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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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The Use of Historical Sources in War and Peace

The Use of Historical Sources in War and Peace

(p.26) 2 The Use of Historical Sources in War and Peace
Tolstoy On War

Dan Ungurianu

Cornell University Press

This chapter revisits the historical basis of War and Peace and outlines the scope of Leo Tolstoy's sources, his treatment of historical material, and its implications for the overall artistic system of the novel. It also examines the arguments of skeptics who question Tolstoy's historical accuracy. Most critics who address the problem of historical sources in War and Peace fall into two opposing camps: the skeptics who question almost every historical aspect of War and Peace, exposing what they see as Tolstoy's meager preparation and considerable license in his handling of sources; and those who, taking Tolstoy's assurances at face value, speak of the novel's colossal factual foundation owing to which the words and deeds of historical characters are rendered in complete accordance with the truth of history.

Keywords:   Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, skeptics, historical sources, historical accuracy

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