Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Collage 414

Pierre (and Tolstoy) go off on a numerology tangent: At the end of this chapter, Pierre discovers that if individual letters are given certain values, the words "L'Empereur Napoleon" add up to 666. Then he tries out various permutations of his own name and eventually finds what he hopes to find: namely that "L'Russe Besuhov" also add up to 666. This is obviously deeply significant, because according to the Book of Revelations, 666 is the mark of the beast. Pierre concludes that it is his role to assassinate Napoleon.

In the Pevear/Volokhonsky edition, this passage appears on pages 665 and 666. This cannot be a coincidence, and I assume that this episode also occurred on page 666 of Tolstoy's original manuscript. Further, it seems telling that the communists who published the 2-volume edition we are working with held no truck with this kind of numerology and made a point of keeping the episode safely away from page 666.

Naturally, I couldn't resist playing with the symbolism in my collage. -- Otto

Otto Mayr
from page 83-84, Volume 2 of original text
made May 2011
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 665-667

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