Sunday, October 17, 2010

Collage 215

A lot has happened recently. Prince Andrei has become a widow. Pierre has separated from Helene after the duel with Dolokhov. Most recently Nicolai Rostov has lost 47,000 rubles and has left the family home in disgrace to catch up his regiment in Poland.

We are now in Volume II, Part Two, Chapter I. Back to Pierre and his endless questioning. He is on a journey in a horse-drawn carriage at Torzhok posting station. The following struck me so much that I copied out this passage onto the back of the collage:

"Whatever he started thinking about, he came back to the same questions, which he could not resolve and could not stop asking himself. It was as if the main screw in his head, which held his whole life together, had become stripped. The screw would not go in, would not come out, but turned in the same groove without catching hold, and it was impossible to stop turning it."

I'm sure that this has been done -- I did a similar project on a very small scale in graduate school -- but wouldn't it be fun to give each character a mental health diagnosis? And assess their strengths, weaknesses, coping styles, etc? Of all the characters Tolstoy gives us most access to Pierre's inner world. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 437-438 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 8/27/10
page 437-439 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

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