Book News Silbajoris (Russian literature, retired) explores the thesis that Tolstoy's masterpiece is a statement about life in its totality. After a background sketch of the factors that contributed to the work's conception and development, he follows the novel through several rough drafts, and analyzes the three basic narrative dimensions of the work as a historical novel, as a story of fictional characters living among great figures of history, and as a set of philosophical propositions elucidating Tolstoy's views. Paper edition (unseen), $12.95. Annotation copyright Book News, Inc. Portland, Or.
Blackwell North Amer In War and Peace: Tolstoy's Mirror of the World, author Rimvydas Silbajoris explores the thesis that Tolstoy's landmark is indeed a statement about life in its totality, as if the earth were a unified organism narrating itself in the uncountable processes of living and dying. This totality, Silbajoris argues, is a model as much of the outside world as of inner human universes, organically fused together by Tolstoy's creative energy. In this incisive study, Silbajoris leaps beyond previous examinations of War and Peace, providing a rich interpretation of landscape, object, action, and feeling. Offering a background sketch of the factors that contributed to its conception, development, and execution, he follows the novel through each of several drafts. This careful and meticulous foundation sets the stage for a truly fertile analysis exploring the three basic narrative dimensions of the work: as a historical novel; as a story of fictional characters living among great figures of history; and as a set of philosophical propositions that elucidate Tolstoy's views on history, free will, and the infinite complexity of emotions as they intersect with the epic forces of life. Viewed through the elaborate lattice of human experience presented in the text, each detail of the novel, Silbajoris shows, contains and reveals the fullness of life - and a sense of the intimate bond between individuals and the vast panorama of history.