Thursday, January 27, 2011

Collge 296

Here is a lovely passage: Natasha trying to find calm in the midst of her disappointment when Prince Andrei hasn't been to visit her for some time.

"After having tea, she went to the reception room, which she especially liked for its strong resonance, and began to sing her solfeggio (singing exercises). Having finished the first exercise, she stopped in the middle of the room and repeated a musical phrase which she especially liked. She listened joyfully (as if it was unexpected for her) to the loveliness with which these sounds, rippling, filled the whole emptiness of the room and slowly died away, and she suddenly felt cheerful. 'Why think much about it, things are good as it is,' she said to herself and began walking up and down the room, not simply stepping on the resounding parquet but beginning each step on the heel (she was wearing new shoes that she liked), then going onto the toe, and listening joyfully, as she had to the sound of her voice, to the rhythmic stamping of the heel and the creaking of the toe. Going past a mirror, she looked into it. 'Here I am!' the expression of her face seemed to say at the sight of her. 'And that's good. I don't need anybody.'

I find this passage so sensitive -- written by a man in the early 1800's! How could he capture the feelings and behavior of a young girl so beautifully? We know that Natasha is fragile, and that she is trying to be strong in the face of disappointment. Yet is there a seed of maturity? -- LOla

Lola Baltzell
from page 599-600 of original text
collage, ink
made 11/19/10
page 476-477 of Pevear/Volokhonsky translation

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