Sunday, July 17, 2011

Collage 467

I kept on going with the balloon imagery that I used in collage # 465. Pierre has finally decided to leave Moscow to join the battle at Mozhaisk.

"When my opponent has sixteen pieces and I have fourteen, I am only one-eighth weaker than he; but when I have traded thirteen pieces, he will be three times stronger than I." I am a terrible chess player and it goes without saying that I have no experience whatsoever in anything military, but I wanted to respond visually to this passage anyway.

Another passage describes Pierre's inner state: "a feeling of the need to undertake something and sacrifice something. He now experienced a pleasant sense of awareness that everything that constitutes people's happiness, the comforts of life, wealth, even life itself, is non-sense, which it is pleasant to throw away, in comparison with something... With what, Pierre could not account for to himself, nor did he try to clarify to himself for whom and for what he found it so particularly delightful to sacrifice everything. He was not concerned with what he wanted to sacrifice for, but the sacrificing itself constituted a new, joyful feeling for him."

I think that the whole point of this book is trying to define what Pierre is seeking. The spiritual quest. Everything else, historical and fictional, all 1200+ pages, is the scaffolding to explore this most compelling of all questions. What is the meaning of our lives? What truly provides happiness? I was drawn to study Russian as an undergraduate 30 years ago because I, too, wanted to understand all of this. -- Lola

Lola Baltzell
from page 189-190, Volume 2 of original text
collage, ink
made 4/8/11
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 752-754

No comments:

Post a Comment