Reading War and Peace


What is it like to enter into a fictional world for a semester? In this course we read Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace in its entirety. Set during the Napoleonic wars (1805-1812), War and Peace takes the reader on a panoramic journey from the battlefield to the hay field, from the war room to the ballroom. It is a vivid portrayal of 19th-century Russian society as well as a penetrating examination of the causes and consequences of violence and the nature of love and family dynamics. In our discussions, we explore philosophies of history, issues of social injustice and gender inequality, the psychology of human suffering and joy, questions of literary form and genre, and the very experience of reading a long work of fiction. We begin with a selection of Tolstoy's early works that laid the foundation for War and Peace and conclude with a few of Tolstoy's late works that had an enormous influence on, among others, Mahatma Gandhi. Primary texts are supplemented with literary theory and film. All readings are in English.
Course Attributes: EN H; AS HUM; AS LCD; AS SD I; FA HUM; AR HUM

Section 01

Reading War and Peace
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