Friday, November 5, 2010

Collage 234

We are now in Volume II, Part Two, Chapter X. Pierre has been received into the brotherhood of Masons and his social consciousness is heightened. It is 1806. The serfs were freed in 1861, so he was ahead of his time. Prior to his arrival at his estate in the province of Kiev, he had sent a letter to his stewards about changes he intended to make. Upon his arrival, he then met with them.

Tolstoy was an astute social critic, and here's how he describes the reaction to the proposed changes:

"Some of the stewards (there were half-literate managers among them) listened fearfully, taking what he said to imply that the young count was displeased with their stewardship and their concealing of money; others, after the first fright, were amused by Pierre's list and the new words they had never heard before; a third group took pleasure in hearing how the master spoke; a fourth group, the most intelligent, the head steward among them, understood from his speech how they ought to treat a master in order to achieve their own aims."

Tolstoy is tough on everyone! When I first read this book 30 years ago, I remember thinking that he was anti-aristocracy and pro-peasant. This time around, it seems that he is a tough critic -- no one escapes his reach. Other than Natasha. She seems to be the only character that he does not bash or call out in some way. -- Lola

Lynn Waskelis
from page 475-476 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
made 9/17/10
page 377-378 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

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