War and Peace, Part 2

New Warhorn Media post by Nathan Alberson:

“There remains the greatest of all novelists — for what else can we call the author of War and Peace?” Virginia Wolfe was wrong about a lot of things, but she was right in her estimation of War and Peace. (I hope I didn’t spoil anyone’s love of this great work by associating it with Wolfe.)

I’ve been thinking a lot about what makes this work so great–and I agree with the things said in this episode. I would add that I think Tolstoy does what a lot of great Russian authors do (I’m thinking in particular about Dostoevesky and Solzhenitsyn)–he shows how suffering can be redemptive and/or salvific. Andrei “converts” on a hospital bed; Pierre becomes free while imprisoned; Natasha becomes capable of love once her heart has been painstakingly broken. For a society like ours that blindly chases pleasure and does all it can to minimize any interruption of pleasure, a work that shows how spiritual good can come out of suffering is bound to have power.

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