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War and Peace Essay

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An English poet and novelist, Bayley is best known for his critical studies of Tolstoy, Alexander Pushkin, and Thomas Hardy. In the following excerpt from his Tolstoy and the Novel, Bayley discusses the depiction of characters and historical events and the themes of life and death in War and Peace.

Pushkin's tale, The Captain's Daughter, which describes the great rebellion of Pugachev in 1773, during Catherine's reign, is the first imagined relation of an episode from Russian history, but it is no more a historical novel than is War and Peace. It strikes us at first as a rather baffling work, with nothing very memorable about it. Tolstoy himself commented, as if uneasily, on its bareness, and observes that writers cannot be so straightforward and simple any more. Certainly Pushkin's way of imagining the past is the very opposite of Tolstoy's. War and Peace has a remarkable appearance of...

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This section contains 6,366 words
(approx. 16 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the War and Peace Study Guide
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