This scene follows the Russian retreat from Borodino. Kutozov is talking with his field marshalls. "Kutozov's face was growing more and more preoccupied and sad. From all these conversations, Kutuzov saw one thing: the defense of Moscow was in no way physically possible..."
Blood, smoke, destruction of families... -- Lola
from page 279-280, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 826-828
Now we get a discussion of the difference between the theoretical plans of war and the actual decision-making that occurs on the battlefield.
The activity of a commander does not have the slightest resemblance to the activity we imagine to ourselves, sitting at ease in our study analyzing some campaign on a map with a known number of troops... a commander in chief always finds himself in the middle of a shifting series of events...
from page 277-278, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 825-826
Matt Kish is our hero. If it weren't for Matt, this project would not exist. Lucy found his blog One Drawing for Every Page of Moby Dick and told me about it. I found it so inspiring, so delightful, that I decided to start our project!. His work was the spark that set us in motion. We are so indebted to Matt! We hope to meet in person at our opening this winter at New School in New York City. Matt, you rock! -- Lola
Well, here it is. My contribution to The War and Peace Project. I didn't want my piece to be wholly unrelated to the novel, but having never read it I was in a bit of a bind. Fortunately, conversations with a friend and some online sleuthing of pages 823 to 825 of the Pevear and Volokhonsky translation revealed to me the French army, battered, bleeding and hiding in Moscow. I was rather taken with that image of a great beast laid low, licking its wounds, attempting nothing... impotent and enraged. I did, selfishly perhaps, want to reference Moby Dick as well, and oddly this passage offered the perfect opportunity. After that, it came together almost by itself. It is simpler, more illustration-oriented, and perhaps more literal than the preceeding images, but I do hope you like it. -- Matt
from page 275-276, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 823-825
In these pages Tolstoy is pondering the cause and effect of historical events. He argues that history is wrong in attributing cause of historic human events to a handful of leaders. Instead, he says, the events cause the leaders to emerge.
"The sum of individual human wills produced the revolution and Napoleon, and only the sum of those wills endured them and then destroyed them."
from page 273-274, volume 2 of original text
collage, ink, staples
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 822-823
Wild to think that part of Team Tolstoy has been over in Russia the past several days, communing with Leo himself at the Tolstoy Estate. It's been fascinating to find out what's been going on with Lola, Trish and Christiane via the blog- what they've seen, the workshops they taught, the people they turned on to collaging with literature. I realize again that this somewhat quirky art project (no offense meant - quirky is good!) is bigger than the individual artists. The baton passes, and the effort begins anew! - Adrienne
from page 271-272, volume 2 of original text
collage, oil crayon, ink
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 819-822
from page 269-270, volume 2 of original text
collage, graphite, ink
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 818
Section XXXIX of Volume III opens with an odd calm that adds to the horror of Tolstoy's description of fields in the aftermath of battle:
"Several tens of thousands of men lay dead in various positions and uniforms in the fields and meadows that belonged to the Davydov family and to crown peasants, on fields and meadows where for hundreds of years peasants of the villages of Borodino, Gorki, Shevardino, and Semyonovskoe had at the same time gathered crops and pastured cattle. At the dressing stations, the grass and soil were soaked with blood over the space of three acres.
"...Small clouds gathered and rain began to sprinkle on the dead, the wounded, the frightened, and on the exhuasted, and on the doubtful men. It was as if it were saying: 'Enough, enough, men. Stop now ...Come to your senses. What are you doing?'
"Exhausted men on both sides, without food and rest, began alike to doubt whether they had to go on exterminating each other, hesitation was seen on all faces, and in every soul alike the question arose: 'Why, for whom, should I kill and be killed?'"
Perhaps every soldier has asked him or herself this question. I hope so. It seems to me to be a question that leads toward peace.
from page 267-268, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 817
In this passage of War and Peace, Napoleon is sickened by the sight of the battlefield, strewn with wounded men and corpses. "Yellow, bloated, heavy, with dull eyes, a red nose, and a hoarse voice, he sat on a camp chair, involuntarily listening to the sounds of gunfire and not raising his eyes. With sickly anguish he awaited the end of this action, of which he considered himself the cause, but which he was unable to stop.
"...At that moment he wanted for himself neither Moscow, nor victory, nor glory. (What more glory did he need?)"
With a heavy heart, Napoleon writes a letter in which he yearns for the war and the war's outcome the way he had imagined them, writing that, "It was for the great cause, the end of uncertainties and the beginning of security. A new horizon, new works would unfold, all filled with well-being and the prosperity of all. "...Europe would soon have become truly one people," he writes, "...Paris would have been the capital of the world and the French the envy of nations!"
For this collage, I ripped apart a well-known map of Paris, severing the streets and railway lines, interrupting the civilized order of the city. Other materials include torn hand-scribbled pencil scrawls, musical scores and bits of wallpaper.
Yesterday we taught a master class in collage at Yasnaya Polyana in Tula, Russia! Lola was both poised and on fire in front of three television crews. It was great to watch over thirty participants rip pages from J.D. Salinger, Kerouac, world poetry, Tolstoy and Somerset Maughm to make their own collages. One design student burned the edges of her paper before she glued it down; two friends made a celebration of childhood that included curlicues that bounced and a little rolled tissue paper candy; and we were honored that three folk artists from YP who had taught us the traditional art of "floweristika"participated.
We're teaching a second master class today and we'll be posting images on Facebook when we can; Internet access is limited. But check in when you can! --Trish
In this collage, the image of the hand made me think of both the common soldier and of the Emperor Napoleon, who is so often portrayed with his hand tucked into his coat. It is odd and fascinating to me that this image, which comes from a New York TimesMagazine fashion ad for wool overcoats, can take on a darker meaning when combined with other images. That's what I love about collage.
from page 265-266, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 875
This is a horrifying scene. Prince Andrei has been severely injured during the battle. The doctors are performing "surgery". No drugs, no pain medication. "Two doctors -- one pale and trembling -- were silently doing something to the other man's leg, which was red. Having finished with the Tartar, over whom an overcoat was thrown, the doctor in spectacles, wiping his hands, came up to Prince Andrei." You an practically smell the fear and pain. A few sentences later, Prince Andrei sees Anatole Kuragin (who had seduced his finance Natasha) who had just had his leg amputated. "The wounded man was shown his cut-off leg in a boot caked with blood!"
Today we taught our first "Master Class" in collaborative collage-making. I was told just before the class began that they were expecting a TV crew. A few minutes later, I was told that in fact there were 3 TV crews waiting outside and a print journalist, and would I be willing to be interviewed!? Talk about pressure under fire! Within moments I was in front of them with a beautiful interpreter named Ina. Maybe it was better that I was informed at the last minute or I would have been way too nervous. After the interviews, they opened the doors and 40 people flooded into the room and eagerly took their places. It was an amazing experience. They loved it, and we loved them. --Lola
from page 263-264, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 813-814
Today we had a private tour of the Tolstoy Estate. It was absolutely thrilling to walk through the twin gate towers of the estate, and to walk along the double rows of birch trees which grace the entrance. We wore "topochki" over our shoes, i.e. floor protectors fashioned out of leather. The main house remains as it was the day that he "left" -- took the train -- in 1910. In fact, we were told that there is still unopened mail on his desk. We walked through the grounds and sat on a birch bench which is replaced every year but is a copy of where Leo himself used to sit.
We saw his grave, decorated with fresh flowers that are traditionally left by wedding parties. It was beautiful with the light filtering through the lime trees. Christiane had the impression that something or somebody was going to levitate. It was truly a spiritual moment.
Tomorrow we will teach our first workshop and will visit the church in the next village which the Tolsoys attended for generations. There is also an old graveyard -- maybe we'll do some levitation there! -- Lola
from page 261-262, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 811-813
"Can this be death?" thought Prince Andrei, gazing with completely new, envious eyes at the grass, at the wormwood, and at the little stream of smoke curling up from the spinning black ball. "I can't, I don't want to die, I love life, I love this grass, the earth, the air..." He was thinking all that and at the same time remembered that he was being looked at.
"Shame on you officer!" he said to the adjutant. "What an..." He did not finish. At one and the same time there was the sound of an explosion, a whistling of splinters as if from a shattered window, a choking smell of powder-- and Prince Andrei hurtled sideways and, raising his arm, fell on his chest.
Several officers ran to him. From the right side of his stomach a large stain of blood was spreading onto the grass.
- pp. 810-11 in P/V
from page 259-260, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation pages 810-811
The image of Napoleon is from the original book. The images along the right edge are from a World War II history book. It is an ugly scene.
"With each new blow, the chances of survival for those who had not yet been killed grew less and less."
And on a more personal note, "Traveling Team Tolstoy" is headed to Russia today! Trish Crapo, Christiane Carney Johnson, Mark Natale and I are going to spend time at Yasnaya Polyana in Tula, Russia, preparing for our show next summer. It is so amazing to read the book and have mention of Tula Road -- we will actually be there! -- Lola
from page 257-258, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 808-810
And by some indefinable, mysterious connection, which maintains the same mood through an entire army, which is known as the spirit of the army, and constitutes the central nerve of war, Kutuzov's words, his order to fight the next day, were conveyed simultaneously to all ends of the army.
It was far from the same words, the same order that passed through the last links of that chain. There was even no resemblance between the stories that were passed on from man to man at different ends of the army and what Kutuzov had said; but the sense of his words communicated itself everywhere, because what Kutuzov had said came not from clever considerations, but from the feeling that was in the soul of the commander in chief, just as it was in the soul of every Russian man. --p. 808 in P/V
from page 255-256, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 807-808
I re-read this passage a few times, trying to remember why I wrote the numbers "11-2". The only thing I can come up with is that at 11am General Kutuzov received news that fleches occupied by the French had been re-taken and that Prince Bagration had been wounded. A few paragraphs later, at 2pm, the French attacks ceased. Why I would think those numbers are interesting/meaningful is a mystery. -- Lola
from page 254-254, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 805-807
In the slowly dispersing powder smoke over the whole space through which Napoleon was riding, horses and men lay in pools of blood, singly and in heaps. Never yet had Napoleon or any of his generals seen such horror, so many men killed on such a small space. The roar of guns, which for ten hours had never ceased to torment the ear, gave the spectacle a special significance (like the music in tableaux vivants.) Napoleon rode out to the height of Semyonovskoe and saw ranks of men in uniforms of a color his eyes were not accustomed to. These were Russians.
from page 251-252, Volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 803-805
We are in Volume III, Part Two, Chapter XXXIV. For the first time in his career, Napoleon is being defeated.
Napoleon was experiencing a painful feeling similar to that which is always experienced by a lucky gambler, who madly threw his money about, always won, and suddenly, precisely when he has calculated all the chances of the game, feels that the more he thinks over his move, the more certain he is to lose.
This arcs back to that painful scene where Nicolai Rostov loses much of the family fortune while playing cards with Dolokhov.
In this piece, I hand-wrote in India ink the names of several previous victorious Napoleonic battles -- Lodi and Marengo were a few of them. One of the many wonderful aspects of this project has been the opportunity to re-connect with Russian language which I fell in love with in college oh-so-many years ago. -- Lola
from page 249-250, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 802-803
Napoleon is getting his ass kicked by the Russians. It takes him all day to realize that. Finally in the afternoon:
"In the slowly dispersing powder smoke over the whole space through which Napoleon was riding, horses and men lay in pools of blood, singly and in heaps. Never yet had Napoleon or any of his generals seen such horror, so many men killed on such a small space... Napoleon rode out to the height of Semyonovskoe and saw ranks of men in uniforms of a color his eyes were not accustomed to. These were Russians."
from page 247-248, volume 2 of original text
collage, acrylic paint
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 800-802
'We walk on for a long time. Kropp has calmed himself; we understand, he saw red; out there every man gets like that sometime.
"What has Kantorek written to you?" Muller asks him.
He laughs. "We are the Iron Youth."
We all three smile bitterly, Kropp rails: he is glad that he can speak.
Yes, that's the way they think, these hundred thousand Kantoreks! Iron Youth!
Youth! We are none of us more than twenty years old. But young? That is long ago. We are old folk.'
-from p. 18 of All Quiet on the Western Front, by Erich Maria Remarque
There was a story published in today's Boston Globe about Team Tolstoy and our trip to Yasnaya Polyana. Read more here!
from page 245-246, volume 2 of original text
collage, cotton mesh
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 798-800
Pierre somehow survives as the officers and soldiers on the battery are killed, and suddenly realizes the horrors that surround him:
Pierre ran down. "No, now they'll stop it, now they'll be horrified at what they've done!" he thought, aimlessly following behind the crowds of stretchers moving off the battlefield. But the sun, veiled in smoke, was still high, and ahead, and especially to the left near Semyonovskoe, something seethed in the smoke, and the roar of gunfire, musketry and cannonades not only did not abate, but intensified to the point of despair, like a straining man crying out with his last strength.
from page 243-244, volume 2 of original text
collage, ink, mylar
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 797-798
This is a really crazy scene. Pierre is in the midst of the battle. He is largely clueless about what is going on, where he is. He witnesses a young officer being killed. "Suddenly something happened; the little officer said 'ah' and, curling up, sat on the ground like a bird shot down in flight." Those are such chilling words. Even so, Pierre has no clue what is happening. It is surreal.
I used some unusual materials here. When I was a young child, my grandparents came to visit us in rural Iowa. My grandmother loved crosswords. I was just learning to write and I would often fill in the blanks, thinking that she wouldn't notice. I kind of like that as a metaphor -- aren't we all just filling in the blanks, trying to make sense of the larger picture? Pierre is doing the same on the battlefield -- trying to make sense, trying to fit in.
Four of us will be traveling to Yasnaya Polyana next week. We finally got our visas yesterday. We will spend 5 days there, giving collaborative collage workshops and preparing for our show there next summer. It is beyond exciting, to anticipate spending time where Tolstoy was born, wrote War and Peace and Anna Karenina. He is also buried there. -- Lola
from page 241-242, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 795-797
We were thinking of fire and smoke, as the cannonballs flew.
For this image, I rescued a beautiful creamy white paper out of the studio trash. It was the backing for some mylar, and had these soft blue numbers and letters on it. Not very archival, but still I knew it would serve as a good counterpoint to some of the darker colors to which I am ultimately drawn. - Adrienne
from page 239-240, volume 2 of original text
collage, ink, mylar
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 793-795
'Having come up onto the barrow, Pierre sat down at the end of a trench that surrounded the battery and with an unconsciously joyful smile looked at what was happening around him. Now and then Pierre, with the same smile, got up and, trying not to bother the soldiers who were loading and rolling the guns, and who constantly ran past him with sacks and charges, strolled around the battery. The cannon of this battery fired steadily one after the other with a deafening roar and covered the whole area with powder smoke.' -p 793 in P/V
from page 237-238, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 792-793
Pierre has bumbled himself into the midst of battle.
"Pierre saw that there was a bridge ahead of him, and that on both sides of the bridge, and on the meadow, among those rows of mowed hay he had noticed the day before, soldiers were doing something in the smoke, but, despite the incessant shooting that was going on there, it never occurred to him that this was precisely the field of battle. He did not hear the sounds of bullets whistling on all sides... and for a long time did not see the dead and wounded, though many fell not far from him. With a smile that never left his face, he looked about him."
from page 235-236, volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 790-792
I love the incongruous images in the scenes on these pages. Tolstoy does such a wonderful job of showing us the beauty of the sunrise at the same time bringing the battle into focus as the mist of the early morning gives way to smoke of gunfire.
"Everywhere over this mist and smoke gleams of morning light flashed--on the water, on the dew, on the bayonets of the soldiers who crowded along the banks and in Borodino."
from page 233-234, Volume 2 of original text
collage, copper leaf, ink
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 789-790
"At half past five Napoleon was riding on horseback to the village of Shevardino.
It was beginning to grow light, the sky cleared, only one cloud lay in the east. The abandoned campfires were going out in the faint light of morning.
To the right a dense, solitary cannon shot rang out, raced by, and died away amidst the general silence. Several minutes passed. A second, a third shot rang out; the air shook; a fourth, a fifth rang out nearby and solemnly somewhere to the right.
The sound of the first shots still hung in the air when others rang out, more and more, merging and interrupting each other.
Napoleon and his suite rode up to the Shevardino redoubt and dismounted. The game had begun." -p.788 in P/V
Lynn Waskelis from page 231-232, volume 2 of original text collage, copper leaf, wax, ink made 4/29/11 Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 787-788
This is a very long passage where Tolstoy argues that military commanders really have no idea what is going on during battle.
"The soldiers of the French army went to kill Russian soldiers in the battle of Borodino not as the result of Napoleon's orders but by their own will. The whole army -- the French, the Italians, the Germans, the Poles, hungry, ragged and exhausted by the campaign -- on seeing the army had blocked their way to Moscow, felt that 'le vin est tire et qu'il fait le boire.' If Napoleon had now forbidden them to fight the Russians, they would have killed him and gone to fight the Russians, because it was necessary for them."
One way you could read this collage is one side represents events as they actually happened, and the other side represents historic interpretations. -- Lola
from page 227-228, Volume 2 of original text
collage, twine, acrylic paint, ink
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 784-785
Sometimes we get mixed up in the studio. Inevitably we lose a page of the original text which causes frantic casting about to locate it. One time I while Mark was photographing a stack of them I realized that I didn't use any Russian text at all -- which is one of our cardinal rules. Other times we somehow make two collages from the same page of original text. That's what happened here. Since I'm not sure which is the "real" collage #485, I'll post both! -- Lola
from page 225-226, volume 2 of original text
collage, ink, copper leaf
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 782-784
This passage is about the "battle plan" that wasn't, and never could be.
"This disposition, drawn up quite vaguely and confusedly -- if one allows oneself to consider Napoleon's instructions without religious awe or his genius -- contained four points, four instructions. Not one of these instructions was or could be carried out."
The four vertical black lines are Napoleon's instructions which were never carried out. The red? blood. -- Lola
from page 221-222, Volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 779-780
In this piece I used a poem entitled "The Little Harebell". I am not sure of it's origins. The book magically appeared in the studio like many of our materials. It has kind of a French feel. This passage describes Napoleon as he bathes. Tolstoy gives a rather unflattering description: "...snorting and grunting, he turned now his fat back, now his hairy, fat chest under the brush with which the valet was rubbing his body..." -- Lola
from page 219-220, Volume 2 of original text
Pevear/Volokhonsky translation page 777-779