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Tolstoy On WarNarrative Art and Historical Truth in “War and Peace”$
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Rick McPeak and Donna Tussing Orwin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448980

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448980.001.0001

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Tolstoy on War, Russia, and Empire

Tolstoy on War, Russia, and Empire

Chapter:
(p.12) 1 Tolstoy on War, Russia, and Empire
Source:
Tolstoy On War
Author(s):

Dominic Lieven

Publisher:
Cornell University Press
DOI:10.7591/cornell/9780801448980.003.0002

This chapter discusses the enormous influence of War and Peace, which is attributed to its intrinsic virtues—especially its psychological portrait of Russian soldiers—as well as to its myth-making power. As national myth, the novel told Russian readers what they were already primed to hear and still hear now in the present day. The chapter argues that the novel presents a distorted history that makes subsequent history by contributing to the self-understanding of future generations of Russians through Leo Tolstoy's exaggeration of some parts of events due to his Russian patriotic spirit and populist bias. Viewing these myths and memories in a comparative perspective not only illustrates the uniqueness of some aspects of how Russia remembered the Napoleonic era but also sheds light on Russian views about war, nation, and empire.

Keywords:   War and Peace, Leo Tolstoy, Russian soldiers, myth, Napoleonic era, nation, empire, war

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