Literary Precedents for August 1914: The Red Wheel Knot I

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The obvious ancestor of August 1914 is Tolstoy's War and Peace (1869), itself an epic novel of one thousand pages plus which also combines historical and fictional material as it describes Napoleon's invasion of, and flight from, Russia in 1812. Just as Solzhenitsyn uses his novel to argue that Communist rule is historical accident rather than necessary destiny, Tolstoy wrote with didactic purpose. He wished to demonstrate that history is determined not by the fateful decisions of a few powerful persons, but by small actions of thousands of ordinary people.

One important difference between the two is that Solzhenitsyn virtually ignores the depiction of combat. Hardly a soldier is killed before the reader's eye. Thousands die, but their deaths are reported rather than witnessed.

Like a classical tragedy, Solzhenitsyn keeps omnipresent death decorously offstage. He concentrates instead on the impression of war as it manifests itself in each character's mind. How...

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This section contains 173 words
(approx. 1 page at 300 words per page)
Buy the August 1914: The Red Wheel Knot I Short Guide
Copyrights
Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults
August 1914: The Red Wheel Knot I from Beacham's Encyclopedia of Popular Fiction and Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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