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Tolstoy On WarNarrative Art and Historical Truth in “War and Peace”$
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Rick McPeak and Donna Tussing Orwin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780801448980

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: August 2016

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9780801448980.001.0001

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date: 21 February 2019

Symposium of Quotations

Symposium of Quotations

Wit and Other Short Genres in War and Peace

(p.74) 5 Symposium of Quotations
Tolstoy On War

Gary Saul Morson

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines literary expressions of the kind of intelligence that were valued and scorned in War and Peace. These “wise sayings” and different exercises of the mind are encapsulated in various small genres represented liberally in the book. As a realist, Leo Tolstoy's genre focuses on the citizens, whose sacrifice is demanded, and on the values for which that sacrifice is made. The speaker summons each person to rise above personal needs and think of the people as a whole. He does so himself, and so he must avoid above all vain displays of his own cleverness or rhetorical skill. The chapter's discussion allows us to see why, on philosophical grounds, a writer might be drawn to one genre rather than another and why, in the course of their history, genres may develop arguments with each other.

Keywords:   literary expressions, War and Peace, wise sayings, Leo Tolstoy, sacrifice, literary genre

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