catapult magazine

catapult magazine


War and Peace


Aug 06 2003
06:07 am

crlynvn -

You have said it all in your first sentance: “…Tolstoy’s novel…” That is the form of the piece, it was not meant to be a historical account of the cultural visavis political happenings of Russia, but a story of humanity and relationships. There may be historical validity to WandP in that such events may have happened, such people may have existed as he describes them – but this is not direct validity, rather a validity of concept. Just as in any novel, the concepts are what bring truth, not the proper nouns used in the telling of them.

Tolstoy was not out to write the definitive historical survey of the wars and nobility, but to explore the relational interaction of humanity during that time period. Do we reject the C.S. Lewis trilogy because it takes place in other worlds? No – because Lewis never claims to be writing ‘history’ per se. Yet, his work has truth in it. Why would we denigrate Tolstoy’s book for having more than average historical context (context being the key word here, not history)?