between his little finger and thumb in order not to soil it.’
MIXED ELEMENTS OF WAR AND PEACE
Yet the terrible consequences of war described in this chapter bring the virtues of peaceful coexistence in their train. Prince Andrey becomes reconciled with his arch enemy Anatole Kuragin, who is also lying in a desperate condition in the same tent. The values of war and those of peace are intertwined. The sections devoted to peace in the novel are centred on the family, but the regiment is also a family, as we can see from the attitude of Nikolay Rostov, who:
‘…experienced the same feeling as when he was embraced by his mother, father and sisters; joyful tears rising in his throat prevented him from speaking. The regiment was also a home, and a home as unfailingly nice and dear, as his parental home’ (II, 2,15).
Even social manoeuvring in polite society can take on aspects of the battlefield. When in Anna Scherer’s salon, at the beginning of the novel, Pierre attempts to join the ‘wrong’ group his hostess is seen as a military strategist: ‘But Anna Pavlovna found herself in the vexed state of a general on the field of battle, when thousands of brilliant thoughts come to you, which you scarcely have time to put into effect’ (I, 3, 1).
The peace-time distractions of the nobleman’s family also have their applications for war. The wolf hunt, described in Book II, Part 4, Chapters 4-5, has all the tension and danger of warfare (including human enemies), and its lessons are recalled in Book III, Part 1, Chapter15, when, before the battle of Borodino, Nikolay as ‘though at the hunt’ looks at unfolding events with his ‘hunter’s eye’, and behaving instinctively (‘he did all this, as he did at the hunt’) rushes to head off the French dragoons (‘with the same feeling with which he rushed to cut off the wolf’). Yet earlier, before experiencing the actual hunt, his behaviour had been quite different. At Austerlitz he had appeared not as a hunter, but as one of the hunted, running away from a French soldier: ‘feeling like a hare running away from dogs’ (I, 2, 19). After Borodino the French army itself is compared to a wounded animal with Kutuzov the huntsman (IV, 2, 2), and the image is repeated at the end of chapter 10.
The possibility of killing and maiming is also a feature of the peacetime society described in War and Peace. The nobleman’s code of honour can lead to duelling even in civilian life, as we see in the case of Pierre and Dolokhov. If such practices suggest the influence of military values on polite society in time of peace, such military predominance seems reversed in matters of rank: social position outweighs military rank. This is borne home to the impoverished nobleman Boris Drubetskoy, when he visits Prince Andrey at staff headquarters:
Boris clearly understood at that moment, what he had anticipated previously, namely that in the army, besides the subordination and discipline inscribed in the regulations, which the regiment knew, and he knew, there was another more fundamental subordination, one which compelled this buttoned up, purple faced general to wait respectfully whilst captain Prince Andrey found it more to his liking to talk to ensign Drubetskoy. (I, 3, 9) 
Later we find Berg, as a senior officer, reprimanding Prince Andrey, but then feeling the need to apologise to him, once he realizes who he is (III, 2, 4).
THE PROVING GROUND
War is a proving ground, which Tolstoy conveys by the recurrent image of a schoolboy facing an examination. The opening chapter of Book One, Part Two, gives us the vignette of a captain summoned to account by his general like a schoolboy called to repeat a lesson he has not learned. The closing chapter of Part Two has a parallel image – called to account by the chief of staff himself, the gallant captain Tushin: ‘looked Bagration straight in the face, as a faltering pupil looks into the eyes of his examiner’. (I, 2, 21). At Nikolay’s first taste of warfare he seems over-confident in the face of the test he is about to undergo. He has ‘the happy look of a pupil, who, summoned to an examination before a large public audience, is convinced that he will distinguish himself.’ I, 2, 8). On returning home, a hero to his family, he feels he has now grown up, and can forget such details of childhood as his failure to pass the examination in religious knowledge (II, 1, 2). At a council of war in this same 1805 campaign Langeron, impatient with the Austrian general’s ‘leçon de géographie’, wishes to show Weierother that he is not teaching schoolboys (I, 3, 12).
War was a testing ground for Tolstoy himself. As a civilian with the army in the Caucasus he himself came near to death, and on the 28th February 1852 he wrote in his diary: ‘Danger opened my eyes. I wanted to believe that I was perfectly calm and in command of myself. But the engagements of the seventh and the eighteenth did not confirm this.’ In the novel war brings the death of Prince Andrey, Petya Rostov and countless others, and it is death which is a major preoccupation of Tolstoy throughout his works. It has often been remarked that Part V, chapter 20 of Anna Karenina, which is concerned with the death of Nikolay Levin, is the only section of the novel to bear a title –‘Death’. The word occurs in the title of one of Tolstoy’s most powerful short stories, The Death of Ivan Ilich, and surfaces as an obsession in his Confession (Ispoved’). After completing War and Peace in 1869 Tolstoy underwent a spiritual crisis in the small provincial town of Arzamas. He had a strange premonition of death, which would deeply affect his attitude to life.
For Tolstoy the existence of death raised further questions: the qualitative nature of the present and the promise of the future (how one should live one’s life now, and the possibility of immortality). How have I lived, and how should I live? are very Tolstoyan questions. They are raised throughout Tolstoy’s work, and with particular sharpness in The Death of Ivan Ilich, but they are also questions which affect the heroes of War and Peace. The possibility of imminent death in war brings reconciliation to those two declared enemies – Pierre and Dolokhov (III, 2, 22). Andrey, wounded at the battle of Borodino, as we have seen, is reconciled with his enemy Anatole Kuragin, and draws a lesson for life, which, because of his wound, he feels it is now too late to implement:
‘Compassion, love for one’s brothers, for those who love us, love for those who hate us, love for our enemies – yes that love which was preached by God on earth, which Princess Marya taught me and which I did not understand…’ (III, 2, 37).
As Prince Andrey experiences actual death, in the closing section of Book IV, Part 1, he thinks of it as ‘awakening’, and we see how his close relatives react to his death each in their own way.
The self-examination enforced by war and confrontation with death lead to forgiveness, reconciliation and love, not only for former enemies, but for mankind in general. At the same time death also raises questions about the future. Such thoughts are in every soldier’s mind, when he looks at the line separating the two hostile forces:
One step beyond that line reminding one of the line which separates the living from the dead, and – it is the unknown, suffering and death. What is there? Who is there? There, beyond this field, and tree, and roof lit by the sun? No one knows, but one wants to know; it is terrifying to cross this line, yet one wants to cross it; and you know that sooner or later you will have to cross it, and find out what there is there on the other side of the line, just as inevitably as to find out what there is on the other side of death… (I, 2, 8).
Shortly afterwards Nikolay experiences the confusion of war its terrors and the cries of the wounded, but nature appears to offer some sort of escape: the Danube, the sky, the sun, but also a human monument to the spiritual – a distant monastery:
In me alone and in this sun there is so much happiness, but here.. there are groans, suffering, fear, and this lack of clarity, this haste. Now again they are shouting something, and again everybody has run back somewhere, and I shall run with them, and here it is, here it is, death, above me, around me.. A moment – and [I shall no longer see] this sun, this water, this ravine (I, 2, 8).
But then the sun disappears behind clouds; more wounded men on stretchers appear:
‘And the terror of death and the stretchers and love for the sun and for life – all this fused into one morbidly disturbing impression. “Lord God! He who is there in that sky, save, forgive and protect me!” Rostov whispered to himself.’
2) PRINCE ANDREY
Such promptings towards the metaphysical - inspired by the mystery of nature in confrontation with death, acquire a deeper significance for Prince Andrey as he lies wounded on the battlefield of Austerlitz:
There was no longer anything above him except the sky - the lofty sky, not clear, but all the same immeasurably high, with grey clouds slowly creeping across it…
‘…..How was it that I have not seen this lofty sky before? And how happy I am that I have finally recognized it. Yes, everything is empty, everything deceit, apart from this limitless sky. There is nothing, nothing, except it, yet there is not even that, there is nothing apart from the silence of tranquillity. And God be praised!…’ (I, 3, 7).
Andrey lies where he fell, apparently forgotten, wounded, half-conscious and groaning. When he comes to, his first thoughts are of this sky, unknown to him until now. At the sound of approaching horses he opens his eyes, and the sky is the first thing he sees: ‘above him again was just the same lofty sky, with floating clouds, now much higher and through which could be seen blue infinity’ (I, 3,19). But so far Andrey’s sense of the infinite and eternal cannot be equated with conventional religion. He looks at the little icon which his sister, Princess Marya, had hung round his neck, and questions its significance:
‘How good it would be to know where help could be found in this life, and after it what to expect there, beyond the grave! How happy and calm I would be, if I could say now: Lord have mercy on me!…But to whom would I say it? Either it is a force undefined and incomprehensible, to which I not only cannot turn, but which I cannot express in words - it is all that is great, or it is nothing’, he said to himself, ‘Or is it that god, which is here sewn into this amulet by Princess Marya? Nothing, nothing is sure, apart from the insignificance of all that I understand, and the grandeur of something not understood, but immensely important!’ (I, 3,19).
Despite his wounds, Andrey is returned to life, but his wife, towards whom he has feelings of guilt, dies in childbirth. There is a change in Andrey, but the feelings he had experienced under the sky at Austerlitz only resurface in conversation with Pierre, when they are on a ferry together. The symbolism of ‘crossing over’ is perhaps significant. Pierre talks of God, love, and in stressing eternal life points to the sky:
Leaving the ferry, he looked at the sky, pointed out to him by Pierre, and for the first time since Austerlitz he saw that lofty, eternal sky, which he had seen lying on the field of Austerlitz, and something which had long been dormant, something very good inside him suddenly, joyfully, youthfully, awoke in his soul…(II, 2, 7).
Despite the fact that this feeling disappears once he resumes normal life, nevertheless he knows that, undeveloped as it is, the feeling still lives within him, and that this meeting with Pierre marked an epoch from which a new internal life began.
Shortly afterwards a new Spring seems to burgeon for Andrey, symbolized by the fact that the old, bare oak tree, which he had noted on his way out to see the Rostovs, he now finds, on his way back, has put on new leaves. It is a new growth of love – for Natasha. Yet these feelings are mixed with the epiphany at Austerlitz, and a discordant note - the reproachful face of his dead wife
At one and the same time he recalled all the best moments of his life: Austerlitz with its lofty sky, and the dead, reproachful face of his wife, and Pierre on the ferry and the young girl [i.e. Natasha] moved by the beauty of the night, and that night, and the moon- all this suddenly came back to him (II, 3, 3).
When he next visits the Rostovs, Natasha’s singing, not only evokes joy, but also a desire to weep – a sadness which is connected with the feelings he had had at Austerlitz:
The chief thing which made him want to weep was the sudden, vivid awareness of the terrible contradiction between something infinitely great and unfathomable within him and something narrow and corporeal that was himself, and even her. During her singing this contradiction gave him both torment and joy (II, 3, 19).
Unfortunately his hopes for a new life with Natasha are dashed by her infatuation for Anatole Kuragin, and with them vanish a whole dimension of metaphysical thought:
He not only did not think those previous thoughts, which came to him for the first time, when he looked at the sky on the field of Austerlitz, those thoughts which he loved to develop with Pierre, and which filled his isolation in Bogucharovo, and later in Switzerland and Rome; but he even feared to recall those thoughts, opening up endless, bright horizons (III, 1, 7).
He now thinks only of unrelated practical matters: ‘As though that endless vault of sky, stretching out into the distance, which had previously stood above him, had suddenly turned into a low, circumscribed vault, squashing him, in which everything was clear, but nothing was eternal or mysterious’ (III, 1, 8).
It is only with his second and fatal wounding at Borodino that Andrey fully realizes the metaphysical significance of his experiences. Death confronts him with the truth (as it will later for the central figure in the story The Death of Ivan Ilich). The main thing is love – love thine enemy. Andrey realizes this in the surgical tent when he sees his enemy Anatole Kuragin in agony after the amputation of a leg (III, 2, 37), and the message comes to him even more clearly as he himself lies dying, and is reconciled with Natasha (III, 3, 32) (IV, 1, 16).
The epiphany opened up by nature, and in particular the boundless sky, is not confined to Andrey, a similar experience is vouchsafed before death to the young Petya Rostov, but in his case it is the euphoria he feels before the battle to come. He is in a ‘magic kingdom’ in which everything seems possible:
He looked at the sky and the sky was just as magical as the earth. The sky was clearing and, and clouds quickly ran over the treetops as though revealing stars. Sometimes it seemed that up above it was clearing showing a pure, black sky. Sometimes it seemed that these black patches were thunder clouds, sometimes it seemed that the sky was rising up high, high above his head; sometimes the sky was dropping altogether, so that you could reach it with your hand (IV, 3, 10).
Although in this passage the metaphysical element is much reduced, it is the reaction of a young boy both to the exhilaration and to the dangers of war, and this is reflected in the changing sky with its promise of ‘stars’ and hints of ‘thunder clouds’. This is a sky which, whilst giving a sense of lofty infinity, can also suggest the sort of lowered vault, experienced by a disillusioned Prince Andrey. It is the prelude to the young boy’s senseless and sudden death in the next chapter.
The novel’s chief non-combatant is Pierre, and although in his conversation with Prince Andrey on the ferry, he already seems to have found answers to more metaphysical questions, this is far from the case. His profound dissatisfaction with life in society; the fact that through his wife’s new liaison he appears to have been bought off by the award of a meaningless court title, and that he cannot help comparing his own lot with that of his friend Andrey and his relationship with Natasha – all this leads to fundamental questioning: ‘Again everything seemed worthless in comparison to eternity, again the question arose: “What is it for?” [k chemu?] (II, 3, 22).
At the end of Book II, he too has an uplifting experience of the sky at night, not on the open battlefield, but, as befits his civilian status, in the peaceful enclosure of the city:
It was frosty and clear. A dark starry sky stood above the dirty, half-dark streets, above the black roofs. Pierre looking only at the sky did not feel the insulting baseness of everything earthly compared with the heights on which his soul now found itself (II, 5, 22).
He has just come from a meeting with Natasha, which appears significantly to enhance his amorous prospects. The battlefield epiphany for Andrey had generated an all-encompassing love, but for Pierre it is love itself which appears to generate his feeling of epiphany. The year is 1812 (or is it 1811?) and there is something else in the heavens – the comet, which many took to be an omen of horrors to come, even the end of the world, but Pierre does not see it as such. He welcomes the comet as a sign with personal significance: ‘It seemed to Pierre that this star entirely responded to what was in his soul, which was burgeoning into a new life, was more tender and reassured’ (II, 5, 22). From the day he saw the comet, he is no longer plagued by the futility of earthly things; his questioning has been replaced by the image of Natasha – he has been saved by love. At the same time the comet itself is inspiring – he has a role: his Masonic interpretations and cabalistic jugglings reveal Napoleon as the Beast of the Apocalypse and Pierre Bezukhov as his nemesis (III, 1, 19).
It is, however, only later, when he has been captured by the French as a suspected Russian arsonist, that he becomes fully aware of the metaphysical significance of this profound, eternal sky. He laughs out loud at the thought that he is considered a prisoner, whereas, in fact, he is an immortal soul: ‘They hold me in captivity, whom? Me? Me? - my immortal soul. Ha, ha, ha! …Ha, ha ha!’:
Pierre looked up into the sky of twinkling stars receding into the distance: ‘And all this is mine, and all this is in me, and all this is me!’ thought Pierre, ‘And all this they have captured and put in a shed fenced in with boards!’ He smiled, and went to his comrades to lie down to sleep (IV, 2, 14).
This is a further stage in the spiritual development of Pierre. Whereas for Andrey the sky and the firmament had been a distant source of inspiration, for Pierre epiphany has become internalized – he is the lofty sky and its myriad stars.
5) NATASHA AND RELIGION
Pierre, the civilian, has also had direct contact with war, but the spiritual experiences of peace for others are, on the whole, more conventional. The religious outlook of both Princess Marya and Natasha finds support in more domesticated imagery. We have already seen that Prince Andrey muses on the ‘god’ his sister has sewn into the amulet round his neck, but seems unconvinced by it as a representation of the numinous experienced on the battlefield (I, 3, 19). Natasha in the crisis she undergoes through her liaison with Anatole Kuragin, and the loss of Prince Andrey, finds consolation and ultimate meaning in an icon of the Madonna, and the sounds of a church service:
And a new feeling for Natasha, one of humility before what was great and incomprehensible seized her, when at that unusual hour of the morning, looking at the black face of the Madonna, illuminated both by the candles which burned before it and the morning light falling through the window, she listened to the sounds of the service, which she tried to follow and understand (III, 1, 17).
ATTITUDES TO NAPOLEON
If war raises the philosophical problems of the meaning of death and how one should live, there is yet a further question raised by war: the nature of leadership, the role of authority. In the novel this is posed through the antithetical figures of Napoleon and Kutuzov, and explored at some length through authorial interventions, and even more thoroughly in the second part of the Epilogue. The intriguing situation of Tolstoy, the patriarch, declaring himself against authority will be examined in a later chapter.
As we have seen, the two strands of war and peace find their respective heroes in Prince Andrey and Pierre Bezukhov – Andrey the scion of a distinguished military family; Pierre the illegitimate son of a bon-viveur count. Yet we have also seen that the categories of war and peace overlap. Andrey is often impatient in time of peace, and it is here that he suffers his emotional defeats. The civilian, Pierre, drums up his own regiment for the war effort, and his curiosity leads him to be a spectator at the crucial battle of Borodino.
It is a commonplace of critical discussion of the novel to regard both these figures as contrasting aspects of the author himself. There is much to recommend this view and it is true to say that much of Tolstoy’s writing reveals autobiographical elements. Not only are questions of life and death principally explored through these heroes, but they also grapple with the problem of authority. At the beginning of the novel both are admirers of Napoleon, but in ways which reflect the differing attitudes of the soldier and the civilian. For Andrey Napoleon is a brilliant general; for Pierre he is the designer of a new social order.
In the opening sections of the novel, set in the salon of the society hostess, Anna Scherer, whose guests include an émigré French viscount, Napoleon’s recent actions are the subject of censure. Pierre, however, is naïve enough to defend his hero in such company. Napoleon is the upholder of peaceful civic values:
‘No ‘, he said, growing more and more animated, ‘Napoleon is great, because he has stood above the revolution, he has quashed its abuses, retaining all that is good – equality of citizens, freedom of speech and of press, and it is only because of this that he has assumed power’ (I, 1, 4).
Pierre’s naivety shines through, and the viscount realizes that ‘this Jacobin is not at all as terrifying as his words’, but as the aristocratic guests bombard Pierre with objections, his friend comes to his aid:
‘How can you wish him to reply to everyone at once?’ said Prince Andrey, ‘Moreover, in the acts of a statesman one must distinguish between the acts of a private person, a general or an emperor. That’s what it seems to me.’
For Andrey, Napoleon is also a hero, but in a military sense, yet Pierre has his doubts about warfare; he is against helping Austria and Britain against ‘the greatest man on earth’ (I, 1, 5). His friend counters that, if people fought only according to their convictions, there would be no war. For Pierre this would be a good thing, but Andrey has his doubts. As a military man he obviously feels the attraction of warfare, and, when pressed, admits that he is going to war because he does not like his present life. It is the ties of the social and family life of a civilian, which Andrey finds irksome, as he confides to his friend. These ties, he argues, did not bind his military hero: ‘But Napoleon, when he worked at it, went towards his goal a step at a time. He was free, he had nothing except his goal, and he achieved it. But just you tie yourself to a woman, and, like a convict in chains, you lose all freedom’ (I, 1, 6). Such constraints are there in society life in general, dominated as it is by women.
Before the death of his father, Pierre seems reconciled to spending time alone in his room. When Boris calls in to see him he finds his friend gesticulating and mouthing condemnation of Pitt. He is acting out the role of Napoleon in his imagination:
When he perceived the handsome, well-built, young officer who had come in, he had not yet managed to finish his condemnation of Pitt, imagining himself at that moment to be Napoleon and along with his hero he had already made the dangerous crossing of the Channel and conquered London (I, 1,13).
Prince Andrey, who regards Napoleon as a genius (I, 4, 10), also sees him as a role model, and when he learns of the desperate situation the allied troops find themselves in after the French have crossed the Thabor bridge and Vienna is before them, he feels that his own moment of glory has come; it will be for him what Toulon was for Napoleon: ‘..here it is, that Toulon, which would draw him out of the ranks of unknown officers, and would open up for him the first path to fame!’ (I, 2, 12). When the battle begins Andrey feels a rush of blood to his heart and a premonition that his ‘Toulon’ is at hand (I, 2, 17). On the eve of the main battle, his Napoleonic-inspired imagination runs riot, much as earlier it had done for Pierre, alone in his room:
He imagined the battle, losing it, the fighting concentrated on one spot and the embarrassment of all those in command. And here was a fortunate moment, that Toulon, for which he had waited so long, was finally presenting itself to him. He gives his opinion firmly and clearly to Kutuzov, to Weierother and to the emperors. All are struck by the truth of his views, but no one undertakes to carry them out, and then he takes a regiment, a division, he announces the condition that from now on no one should interfere with his orders, and he leads his division to the decisive place and alone achieves the victory (I, 3, 12).
Although another voice within him warns of wounding and death, he continues with his daydream, going from success to success, until he replaces Kutuzov himself as commander in chief.
Unfortunately, in his attempt to imitate Napoleon, Andrey’s ‘Toulon’ turns out to be merely a brave but foolhardy gesture. To inspire courage in a faltering battalion, he picks up a fallen standard and, shouting ‘Hurrah’, advances into a hail of bullets. That earlier, inner voice of warning proves correct: he is wounded and almost left for dead on the battlefield. It is here that his attitude to Napoleon undergoes a radical change. Yet his idolization of Napoleon had already been under stress once hostilities had begun. After the defeat of the Austrian army at Ulm Andrey is torn between veneration for his hero and national military pride: ‘He feared the genius of Napoleon, which might prove stronger than all the bravery of the Russian forces, and at the same time he could not countenance the humiliation of his hero’ (I, 2, 3). On a later occasion he recalls Napoleon’s words threatening the Russians with the fate which befell the Austrian army at Ulm: ‘and those words aroused in him in equal measure - amazement at his brilliant hero, a feeling of injured pride and the hope for glory’ (I, 2, 13).
Andrey’s loss of hope for military glory goes hand in hand with loss of admiration for Napoleon. As he lies wounded on the battlefield he is approached by French officers, among whom is Napoleon himself: ‘He knew that this was Napoleon, his hero, but at that moment Napoleon seemed to him such a small, insignificant man in comparison to what was now going on between his soul and this lofty endless sky, with clouds racing across it’ (I, 3, 19). He is mute when Napoleon addresses him:
All the interests which occupied Napoleon seemed so insignificant to him at that moment, and with this petty vanity and joy at victory, his hero himself seemed so petty, compared with that lofty, just and virtuous sky, which he saw and understood, that he could not reply to him.
Looking into Napoleon’s eyes, Andrey thinks of the insignificance of greatness; the insignificance of life and death.
The end of Book One seeks to return us to the world of peace, with Prince Andrey lying on the battle field, but now reconciled to the quiet family life, he had earlier found so irksome – a world which had been shattered by Napoleon and war:
He was imagining the quiet, peaceful family happiness at Bald Hills. He was already enjoying this happiness, when little Napoleon suddenly appeared with his limited, apathetic glance, happy in the misfortunes of others, and doubts and torments began, and only the sky promised tranquillity (I, 3, 19).
A parallel development occurs in Pierre’s attitude to Napoleon. At Anna Scherer’s soirée, he had told his friend that if the struggle with Napoleon were a war for freedom, and not to aid Austria and Britain against the greatest man on earth, he would enlist (I, 1, 5). Ambivalence is already there in this statement, and much later, after the betrothal of Andrey and Natasha, Pierre undergoes another change in his life. He is less enthusiastic about his Masonic involvement, and seems to regret the ideas that he had seven years ago, when he returned from Europe: ‘Was it not he who with all his soul wished - now to bring about a republic in Russia and himself - now to be Napoleon - now a philosopher –
now a tactician, the vanquisher of Napoleon?’ (II, 5, 1).
The aim of establishing a republic in Russia must wait until the end, when Pierre becomes involved in the Decembrist movement. As yet, he has already passed through the phase of wanting to be Napoleon; he is still toying with philosophical ideas, but the prospect of being Napoleon’s vanquisher is now opening up to him. Yet how is he to achieve this? He is constrained from enlisting in a ‘war for freedom’, having taken an oath to a Masonic movement which preaches eternal peace. Nevertheless, it is this same Masonic movement which now provides him with a justification for the elimination of ‘the greatest man on earth’. Through a cabalistic equation of letters and numbers Pierre comes to the conclusion that Napoleon is the ‘Beast of the Apocalypse’, whose number is 666, that the year 1812 marks the limit of the Beast’s power, and that L’ Russe Bezuhof is destined to play a part in this (III, 1, 19). His reasoning is vague and unconvincing, and the attempt to implement his mission suffers from similar defects – as he wanders the streets of Moscow he is arrested by French soldiers as a suspected arsonist.
Thus, from their different positions, each of Tolstoy’s heroes, Andrey the man of war, Pierre the man of peace, starts with admiration for Napoleon, but ends in complete disillusionment with his idol. It seems perverse that the man of war merely becomes indifferent to Napoleon; the man of peace seeks to kill him. Ideologically, the author himself is in the latter position – but only ideologically.
Despite Tolstoy’s character assassination of Napoleon the positive message of his novel is love – an emotion, at an obvious level, associated with peace: love not war. Yet war, confronting its combatants with death, raises ultimate, metaphysical questions, and similar questions can also confront those who represent the values of peace in the novel. After the death of Prince Andrey, Natasha brooding on the ‘death’ of her own life is resurrected through love:
She thought that her life was finished. But suddenly her love for her mother showed her that the essence of her life – love – was still alive in her. Love awoke, and life awoke (IV, 4, 3).
Nevertheless, love can be a far-reaching concept; it is not only eros but agape. When in St Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians (Ch.13, v.13), he proclaims the greatest of virtues to be charity, (‘And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity’) it is indeed ‘love’ he has in mind, as is made clear in its Russian translation lyubov’. Nevertheless ‘love’ can motivate men to war; the Russian State as embodied in the figurehead and personality of emperor Alexander I is an object of love for Nikolay Rostov. Physically the emperor is captivating, and when he smiles, Nikolay himself wants to smile: ‘And he felt an even stronger surge of love for his sovereign. He wanted somehow to express his love for his sovereign. He knew that this was impossible and he wanted to cry [….] “Only to die, to die for him!”, thought Rostov’ (I, 3, 8). Among the emperor’s suite he sees Prince Andrey, with whom he has just quarrelled, but the love he now feels for the emperor induces a more general feeling of love: ‘“At a moment of such a feeling of love, of ecstasy, of selflessness, what do our quarrels and offences matter?! I love everybody, forgive everybody now”, Rostov thought’ (I, 3, 8).
Yet Prince Andrey, the man whom Nikolay is prepared to love and forgive, at this stage in his life, can only feel love for martial glory, and the desire to be loved in turn for military fame. As he dreams of his ‘Toulon’ and of ultimately replacing Kutuzov, he also muses:
But if I want this, want fame, want to be well known to people, want them to love me, I am not to blame that I want this, and that it is only this that I want, that I live for this alone. Yes, for this alone! I will never tell anyone this, but, Good Lord! What am I to do, if I love nothing other than fame, and the love of people. Death, wounds, the loss of my family, there’s nothing I fear, and however dear, however lovable many people are for me – my father, my sister, my wife – people most dear to me, yet, however terrible and unnatural it seems, I would immediately give them all up for a moment of fame, of triumph over people, for the love of people, whom I do not know and will not know….(I, 3, 12).
Such a statement helps to explain his soldier’s attitude to erotic love, his coldness towards his wife; for as he explains to Pierre at Anna Scherer’s soirée, he regards a wife as an encumbrance to ambition.
After his wounding at Austerlitz and the indifference he felt on coming face to face with his military hero, Napoleon, Andrey’s views change, but they are still self-centred. He tells Pierre that now his philosophy is to live for himself, avoiding the two evils of regret and illness. To Pierre’s objection that there is a need to love one’s neighbour, Andrey retorts with contorted logic:
I used to live for fame. (But what then is fame? It is this same love for others, the desire to do something for them, the desire for their praise.). So, I lived for others, and not nearly, but entirely, ruined my own life, and I have become less troubled since I started to live just for myself (II, 2, 11).
It takes another and more serious wounding to overcome Andrey’s Napoleonic ego, which equates personal ambition with love for others (a contorted logic also advanced by Dostoevsky’s ‘Napoleonic’ Raskolnikov) and replace it with more genuine love for his fellow human beings. The less complicated military personality of Nikolay had reached this stage of forgiveness and love for others without the trauma suffered by Andrey. Nevertheless, forgiveness and love do come to Andrey at the end. As he lies dying he thinks: ‘How many people I have hated in my life’. He regrets his treatment of Natasha, and recalling his forgiveness of Anatole Kuragin, who lay a fellow cripple in the surgical tent, he feels a certain pleasure:
To love one’s neighbours to love one’s enemies. Love everything – love God in all his manifestations. One can love a dear person with human love, but an enemy one can only love with God’s love. And it is from this that I experienced such joy, when I felt that I loved that man (III, 3, 32).
For Pierre, the hero of the novel’s other strand, love for his fellow human beings does not come at such a price; it is almost a given. His attempts to free his peasants, his adherence to the Masonic brotherhood, his arguments with Prince Andrey – all reveal this as a constant thread in his thinking.
The sky and the stars form the symbols of moral epiphany for other characters in the novel. We see this symbolic role even at the level of the common Russian soldiers, who show compassion towards their French prisoners:
‘They are also people’, one of them said, as he wrapped his greatcoat round him. ‘Even wormwood grows on its own root’.
‘Ooh, Lord, Lord! How starry the sky is, a terrific number! Its going to be frosty…’ Everything fell quiet.
The stars, as though knowing, that now no one would see them, were at play in the black sky. Now flaring up, now going out, now quivering, they were busily whispering among themselves about something joyful, but mysterious
(IV, 4, 9).
The novel presents us with three levels of epiphany, effected through the symbolism of the sky and the stars. For the common Russian soldier, love for his fellow man is instinctive; he is aware of the stars, but the play of their mysterious epiphany is not registered at a conscious level. The wounded Andrey is perforce made aware of the significance of the sky and the stars. It is an epiphany of something higher than himself, something above the petty concerns of those around him. Nevertheless it is something outside himself. Whereas for Pierre in captivity, the experience is much deeper; it is a numinous presence actually within him: ‘And all that is mine, and all that is within me, and all that is me!’ (IV, 2, 14).
Carnal love, however, is a different matter. Tolstoy seems to wish to suggest that it is the vice of a Frenchified society. Captain Ramballe, who believes that Pierre has saved his life and therefore must be French, tells him about his life and concludes:
‘Mais tout ça ce n’est que la mise en scene de la vie, le fond c’est l’amour. L’amour! N’est ce pas, m-r Pierre? he said, becoming animated. ‘Another glass’ (III, 3, 29).
In the strand representing peace-time society love is merely a cynical means to greater wealth and social prestige. Prince Vasiliy adroitly engineers the marriage of his daughter, Hélène, to Pierre, once he realizes that this young outsider has now come into wealth and a title. The results are disastrous; love, for Hélène, is a series of escapades either with young, or more elderly, well-connected Lotharios. Such cynicism extends to the Court itself: there is an attempt to buy Pierre off with the meaningless title of ‘chamberlain’ Boris Drubetskoy is another ‘outsider’, who, pushed by his mother, manages to climb in society, not only through the army, but also through a coldly calculated marriage to Julie Karagina. The elderly Prince Bolonsky, in threatening to marry the French companion, uses love as a ‘war game’ against his daughter.
As children and adolescents Boris’ attachment had been to Natasha. His friend Nikolay was apparently destined to marry another ‘outsider’, Sonya. One of the most suggestively erotic moments in the novel occurs at Christmas time, when Nikolay is home from the army and the young people of the Rostov household dress up as mummers to visit their neighbours. This section of the Christmas period opens on a note of explicit sexual frustration. Natasha is restive and querulous. When asked what she wants, she tells her mother that she wants him, she wants Andrey: ‘I want him…Immediately, I want him this very minute’ (II, 4, 9). Dressing up as mummers relaxes tension, and when at the Melyukovs there is talk of fortune telling, by going alone to a bathhouse or a barn, Sonya insists she will try it. Nikolay leaves the house by a different porch and catches up with her:
He thrust his arms under the fur cloak covering her head, embraced her, pressed her to him, and kissed her on the lips, above which were moustaches, smelling of burned cork. Sonya kissed him in the very middle of his lips, and freeing her little hands, grasped him from both sides by the cheeks.
‘Sonya!’…‘Nicolas!’.. was all they said. They ran to the barn and returned back each from their separate porches (II, 4, 11).
Though restrained, this scene is highly suggestive, but there is another level of innuendo here. As mummers the two participants are cross-dressed: Nikolay as an old lady in a farthingale; Sonya as a Circassian with burnt cork ‘moustaches’. It is seeing Sonya in this male attire which excites Nikolay’s passion: ‘It seemed to him that now only for the first time, had he fully recognized her, thanks to these cork moustaches.’  Tolstoy underlines the theme of inversion in an image worthy of Gogol: on the way to the barn the stars are not above, but down below. The moon is very bright: ‘The light was so strong and there were so many stars on the snow, that one did not want to look at the sky; one did not notice the real stars. The sky was black and boring, the earth was full of gaiety’. What is Tolstoy here suggesting - through sexual reversal in love, and image inversion of sky and earth? May be little more than the insubstantiality of false personae in erotic love, and that ‘earthiness’ has replaced those higher moral values of stars and sky experienced by Andrey and Pierre: false stars may be taken for the real thing. Nevertheless the homoerotic overtones of this passage cannot be denied.
MARRIAGE AND FRUSTRATIONS
Nikolay finds his higher values in love through his marriage to Princess Marya, with her faith-inspired, religious outlook. Caring so long for her father, she was in danger of becoming an old maid, yet it is Sonya who ends up as such, and her continued presence in the Rostov’s house seems a reproach to Marya, even taxing her own selfless love. Natasha calls Sonya ‘a barren flower’ (pustotsvet) (Epilogue, 1, 8), thus marking out an important element in the Tolstoyan concept of love – love is for engendering children, it is for families. As a young girl Sonya had been distraught at the idea that Nikolay might marry Julie Karagina, but on being comforted and reassured by Natasha, she reveals a kittenish side:
Sonya raised herself up slightly, and the little kitten came to life, its eyes shone, and it was ready, so it seemed, at any moment to give a wave of its tail, spring on to its soft paws and begin playing again with the ball of wool, as it should do (I, 1, 17}
As a mature woman at the end of the novel, she is revealed as a fully domesticated cat, accepting the defining epithet of ‘a barren flower’:
In reality, it seemed that Sonya did not find her position irksome, and had completely come to terms with her designation as a barren flower. It seemed that she cherished , not so much the people, as the whole family. Like a cat she was attached not to people but to the home (Epilogue, 1, 8).
Yet all is not quite what it seems. The next chapter proclaims that the marriage of Nikolay and Princess Marya is basically so harmonious: ‘that even Sonya and the old countess, who from jealousy wished for dissension between them, could find no excuse for reproach’; it then admits: ‘but there were moments of hostility between them’. (Epilogue, 1, 9). Sonya is still a contentious element in their relationship, and she is always the first pretext for annoyance chosen by Marya. In Russian there is an expression for people falling out with one another: ‘a black cat has run between them’. It seems significant that Nikolay alludes to this saying in referring to dissension between him and his wife: ‘In your absence and when, like this, we have some cat or other running between us, it is as though I am lost and cannot do anything’. The vagueness of the formulation ‘some cat or other’ (kakaya-to koshka) in fact suggests something more precise; he is aware of the true cause of his wife’s dissatisfaction. The role of the domesticated ‘cat’ is perhaps not quite the cuddly one suggested in the previous chapter.
Even Natasha, we are told, is at times jealous of Sonya, although her chief concern is now her children, (Epilogue, 1, 10) and she only really values the company of those to whom she can show her baby’s nappy, when its stain has changed from green to a more reassuring yellow. As for her husband she demands that every minute of his life belong to her and the family. She reads Pierre’s letters [Epilogue, 1, 11), and grants him ‘leave’ to go to St Petersburg for four weeks. She herself has let herself go, not caring about her dress, her hair, or the carelessness of her speech.
Earlier Tolstoy had contrasted the way in which ‘clever’ women listen to a man with that of ‘real women endowed with the ability to take in and absorb into themselves [vsasyvan’ya v sebya] all the best features a man may exhibit’ (IV, 4, 17). The image of absorption – literally ‘sucking in’ (vsasyvanie) - is doubly relevant for Natasha’s absorption of one of her husband’s ideas: his championship of Rousseau’s views on the benefits of breast feeding (Epilogue, 1, 10). In her lack of intellectual interests, her reduction to the role of ‘brood mare’, Natasha seems to embody Rousseau’s own image of the perfect woman, represented in his long-standing relationship with Thérèse. In Tolstoy’s eyes, Natasha may be a ‘real woman’, but her personality is much reduced from that of the vivacious, emotional but intelligent Natasha of the novel’s preceding sections. The first part of the Epilogue introduces the reader to a feminine, nursery-dominated world, and with the elimination of war, the values of peace are more than ever centred on the family – the bringing up of a new generation to replace their fallen fathers.
LOVE OF THE PEOPLE
In chapter 10 of part one of the Epilogue Tolstoy repeatedly drives home his message that the aim of marriage is the family. If the family is the natural outcome of ‘love’ for his heroines - his heroes, at least, are allowed loftier, if more abstract, notions of love. Most practical of all is Nikolay; his earlier patriotic love for the emperor in wartime, has in peace time found another nationalistic channel – a love for the Russian people (narod), but this is a love which goes hand in hand with the efficient running of the estate: ‘But with all the strength of his soul he loved this Russian folk of ours and its way of life, and because of this alone he understood and adopted the only way and method of farming which brought good results.’ (Epilogue 1, 7). Significantly his wife is jealous of this love, in which she cannot participate, or even understand.
A new appreciation of love also comes to Pierre through contact with the Russian common people, as represented in the figure of Karataev. An important revelation comes to Pierre in a dream:
‘To love life, to love God. The most difficult and most blessed thing of all to love this life in its sufferings, in the innocence of its sufferings’.
‘Karataev!’ Pierre suddenly remembered (IV, 3,15).
However, in the waking world his consciousness of the suffering and death of Karataev himself is blotted out by a more carnal image of love: ‘But at that very same moment there came to his mind, God knows from where, the memory of a summer evening spent with a Polish beauty on the balcony of his house in Kiev’.
Later, as we have seen, Pierre claims that there was a greater presence of God in Karataev, than in the ‘Great Architect’ of the Masons (IV, 4, 12), and comparing his own earlier judgements of people and things with his present position, he is aware of what he calls - ‘foolishness’:
Pierre’s foolishness consisted in the fact that, as previously, in order to love people, he did not look for personal reasons, which he called merits, but his heart overflowed with love, and in loving people without reason, he found undoubted reasons, for their being worthy of love’ (IV, 4, 19).
This is a fine ideal, but how is one to reconcile this with the hatred and bloodshed, which would inevitably flow from Pierre’s leading role in the putative Decembrist uprising against the monarch? On his return from conspiratorial business in St Petersburg, Natasha asks a pertinent question: would Karataev approve of him now? Pierre replies:
‘He would not have understood, but perhaps, yes’
‘I love you terribly!’ Natasha suddenly said, ‘Terribly, terribly!’
‘No, he would not have approved’ Pierre said, having thought a little. ‘What he would have approved is our family life. He so wanted to see good sense in everything, happiness and calm, and I would proudly show him us’ (Epilogue I, 16).
Just as earlier, in Pierre’s dream, the higher love associated with Karataev is blotted out by an image of more carnal love – the Polish beauty, so here we see its corollary: the painful truth that the higher love of Karataev is not consonant with Pierre’s conspiratorial activities can only be answered by pointing to a more down to earth love – love in the family.
 Nevertheless, the title only came to Tolstoy quite late, and was inspired by the title of a work by Proudhon.
 In Book IV, part 1, chapter 4, Tolstoy injects a personal note into Nikolay Rostov’s sense of relief at leaving the war zone: ‘Only he who has experienced this, that is, has spent several months without respite in the atmosphere of military-combat life, can understand the pleasure which Nikolay felt, when he managed to get out from that region, which the troops had reached with their foraging, provision carts and field hospitals….’
 Troyat, pp.813-4. His biographer Aylmer Maude says that Tolstoy wept at the fall of Port Arthur. See: Maude, Life, II, 440. In 1863 he had also thought of joining the army again to crush the Polish insurrection. Ibid. II, 7.
 On the death of Alexander I, on 18th. December 1825, his brother Constantine was next in line for the throne, but had already abdicated his right to succeed. Next in line was Nicholas, a martinet, hated in the army. The so- called ‘Decembrists’ saw the hiatus in succession as their chance for change, and on December 26th two thousand soldiers of the Guard were mustered on the square outside the Council of State. Nicholas put down the rebellion, hanging five of its leaders and sending others to Siberia.
 See section 12 of Sevastopol’ v mae (Sebastopol in May). Greenwood quotes Eykhenbaum: ‘War and Peace existed because its war background was the Crimean campaign and its family background the life at Yasnaya Polyana.’ Greenwood, p.17.
 ‘In “Sevastopol in May,” Tolstoy twice views the effects of war through the eyes of children’. William W. Rowe, Leo Tolstoy, Twayne, Boston, 1986, p.35.
 Tolstoy here seems to be referring back to Napoleon’s own disparagement of medicine in relation to his cold, and his view that the body can cure itself. (III, 2, 29)
 The hunt itself can provoke threatening behaviour as we see in the behaviour of the huntsman Danilo (II, 4, 4 ; 6) and ‘uncle’ (dyadyushka) (II, 4, 6). Hunting imagery also comes into play when Pierre witnesses the execution of prisoners by the French (IV, 1, 11).
 John Bayley comments on this other ‘kind of hierarchy in military circles’. Bayley, pp. 168-9.
 The image is reminiscent of Gogol (e.g in Chapter 11 of Part I of Dead Souls).
 Troyat, p.128
 Ibid. p.445
 Tolstoy himself underwent a not dissimilar experience, when apparently facing death from mauling be a bear he records that he sought inspiration in: ‘a patch of blue sky gleaming between purple clouds roughly piled on one another, and I thought how lovely it was up there!’ Quoted, Maude, Life II, 69. Tolstoy also talks of a feeling, akin to ecstasy when he looked at a starry sky, on leaving a fuggy railway carriage. Ibid. II, 15
 Maude points to similar passages in The Cossacks and The Raid. See: Maude, I, 88.
 ‘Tolstoy mistakenly allows him [Pierre] to see it in 1811!’ Christian, p. 133.
 In chapter 11 of Part I of Gogol’s Dead Souls, many of the townsfolk trying to elucidate the significance of Chichikov ‘...infected by the mysticism, which, as is well known, was then the height of fashion, saw some sort of meaning in every letter from which the word Napoleon was composed; many even discovered in it apocalyptic numerals.’
 Anthony Briggs in his introduction to his translation of the novel puts it well: ‘The dualism of Tolstoy’s own personality is reflected in Andrey and Pierre – intellect versus spirit, discipline versus laxity, stiff pride versus spontaneity and generosity’. Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace: Translation by Anthony Briggs With an Afterword by Orlando Figes, Penguin Classics, London, 2005, p.xviii
 Cf. the experience of Dostoevsky’s Alesha in Part III, Book 7, Chapter 7 of The Brothers Karamazov.
 ‘But all that is merely the stage setting for life, the background is love. Love! Isn’t that so m-r Pierre?’
 There are echoes here of the treatment of Pushkin by the court, as a sop to the behaviour of his wife.
 The sexual theme of cross-dressing was originally present in Natalya’ s attraction for Prince Andrey; ‘In one early draft of their first meeting at Otradnoe Prince Andrew is virtually swept off his feet by Natasha. He is infatuated by the sight and sound of the little girl dressed up as a man (a detail not included in the end)’. Christian, p. 108. Tolstoy’s own diary entry of 29 November 1851 is a frank confession of homosexual attraction, and was used by his wife as an explanation for his relationship with Chertkov. Troyat, pp. 904, 907. Maude relates the story of how a cross-dressed nun, Marya Gerasimovna, became the godmother of Tolstoy’s sister, and was an habituée of the household. Maude, life, I, 10. It is possible that she served as the prototype for Ivanushka, the woman pilgrim in man’s clothes (Ibid.422).
 See: Richard Peace, ‘The Mirror World of Gogol’s Early Stories’, Nikolay Gogol: Text and Context (eds Jane Grayson and Faith Wigzell, Macmillan, Basingstoke and London, 1989, pp.19-33.
 Chernaya koshka probezhala mezhdu nimi.
 Thérèse le Vasseur – the uneducated servant girl Rousseau chose as his mistress, and who bore him several children.
 Cf. the preoccupations of Levin in Anna Karenina.