Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Tolstoy On WarNarrative Art and Historical Truth in “War and Peace”$
Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content.

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

Show Summary Details
Page of

PRINTED FROM Cornell University Press SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.cornell.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Cornell University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in Cornell for personal use. date: 04 August 2021

The Disobediences of War and Peace

The Disobediences of War and Peace

(p.160) 11 The Disobediences of War and Peace
Tolstoy On War

Elizabeth D. Samet

Cornell University Press

This chapter argues that Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace is a “disobedient” book. It compares the novel to The Four Feathers (1939), a film which offers a version of cause and effect that is similar to that presented in Tolstoy's novel: one in which accident often triumphs over human design, in which invisible patterns of action and consequence refute a heroic narrative dramatizing events as authored by great men, and in which the only obedience can be the perforce surrendered to chance. In his chief example of the illusory agency of individuals, Tolstoy calls it a mistake to imagine that Napoleon actually superintended the retreat from Moscow. Examining Tolstoy's novel by considering obedience—understood as compliance with, or submission to, customs, norms, rules, laws, or another's will—exposes not only the degree of the novel's nonconformity but also Tolstoy's expression of what could be called a doctrine of disobedience.

Keywords:   Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace, disobedience, The Four Feathers, Napoleon's retreat from Moscow

Cornell Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.

Please, subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.