Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Collage 168

Our friend Otto from Berlin writes: The Battle of Austerlitz begins. The word "fog" appears in this chapter too often to count. Smoke and confusion also put in appearances, as the battalions and regiments march through the morning fog, across hill and dale, not seeing the enemy, bumping into each other, not understanding their orders, cursing the "Germans" for not knowing their own terrain. (By "Germans" they mean German-speakers, in this case the
Austrians under Kaiser Franz II, the last Holy Roman Emperor. The closest thing to a German state that existed in 1805 was Prussia, which hadn't been drawn into the Napoleonic wars yet.)

This chapter again demonstrates Tolstoy's view of how historical events are shaped.

It is not so much the orders and dispositions issued by Napoleon, Alexander or Franz, or their generals and commanders, that influence the outcome of the battle as the countless unforeseen and unforeseeable small events that together add up to the outcome.

This collage attempts to suggest the fog and confusion that descends on the battlefield as soon as the fighting begins.

Otto Mayr
from page 343-344 of original text
collage, acrylic paint, burned paper
Made 8/21/10
Berlin, Germany

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